To Jackie, that was just yesterday.
To her daddy, it was a lifetime ago. On Monday, I attempted to somehow console my husband, that this year ... the 10th anniversary of his daughter's death, we need to remember her. Out loud. She's still a member of this family, and let's bring some small amount of joy into this, by talking about her. Of course, I'm not sure how, exactly, to do that. I did not know this child. But I do know her father, mother, brother, and grandparents ... those she loved. I know how every year, they quietly remember her. She was a tiny light in their lives. How every year, though the pain may lessen, the memory never does. She was loved by all of them, deeply. I have felt their love for her every day since I've been with this family. So in a very small way ... I knew her, too.
I read my husband's journal yesterday. Here's an excerpt from March 15, 1997: 12:45 a.m. I leave the hospital to get a couple hours of sleep. I can't get out of the parking lot. No one is in the booth. I wait 10 minutes for someone to come out and take my money. Does it ever stop?
The journal of his days and nights, his constant vigil over his daughter, is heartbreaking. I could barely get through it. The entire nightmare of losing a child is something, I for one, cannot comprehend. Only those who have gone through it have the right to discuss it. Michael says, he will never be the same. I'm sure that's the case. But he's an amazing man. He brings light to his family every day. Michael has learned the art of covering his pain.
In the meantime, we will gather together. Those who knew her will bring their best memory of her, and we'll find joy in the darkness. She had a purpose for being here. I know she's touched my life. She will continue to be missed.
In Loving Memory
November 9, 1978 - April 17, 1997