Six months ago today, our child died in our arms.
I still have trouble believing this. Kat and I both still have trouble. But only on occasion, these days, and not for long. As someone once said, when it comes to the death of a loved one, you don’t get over it, but you do, eventually, if you allow yourself, get used to it. We’re slowly getting used to it.
Half a year. It seems like it’s been forever, as if uncountable years have passed since Rebecca died, and yet there are still so many traces and impressions of her that sometimes it seems as if she was only just here. We struggle, sometimes, to decide what to preserve and what to let go. We had to force ourselves to put the few boxes of mementoes we’ve kept into storage this past week. It felt like we were consigning Rebecca to the attic, which doesn’t seem like much when you think about it, but it was in some ways as difficult as consigning her remains to the earth. For that matter, we were recently making some changes to the family picture wall, and for each picture of Rebecca, we had to ask if it should stay up or come down. None of those choices were easy, even after half a year.
Of course, half a year is less time than elapsed between her diagnosis and her death. I remember so much, and so little, of those months. But this is unremarkable, given that we remember so little of our regular lives. (Think about yesterday, or of last Friday. How much of the day do you actually remember? How many of those several thousand minutes can you no longer recall with clarity? Now, what else have you forgotten?)
We have thousands upon thousands of images of Rebecca; just in my iPhoto library alone, there are 10,188 photos tagged with her name, 1,624 of which I flagged or rated five stars (or both), 785 of which are on Flickr. Kat has thousands more, as do so many of our friends and relatives. Those pictures can take us back, clarify our memories, or remind us of some aspect of her personality. Myriad facets of a life so short, and yet so fully lived.
Videos are far more rare—the Flickr album has just three—mostly because I greatly dislike shooting video. In the end, it didn’t matter. Our friend Jessica captured a video that is the quintessential Rebecca, a near-perfect distillation of Rebecca’s personality in just under ten seconds—all her sass ‘n’ spice, and all her sweetness too.
Rebecca Alison Meyer, ladies and gentlemen. How I wish you could have known her as we did.
I laugh every time I watch that video. Every time.