Happy New Year
The New Year—a time to toast the beginning of the new calendar, fresh starts and hope for a better year. I struggle with sharing the sentiment, though. A new year just takes me further from the last time I held my baby girl. Three years later I still miss her. I think this surprises some people. They are taken aback when they realize I’m still grieving. I suppose they think that because she only lived for 120 days, my grieving process would be over by now. But the depth of grief does not correlate with the length of life. Do they realize everything I’m missing? We lost not only memories already made but also the possibility of every memory I should be making with her. Instead of wishing for a “Happy New Year,” all I can see are the lifetime of moments I wished for her stretching before me.
Related: Not So Happy New Year
I wish I’d woken up early Christmas morning to the excited squeals of a three-year-old anxiously awaiting her chance to open the gift with the sparkly silver bow.
I wish I was sitting on the couch on New Year’s Eve, desperately trying to stay awake to watch the ball drop, a toddler fighting sleep cuddled beside me.
I wish she was chasing her kitty cat around the living room, begging the kitty to stop just long enough to pet his soft fur.
I wish she was sitting on her daddy’s lap watching Disney movies (Star Wars if he gets to choose).
I wish I could see her eyes grow wide as we walk toward Cinderella’s castle. Twirling around in her blue tulle dress as she meets a real-life princess. Falling asleep in her dad’s arms at the end of the day while clutching her plush Mickey.
I wish her tiny little toes were digging into the sand. Her bright blue eyes glistening in the sun. Rushing into the waves and giggling as they knock her down.
I wish we were baking cookies. Zoey accidentally dumping flour all over the kitchen floor and looking up, worried I’ll be mad. But both of us laughing instead as the cat passes through and leaves a trail of little white footprints.
I wish I could I see her running up the stairs at her grandma’s house with a bag full of fabric, anxious to get started on sewing her Halloween costume.
I wish I was witnessing her scoring her first goal on the soccer field. Getting a high five from her dad (the coach) as I beam from the sidelines.
I wish we were in a dressing room as she’s trying on a prom dress. Falling in love with it. Glancing at the price tag and grimacing. Looking to me, and me grinning as I nod my approval.
I wish she’d catch my eye as she walks across the stage and collects her college diploma.
I wish she was standing in a white dress, the same flowers I’d worn at my wedding pinned in her hair. Tearing up as I give her the blue diamond earrings that her dad gave me so many years before.
Related: The False Expectation of Time
I wish she was sliding an ultrasound photo to me. Announcing that her dad and I are about to be grandparents.
Ringing in the New Year without our daughter will sting each time. Yes, I lost my four-month-old. And I also lost every beautiful moment I dreamed of with my daughter. Every breath. Every moment. Every memory that should be. Another year passing does not make that any easier to swallow.
Photo by Cristian Escobar/Unsplash