In the weeks following my 14-month-old daughter’s death, I was afraid. I was afraid of people I knew. I was afraid of strangers. I was afraid of the world. If you asked me why I was afraid, or what exactly I was afraid of, I couldn’t really explain it. Even now I can’t really put the whys or whats into words, but it was there, fear, and it was real.
During this time of fear, I didn’t leave the house often. I was terrified. What if one of my neighbors was out there?! It was a horrible feeling and it lasted a long time, but with the help and guidance of some amazing people, I started to find some courage. As time went on, I wanted to go outside, but at the same time I wanted to be alone and avoid the world. How do you do that? Nature.
My husband drove us out to my favorite beach where people rarely go, so it is easy to
find solitude. It’s beautiful. My husband took Elbow off in one direction and I went in the other. I found a spot, sat down, and cried. I screamed. I begged Bug for some guidance, to help me survive. I sat there for hours, talking to her and taking in the reality of where I was in all states of being. The tide was showing me it was starting to get late, so I got up, gathered my things, and began the walk back to the car. As I left my spot, I walked away knowing two things for certain. They came to me with such clarity that I was sobbing for the entire walk back to the car. I know Bug loved me and I know she knows I love her. The immensity of that realization still brings tears to my eyes. In her short beautiful life we gave her everything we had and everything there is. Love. And she knew it. For fourteen months and three days we existed in a world of absolute bliss.
Last night I was looking at a picture, taken a year ago, of my husband holding Bug. When I first saw, it I smiled. As I continued to look at it I started to cry. I miss her so much and my beautiful baby is gone, but that was not the only reason the tears fell from my eyes. As I looked at that picture, and looked into my husband’s eyes, I saw that bliss, that feeling of utter happiness. I looked into Bug’s eyes and I could see that love. She was exactly where she wanted to be, in daddy’s arms. That picture reminded me that even though the bliss is gone, it was real. It reminded me even though Bug is gone, the love is not. To everyone else it’s just a picture.
Bug is teaching me lessons, often painful ones, every day. I am trying so hard to listen. I am trying so hard to learn. I am trying so hard to live those lessons. But right now, this moment, just being, takes everything I have. Everything. Her ever-present absence is still too big to understand.