Today, August 23, at 2 pm will mark 1460 days since I last held Emma, alive. She nursed for an hour, I laid her down for a nap, and that was that. She died 4 years ago. I can’t believe she would be 4 years, 8 months and 8 days today. She would have been such a big girl, such a good big sister, so much fun for her brother and sister to play with.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what 1460 days means. What exactly have I missed? I have missed her first steps, first words, hearing her say “I Love You”. I have missed watching her play with babies, develop preferences, have attitude with me. I have missed countless hugs and kisses, I have missed wiping thousands of tears, I have missed watching her grow. I have missed watching her face light up and laugh at a joke I tell her. I’ve missed her going to preschool, going to nursery, Sunbeams and whatever class is next in Church (I don’t even know!). I have missed hearing her say prayers. I’ve missed her telling secrets, learning to draw, write her name, and do somersaults. I’ve missed swimming lessons, soccer and dance – 3 things I loved as a child. I’ve missed her crawling into bed with us, her last nursing session (the one where we were both ready to be done), and watching her nurse her baby dolls. I’ve missed countless times of pretend play, making her costumes and teaching her to knit. I’ve missed 1460 photo opportunities – all mine stop at August 22, 2003. I’ve missed 4 birthdays, 4 Halloweens, 3 Christmases, 3 New Years, 3 Valentine’s Day, 3 Easter’s…and the number just keeps rising. I’ve missed watching her become a big sister. Watching her brother and sister and she interact. I’ve missed watching them make memories together, memories that I would never be a part of, because it is just them. I’ve missed so many things, what I’ve written is just a small fraction of what I’ve missed…but of all the things I’ve missed, what I miss most, is her. The very essence of her, my baby girl.
She is so very loved and so very missed. It’s funny too, that it’s not just Jeremy and I who miss her, but Seth misses her too. He will tell me every so often that he wishes Emma were here to play with him. In our curio cabinet we have special Emma things, her pictures, hand and foot molds, and some special toys. Well, one of the toys is a Cabbage Patch Doll that my friend Michelle got for us right after Emma died. It is a doll with blue eyes and reddish brown hair and is wearing a ladybug outfit. Seth loves that doll, yet I’ve never let him play with it. He asks me, quite often, if he can bring Emma out of the cabinet and play with her. If only it were that easy buddy, if only it were that easy.
Speaking of Seth and Emma, he’s been asking me more and more questions about her. He wanted to know how she died. I told him that she was sleeping and Heavenly Father and Jesus needed her to come back to them, so they took her spirit and she died. He seemed ok with that. A few days later he was making up a song at the piano, it went something like this: “Emma, you are my big sister. You went to sleep for a nap and you died. I miss you. That is why I sing this song for you Emma”. He really is so sweet. They would have had fun together. As I watch Seth and Amelia together, I realize what I’ve missed out on with Emma and Seth…and what they have both missed out on too. I know that for me, growing up with 4 siblings was fun. I loved playing with my brothers and sometimes my sister (she was much older and into different things). I loved playing with them and now I really enjoy the friendships I have with them. I watch Seth and Amelia play, they love eachother, they are eachother’s best friends…oh what they are missing, another friend, another playmate, a sister.
So now, my heart not only breaks for me and my loss, but for that of my living children and their loss. All they know of their sister is pictures, video, and things we tell them. Amelia will grow up knowing that she looks like her sister. Seth will grow up knowing that he came into our family when we needed him more than anything. He is the reason I am still alive.
I just finished the book, The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow. In it, a little girl is very tragically and suddenly killed. Her mother watches her death and holds her baby girl as the life goes out of her. One passage really spoke to me, I read it, then read it to Jeremy and we both said, “yeah I’ve felt that”.
“There began again that continual reliving of the last few moments of Cassie’s life when over and over she would put the picture together again piece by piece like one methodically laying hot coals on her own body.”
I can not tell you how often, in the quiet hours, I have done this. I have relived that day, the decisions I made, the clothes I wore, what Emma did, what I did, how she looked when I laid her down for a nap…I also relive the nightmare that followed…what she looked like, how she smelled, how I hurt, how I still hurt. Oh how I miss that girl, forever and always.
In the quiet hours (they are so few these days) I think of my baby girl. As I kiss Seth and Amelia and put them to bed, I pray they wake up and always know I love them. I also pray every night that Emma knows how much I love and miss her.
Oh my Emma…I love you more than you will ever know. The short time I had with you, I relive daily. From the moment I learned I was pregnant with you, I knew that you would be such a special gift in my life. I loved feeling you move, watching you grow, giving me heartburn. Then you were born, oh what a gift, truly. You were such a fantastic baby, so happy. When you cried, I knew I could fix it. You made mothering very easy, thank you. After you died, someone told me that we hurt so much because we love so much. That must be why I still hurt, because I still love you. Everyday I wonder what you’d be like, what you’d look like, what you’d sound like. I miss you baby girl, please watch over all of us, be our guardian angel.
Goodnight my angel….