I hear the sound, the whirring of an engine, then I realize..oh it’s the school bus..it’s 3:00, and the kids will soon be tumbling out, voices raised and giggling….My heart sinks…I’m sitting out on my back deck in the glorious Autumn weather, trees blowing, air alive with the smell of watered soil, and musky fall leaves. This used to be one of her favorite times…when I would specifically take her out for a walk, and we head out and wait for the kids to arrive. Usually I would go a tad earlier so that we could watch the cars and big diesel semis roar past. I would tell her…” Here comes a big big truck..,” then I would make noisy truck sounds…because why wouldn’t I? I am her Mum, and I will do whatever it takes to bring a smile to her face.
Today I went to the grocery store for a few necessary items…Again the grief that washed over me was staggering…She hated the grocery store, and when I would take her there with me it was a challenging undertaking to say the least. I would push her with one hand in front of me, and pull the cart behind me with the other hand. We were a haphazard train of sorts…Unless I pushed her quickly though, she would get frustrated and would fuss. Often I would act like I was going to topple over the nicely stacked “on sale” items, and she would again give me a shriek of delight. Usually the staff in the store was understanding, and would just smile tentatively, and give us a wide berth..ha….”the parting of the Red Sea,” as I like to call it, but occasionally I would get the gaping stare…which was also a little uncomfortable. One time on a store, that shall remain nameless, a clerk came up and asked me if I needed assistance with anything?… I kinda smirked, then I replied that we were just looking… I tried to stifle a giggle because I know it’s not nice to make others feel weirded out…but I do admit..sometimes it was fun! Plus I thought…um, you opened a can of worms with that one, because I would never turn down assistance. Could the clerk give me a massage, deliver my groceries, then come and clean my house?..Perhaps I have asked for too much? I would simply remain silent, which trust me, for those of you who know me, is no simple thing. When I have stated before that “Fun” was her middle name..I was not kidding. That little girl loved to have it, and give it to others. Her pet stuffed farting pig “Pumba” will forever fill me with a mixture of joy and sorrow when I squeeze his belly..and he farts,(sounds like a tuba,) then says, “oh sorry!” The single most wonderful toy ever. It always brought the laughs out in her…and so..I am thankful for Pumba.
The other day I had to retrieve her sweet little belongings from the Funeral Chapel. I sat in the parking lot, and opened the grocery sack, and there laying inside, very carefully laid out were her Jammie bottoms, tee shirt, and sports bra. On top they had laid her hair clip and sunflower floral clip. It was my undoing. I clutched the bag to my chest and wept. I wailed, and wondered how I could ever go on without my dearest love. It smelled of her, and I realized in that moment, that these things, this clothing that she had worn on her dear body would be some of my most treasured possessions. I decided I would lay them under my pillow so she would always be close to me…my dear heart…my girl.
I realize that there will be many more “firsts” to be had. Some I can prepare myself for, but most will creep up on me like a thief in the night. There is only so much preparing one can do, and truly you are never ready to say good bye.
I was cleaning up the many abundant floral arrangements that had so lovingly been sent to us, and I made a huge mess. There were dried and crispy flowers, and greenery all over my floor. I went to the back hall, and retrieved my vacume from the closet, and immediately was brought to tears. Bianca was always nervous of this noise. Many times through the years I would gently bring it out from its hiding place, and then carefully, and with great anticipation in my voice state..”here comes Mr. Vacume…” She would look questioningly at me, give one of her tentative and bright smiles, and look to me for encouragement. I would talk to her reassuringly during the whole process, then when I would enter her bedroom, she would peek over at me, flutter her baby blues, and I would creep up on her, hose in hand, and put it on her belly, then her leg, then her arm..exclaiming the whole while, “mummy’s gonna get you…” She would laugh, and blink, then wait for our game to begin again…she just loved it, and so did I. We connected, we were bonding…it was amazing. So I did this very basic of things today, and I was sad…now..it was just boring, just a necessity. It lacked luster and fun, and now it was simply another painful chore, another first that hurt my heart.
Today..it’s Thanksgiving in Canada. I know that I have much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for my family of course, for the chance to love them deeply, and yes, actually for the grief that shows me just how much I loved and adored my daughter. Often it feels better not to feel, not to emote. But at what cost? I don’t want to live a life with regrets. I want to know that I gave it my all, my everything. I don’t want to look back and think what if I had done that, would it change the outcome, what if I had loved better? No…I will not do that…I will not settle. There is a quote from a movie, can’t remember which one that says, ” I would rather have a few extraordinary limited experiences than a whole lifetime of nothing special.” I think I am paraphrasing somewhat, but you get the idea. Bianca’s life was a short 17 years on this earth, but she lived it with gusto, the only way she really knew how. So many life lessons have been gleaned from her. I am thankful for that..and of course for her. Remembering to be grateful helps… It helps me to not dwell on the “what ifs?”, the unknowns. I suppose it’s natural for the mind to wander into these territories…I don’t know how a person grieves losing their child..I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do… I only know that it is new, and fresh, and it does not feel good at all.
The fall days have been so lovely. I yearn to go on walks through the sunshine..drive her wheelchair through the crunchy leaves…but these days are gone. She would have loved these days…I walk past her tree that I used to hang various stuffed animals from. It is located at the end of our driveway. We would run down there at a, sort of high speed, and I would push her perilously close to the tree, then screech to a grinding halt making the sound of brakes failing. She would occasionally push “SpongeBob and Patrick” out of the tree than do her most appealing silent laugh that she did when she was really tickled..
I suppose it’s a natural thing to wonder how to keep your sanity when you miss a person so badly. I can feel the prayers and care going up around me. The many loving friends and family who care so deeply. I am deeply humbled by their love and care..truly..it does overwhelm me. I never really ever realized what it meant to be “held,” but I know that now. It’s the strangest, most exhilarating experience ever. I almost can’t even find the appropriate words to speak of it. Even though I would not wish this loss of my daughter on any one, I simply can’t deny that the grace and love I feel flowing down upon my very soul is spectacular. I have heard others describe this to me, but like many things in life, one can sympathize with this feeling, but until you are there in the thing…you just can realize what the empathy of Jesus feels like. What an awesome sensation…I am so dazzled that He cares for me, that He is with me, and that I can just be held.