Tick Tock. Tick tock.
The clock strikes 12. The anniversary of her death is upon us again. Four years now.
I’ve been dreading this day since her birthday in May. Zoey’s birthday is a celebration. But as we count the 120 days later, the day is not a celebration. It is a reminder of our darkest hour.
The summer we had with Zoey was beautiful. We spent hours cuddling and snuggling on the couch. My baby girl was with me, my own mother and my grandmother for Mother’s Day. We watched the World Cup with her and took her to the park and a baseball game. We soaked up every minute of time with our precious girl.
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But the anniversary of her death reminds me of her last moments and the days leading to it.
The ER visit and Zoey ripping out her feeding tube. The look on the faces of her nurse and doctor when they visited her, knowing what awaited us in a few short hours. Feeling her heartbeat for the final time. The end.
I run through those moments and relive the ones following the last breath. Changing her diaper. Holding her as she grew cold. Handing her over. Falling to my knees in the driveway. Getting in the car and driving. Wondering where to go from there. Unable to process the reality of losing our child.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
Midnight. The anniversary of her death comes and goes again.
But the agony of living without her is still there. It didn’t go away just because the minutes on the clock passed.
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I often hear of grief that “it gets better” or “it gets easier” and any number of other dribble people say because they are out of meaningful words. But these are lies. I’m not saying that to steal any hope away of a brighter day ahead. The reality, though, is that the intensity of grief we feel for losing our daughter is just as awful today as it was four years ago. But it is different. I don’t know if I’ve grown stronger or if I’ve just become used to the pain, but the weight on my chest doesn’t always feel as crushing. The hours I spend crumbled on the floor have become fewer. I don’t always feel strong.
I’m not always confident in my ability to survive another day or another year without her, but I keep moving forward.
I keep searching for meaning. I continue to seek ways to honor her and talk about her. Healing has been an active process. I am convinced that if I’d shut out the world, I’d be in a much different place than I am now. And right now, I can still see light. I still cling to hope. And yes, I still miss her with every fiber of my being and my heart is still broken… but maybe those cracks are where the light shines into my soul.
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