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So Many Nevers

She’ll never learn to read.  She’ll never learn to ride a two-wheel bicycle, or to drive a car.  Never get to ride the best roller coasters, never learn to swim unassisted, never go to sleep-away summer camp.  Never get her first social-media account, never join a sports team, never compete on the gym floor, never learn to play a musical instrument.  Never fall hopelessly in love, never break a heart, never have her heart broken and learn from it.  Never sneak out for an evening with her friends, never hate her teacher, never graduate from high school.  Never get her ears pierced, never get her first tattoo.  Never fight with her sister over clothing, never share secrets with her brother, never be a shoulder for her siblings to cry on.  Never have her own place to live, never adopt a pet of her own, never get her first job and eventually quit it in disgust for a better job.  Never get to decide whether to marry, whether to have children, whether to believe in higher powers and lives beyond this one.

All the light bulbs of discovery that will never switch on, all the radiant smiles of pride that will never burst forth, all the moments of insight that will never unfold, all the experiences she’ll never enjoy.  I feel the weight of all the years she will never have, and they may yet crush me.

My beautiful, bright-burning girl, my little spark.  I wanted so much to watch you grow and learn, and to see the world made new through your eyes.  I would do almost anything to restore all that to you.  Give you my own years, if I could.

So many nevers.

54 Responses»

    • #1
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 0959
    Miroki wrote in to say...

    My condolences.
    She’ll live on in and through your memory.

    • #2
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1003
    Nathan wrote in to say...

    I’m reading this at work and at the brink of tears. My little girl turns 6 in 2 weeks. It freezes me to imagine your pain. I am so sorry for your loss.

    • #3
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1009
    David wrote in to say...

    I wish I could take some of the pain away from you as I have drawn on yours everyday. I have hugged my little girl over-and-over again this past week with tears in my eyes thinking about the unthinkable, which is your reality.

    Thank-you for sharing your experience. Nothing I say means anything to you now, but know that your words and your daughter have touched a great number of people.

    • #4
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1012
    Shannon wrote in to say...

    All I have to offer is my genuine compassion and support. I am so tremendously sorry. May you have as much peace as possible for now and forever.

    • #5
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1018
    Onno De Jong wrote in to say...

    In face of all of the no, there is the yes that she was here and left her mark in you and many others.

    Finding the balance in the tragic and the celebration of life is never easy when the pain hits so close to home, but let her live through your life in the ways that you have changed.

    that is a yes.

    • #6
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1022
    Alicia wrote in to say...

    My heart goes out to you. I didn’t know your daughter, but she has made an impact on me. Thank you for sharing her life with us. You and your family will forever be in my thoughts and prayers as you live life without your little Spark. I hope that she sparks so much more in her afterlife in all of those you share her journey with.

    • #7
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1036
    Doug wrote in to say...

    I know it, friend. There’s a picture you posted some time ago of Rebecca, I think, getting a piggy-back ride. Her hair is a wild, black animal and her face set with intensity. It really a captured a creature half panther and half ember. I keep seeing her that way whenever you write about her and more than a little of my prayer has been for all the mischief Rebecca would have wrought in this world. I wanted my little girl to see it for inspiration and I still hope Emma Lynn can find a piece of Rebecca in the northern lights and kick a boy.

    I’m sorry for your loss and for ours.

    • #8
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1042
    Jeff wrote in to say...

    Make no mistake, Eric, she did fall hopelessly in love and, of course, broke many hearts. That’s what happens when you open yourself up to give and accept it. Your writing, your feelings, and your family represent all that is good in humanity. Thank you and I’m sorry it had to come to our attention in this way.

    • #9
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1044
    Dan wrote in to say...

    In time the only “Nevers” that will matter are, Never forget her smile, Never loose the feeling of holding her, Never forget how she smelled, Never forget her cry, her laugh, her voice as she asked for you to read her another story.

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

    • #10
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1050
    Wendy K wrote in to say...

    Eric – Carolyn and Josh will do all that – and more – in her honor – they will win every trophy, run every race, play every sport and do everything – and as they cross the finish line, score that goal, win that award, they will share it in their hearts with Rebecca who never had a chance to do it for herself.

    • #11
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1100
    Sara Harvey wrote in to say...

    My husband’s sister lost her youngest in February. I know right where you are, but not quite, as it wasn’t my child. But our brother-in-law summed it up best, “If I had the choice to be a father for two years and ten months and then lose him or never to have been a father at all, I would choose those two years and ten months, every time.”

    • #12
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1110
    Laura Block wrote in to say...

    It is true, and it is heartbreaking for those of us just on the periphery. I cannot begin to imagine the intensity of your pain.
    But I am here to remind you of the many, many alwayses that you managed to fill her remaining time with, starting the moment you knew it might not be what should have been.
    You’ll always love her.
    She’ll always love you.
    We’ll always remind you of how you and Kat both dropped everything to be there as fully as possible with her for as long as you had together.
    We’ll always hold your family in our hearts, knowing there is a Little Spark who has been hidden from our sight.
    The thousands of lives that she touched, the changes for good that she brought about in each of those lives, those are always and forever as well.

    • #13
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1122
    M O'Donnell wrote in to say...

    Sincere sympathy to you and your family on your devastating loss.

    From a reader in Ireland who was deeply touched by the courage of your daughter, and your words that brought her to life here.

    • #14
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1218
    Ester Muñoz wrote in to say...

    I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I could say some comforting words in this moments for you and your family, Eric, but nothing more than tears come out.
    Ester from Spain.

    • #15
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1220
    Adam Pratt wrote in to say...

    We haven’t been in touch for years, but just today I decided to look you up this morning and saw this sad news. I am genuinely very sorry, but my heart is warmed to see you welcoming children into your hear and home through adoption. Kids need families, so thank you for being a loving father.

    • #16
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1221
    Amber Leigh Turner wrote in to say...

    I’m so sorry about the loss of Rebecca. The loss of a child always seems to hit harder for everyone around because of all the things you mentioned in this post.

    You write so beautifully to be going through all that you are. Stay strong Eric, as your wife and children need you to be.

    My deepest condolences. I wish I could attend the funeral, but I will be wearing purple on Thursday for Rebecca.

    • #17
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1340
    Carolyn wrote in to say...

    I just want to say that I am still listening, along with so many others. I have known other parents (too many) who have lost their beloved child, and they all have suffered through and talked about these thoughts of all the nevers. It is a deep, dark well of unfathomable pain to be in, to lose the future you’d had every right to expect—yours and hers. I’m so deeply sorry that you and your wife must endure this most unendurable thing.

    • #18
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1349
    Mark Newhouse wrote in to say...

    So, so sorry, Eric. Praying for strength and peace for you and your family.

    • #19
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1357
    Tim wrote in to say...

    I recently lost a friend in his twenties, to cancer. At our gathering to celebrate his life one of the wisest people I know quoted Rabindranath Tagore, and it has stayed with me:

    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.

    • #20
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1452
    ben wrote in to say...

    These very thoughts have been on my mind, albeit not from a father’s perspective.

    If you wish it, I’m sure Simon would be happy to pass along what I put on Facebook. (This is not the place for copypasta.)

    Also, I received independent word a couple of days ago that this story has found its way outside of the family-friends-colleagues-and-readers universe.

    All my best…

    • #21
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1539
    Jonathan Burne wrote in to say...

    Grief alters time. The present is just a blank. The past is constantly remembered and the future is imagined as one that will never be.

    • #22
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1649
    Matt Pusateri wrote in to say...

    So so sorry for your loss. Our family is thinking of yours and wishing you strength through this unimaginable time.

    • #23
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1805
    Anthony Yager wrote in to say...

    So sorry for your loss. I can not imagine the huge gap that that you now feel with Rebecca’s passing. Just remember that as with all the things she will never feel or do, Rebecca will never again feel the pain, frustration or indignity of her failing body.
    Rebecca is now at rest and will live on in the hearts of you and your family.

    • #24
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1824
    Vikki wrote in to say...

    Dearest Rebecca’s Family, this day has not come yet for you, the grief is so new and fresh and overwhelming. But I hope that as time marches on over your tender feelings, in its inevitable way, the poem below might be of some comfort.

    Just For Today

    by Vicki Tushingham

    Just for today I will try to live through the next 24 hours
    and not expect to get over my child’s death,
    but instead learn to live with it, just one day at a time.
    Just for today I will remember my child’s life, not just her death,
    and bask in the comfort of all those treasured days
    and moments we shared.
    Just for today I will forgive all the family and friends
    who didn’t help or comfort me the way I needed them to.
    They truly did not know how.
    Just for today I will smile no matter how much I hurt on the inside,
    for maybe if I smile a little,
    my heart will soften and I will begin to heal.
    Just for today I will reach out to comfort a relative or friend of my child,
    for they are hurting too,
    and perhaps we can help each other.
    Just for today I will free myself from my self-inflicted burden of guilt,
    for deep in my heart I know if there was anything in this world
    I could of done to save my child from death,
    I would of done it.
    Just for today I will honor my child’s memory
    by doing something with another child
    because I know that would make my own child proud.
    Just for today I will offer my hand in friendship
    to another bereaved parent
    for I do know how they feel.
    Just for today when my heart feels like breaking,
    I will stop and remember that grief is the price we pay for loving
    and the only reason I hurt is because
    I had the privilege of loving so much
    Just for today I will not compare myself with others.
    I am fortunate to be who I am
    and have had my child for as long as I did.
    Just for today I will allow myself to be happy,
    for I know that I am not deserting her by living on.
    Just for today I will accept that I did not die when my child did,
    my life did go on,
    and I am the only one who can make that life worthwhile once more.

    • #25
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 1908
    Tristan Louis wrote in to say...

    Eric,

    So sorry to hear. My heart cries for you and yours at a time when the universe seems so unfair (every parent knows that the deal with the universe is that we take care of our kids and in exchange they should grow to outlive us which makes such a loss so much worse).

    I cannot pretend to even know the level of your sadness. But I cry with you; and I cry for you.

    But because of your strength and the way you shared Rebecca with the web, there are also the always.

    She will always be in your heart. She will always have taken her first step; She will always have spoken her first word; She will always have smiled at you for the first time. There will always be the memory of that first Halloween, of that trip to Disneyland.

    And there will always be a community of people around you to help you through those difficult times, whether close or far away.

    Those are small solaces and I am so sorry to hear but know that people out there send all the love they can, both close friends and not so close one.

    • #26
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 2103
    Roberta wrote in to say...

    (I had written a comment, but it wouldn’t go through when I submitted. Now if I try again, I get an error saying it is a duplicate – but my first attempt never showed up. Here’s yet another try.)

    Today is the 2nd anniversary of the death (cancer) of one of my dearest friends. His mother and 4 of his 5 siblings are still alive. My friend made it well into adulthood, marriage, etc. And yet we all also said “he’ll never do this, we’ll never have a chance to do that with him”. I still wish I could just call him to share a joke or go help tend his garden.

    There’s never a good or right time to die. The best we can do is be grateful for the time we had together. I saw your photos. Rebecca’s life was short but she certainly burned brightly. The memories that made you once laugh with her will eventually put a smile on your face again. Maybe not now, or next week, or even next year. But trust me, eventually the burning pain you feel now will be tempered by the happy memories she created in your lives. It won’t ever stop hurting completely; your lives have been changed. But she loved all of you, and she knew she was loved in return. That will never change. She will always be part of you.

    Again, I’m so sorry. :-(

    • #27
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 2103
    Richard Fink wrote in to say...

    As an adopted child myself, I’ve always gotten a special inner delight watching your family grow over the years via this blog.

    You and your wife fought for Rebecca’s life with everything you had. You have not only my family’s deepest condolences, but also our admiration. You’ve exemplified a combination of love and fortitude beyond what seems possible.
    In that way, Rebecca was a very lucky girl.

    All our sympathies….

    • #28
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 2133
    Dave Lim wrote in to say...

    No words. I’m so sorry.

    • #29
    • Comment
    • Tue 10 Jun 2014
    • 2304
    Ricardo Zea wrote in to say...

    Eric, I will politely disagree.

    All those ‘nevers’ may actually be the opposite, and I’m sure where Rebecca is now she’s experiencing all those things you mention in spirit and through yours as well.

    Your spirit and Rebecca’s ARE together and will REMAIN together.

    Your job as a parent is still very much alive, but instead of raising Rebecca in physical form you are now going to raise her through your spirit.

    You’re one awesome parent Eric, all your family is very lucky to have a man like you in their lives.

    • #30
    • Comment
    • Wed 11 Jun 2014
    • 0125
    Anna wrote in to say...

    Eric, I am so sorry for your loss…

    • #31
    • Pingback
    • Wed 11 Jun 2014
    • 0446
    • #32
    • Comment
    • Wed 11 Jun 2014
    • 1151
    \js wrote in to say...

    so sorry. life can be so difficult. take care of yourselves.

    #663399

    • #33
    • Comment
    • Wed 11 Jun 2014
    • 1552
    Geof wrote in to say...

    Terrible. I have read from the shadows since you started. This disease or its ilk took my parents. I hate it so much. I don’t know what a strangers love is worth but you have it. Kia kaha.

    • #34
    • Comment
    • Wed 11 Jun 2014
    • 2339
    danielle kellogg wrote in to say...

    She is a gift and lives through your words. As a cancer survivor of a childhood cancer, I feel guilt at the unfairness of her loss and your family’s loss because this shouldn’t have to happen. Truly in every way, the world is a lesser place because we can not know what she would have brought us. She is a spark and I hope the light in her and your story brings something positive to any who share in it. She was not her cancer or this ordeal. I think she lived with every intention of living a long life. I am so sorry for your loss and pray that you find strength.

    • #35
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 0035
    Mrs. Flinger wrote in to say...

    I’ve read your daughter’s story and am gripped beyond words. A loss of a child is bigger than anything I can imagine. I shouldn’t pretend to know your sorrow, but please know there are people out here who will send every ounce of strength and love and light to you and yours. She is beautiful and will be always living in these words. Thank you for sharing them.

    She is always. Not never.

    • #36
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 0248
    David wrote in to say...

    Eric,

    I have followed your blog since hearing (through a shared Twitter follower) that Rebecca was unwell. I have not commented before, because–shamefully–I simply didn’t know what to say.

    I know these words will not make a huge difference, but my family and I are thinking of you, your family, your friends and Rebecca today, in the hope it might send you some strength and comfort.

    Rebecca’s spark, her strength, and your unfailing, unfaltering love and affection–articulated so incredibly through your blog–will not be forgotten.

    From one father to another, I send my sincere condolences for your loss.

    • #37
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 0325
    JustAGirl wrote in to say...

    I’m saddened to hear of your loss, but deeply moved by the powerful stories you have written of your daughter. She has become a beacon of love and light to so many, I can just imagine how proud you are. No words could possibly comfort you, I know, but I want you to know that you’ve touched a heart a thousand miles away. To you and your family I offer but humble condolences and wishes for you to find her light in your memories, through then she lives on. With love.

    • #38
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 0413
    Antony Ware wrote in to say...

    Sincerest condolences Eric and the Meyer family.

    Far too many nevers indeed…………..may your “beautiful, bright-burning girl” continue to perpetually shine on in your hearts, minds and lives…

    Blessings to you and your family during this crushing time. Greetings from Durban, South Africa.

    • #39
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 0803
    Jenny wrote in to say...

    My heart is with you and your family. Truly there is nothing worse than to lose your baby.

    • #40
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 0836
    Donovan Buck wrote in to say...

    Our lives should not be measured in days, but in experiences both good and bad. Heartache and ecstasy have equal influence on who we are and what we believe. Vicarious experiences through reading give us a special opportunity to pause and reflect on what is important, what we can learn and how we can grow. I see this blog as a gift… The gift of experience, the gift of life.

    Eric, I am sorry for your loss and I am grateful that you have shared this with us. I’ve made a donation to St. Baldrick’s in Rebecca’s memory and am encouraging others to read this blog and do the same.

    • #41
    • Pingback
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 1001
    Received from #663399Becca

    […] didn’t know Becca. I didn’t even know Eric, not really. He was a huge part of my learning CSS and switching to […]

    • #42
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 1109
    Donna wrote in to say...

    I am so very, very sorry for your unfathomable loss – I hope knowing that so many others care about Rebecca and your family helps you feel less alone in grieving. Peace be with you all.

    • #43
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 1150
    ML Chan wrote in to say...

    My thoughts are with you and your family. Peace be with you and all those who have comforted you in person and through this community we call the Internet.

    • #44
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 1251
    Parisa wrote in to say...

    I lost my sister 4 years ago to cancer, and all these thoughts still spin in my mind when I think of her and what she never got to do. She was 18, ambitious, accepted into every university she applied to, but the cancer won. She never got to do so many things.
    I used to cry all night and make wagers with God– I’ll lose a limb if you let her live, I’ll go blind and deaf if you could let her live, I’ll give her half the years I have left to live. I was her big sister after all, and this time I couldn’t protect her.
    It’s easy to feel alone with your suffering when no one seems to know what it’s like to see a piece of someone die a little bit everyday until there’s nothing left. It’s a pain that is impossible to understand until you’ve gone through it. But thank you for making me not feel alone.
    My heart goes out to you and your loved ones.

    • #45
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 1324
    Ryan B wrote in to say...

    Terribly sorry for your loss.

    • #46
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 1415
    Ryan Cummings wrote in to say...

    So sorry for the loss of Rebecca. She sounds like a beautiful little girl just a year older than my own. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    I know you don’t know me but if you need anything let me know. Being a designer in PA and a member of such a small community, we gotta take care of our own.

    • #47
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 1808
    Jennifer wrote in to say...

    You don’t know me, but our mutual friend Charlie Griefer posted about your daughter on Facebook, and I just wanted to tell you that I am so sorry for your loss.

    • #48
    • Comment
    • Thu 12 Jun 2014
    • 2306
    Wayne wrote in to say...

    Eric,

    I offer to you and your wife my deepest condolences for Rebecca. I know that pain of losing your child. One that no one else can fully understand or experience. The “nevers”, all the lost plans, and that horrible, horrible pain that tears your heart and soul, that digs into your stomach with an unimaginable intensity.

    The pain remains, losing intensity, but never its character. The memories will hurt for a long time. There is hope and joy does return, in that new “normal” that never quite feels “normal”

    Take care of yourself and your family. All my love and prayers for you continue.

    • #49
    • Comment
    • Fri 13 Jun 2014
    • 0310
    Richard Bland wrote in to say...

    Sending you our condolences from the Bhambra-Bland family in the UK. I am reading this and feeling much pain. I almost lost my older brother to cancer this year and having just had my first daughter Lily 5 weeks ago I can’t begin to imagine the heartache. Know we are all feeling it. Much love and respect to you and your family in this difficult time Eric.

    • #50
    • Comment
    • Fri 13 Jun 2014
    • 0329
    nele wrote in to say...

    I don’t known you and your family, but I’m crying. I’m not a native english speaker and it’s difficult to express what i want to say. I hope you can offer a shoulder and you’ll find a shoulder to cry when you need it.
    Nele from belgium

    • #51
    • Comment
    • Fri 13 Jun 2014
    • 0342
    daljit singh wrote in to say...

    Eric,

    Very sorry for your lose. May god give you and your wife strength to go through it.

    Your family is in our prayer and thoughts.

    • #52
    • Pingback
    • Mon 16 Jun 2014
    • 0217
    Received from Things I Learnt Today - #30 | Learn things today

    […] So Many Nevers | Eric’s Archived Thoughts – An incredibly moving post by a father whose daughter has just died way before her time – some of the posts have had us in tears. The Cloud-Computing Market Could Be Much, Much Bigger Than We Thought | ReadWrite – Could the cloud computing market be even bigger than predicted? The greatest show on earth | Asymco – A fantastic funny analogy for the latest Apple conference. Kids React To Old Computers | YouTube – Very funny reactions of children to a early 1980s computer – what no internet or mouse?! […]

    • #53
    • Comment
    • Wed 18 Jun 2014
    • 1911
    Chris wrote in to say...

    Yet another stranger here who has been following these unfortunate events.

    I just wanted to say that your writing about Rebecca has really moved me. And so many others, I’m sure. She was lucky to have such a loving family and such an eloquent dad.

    My condolences.

    • #54
    • Comment
    • Mon 23 Jun 2014
    • 2010
    Hasnain Syed wrote in to say...

    Eric, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beautiful daughter. My heart goes out to you and your family. I have 7 & 4 year old boys so I understand the intense love you have for your daughter, but I cannot begin to fathom what it feels like to lose that love, that life, that heart and that smile…

    My heart weeps for you. I pray you encounter easier times ahead and that this makes you into an even more passionate, wholesome, positive and purposeful human being.

    Nothing reminds us of the value of life, like death.

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