A Decade Later, A Decade Lost

Published 1 month, 2 weeks past

I woke up this morning about an hour ahead of my alarm, the sky already light, birds calling.  After a few minutes, a brief patter of rain swept across the roof and moved on.

I just lay there, not really thinking.  Feeling.  Remembering.

Almost sixteen years to the minute before I awoke, my second daughter was born.  Almost ten years to the same minute before, she’d turned six years old, already semi-unconscious, and died not quite twelve hours later.

So she won’t be taking her first solo car drive today.  She won’t be celebrating with dinner at her favorite restaurant in the whole world.  She won’t kiss her niece good night or affectionately rag on her siblings.

Or maybe she wouldn’t have done any of those things anyway, after a decade of growth and changes and paths taken.  What would she really be like, at sixteen?

We will never know.  We can’t even guess.  All of that, everything she might have been, is lost.

This afternoon, we’ll visit Rebecca’s grave, and then go to hear her name read in remembrance at one of her very happiest places, Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, for the last time.  At the end of the month, the temple will close as part of a merger.  Another loss.

A decade ago, I said that I felt the weight of all the years she would never have, and that they might crush me.  Over time, I have come to realize all the things she never saw or did adds to that weight.  Even though it seems like it should be the same weight.  Somehow, it isn’t.

I was talking about all of this with a therapist a few days ago, about the time and the losses and their accumulated weight.  I said, “I don’t know how to be okay when I failed my child in the most fundamental way possible.”

“You didn’t fail her,” they said gently.

“I know that,” I replied. “But I don’t feel it.”

A decade, it turns out, does not change that.  I’m not sure now that any stretch of time ever could.

Comments (10)

  1. My youngest son when he turned 14 went through a dark spot in his life and got involved with drugs. By the time he was 20 he had stopped using drugs and by the time he was 23 he started talking like a normal person.

    On April 10, 2016 he died just before his birthday on May 5, 2016 when he would’ve turned 24. I still miss him and it’s only been eight years.

  2. I’m so sorry for your lost.

  3. May her memory be a blessing. :(

  4. I am very sorry for your loss, Eric.

  5. Sending love your way.

  6. Thank you for sharing you grief. I hope you find a way to let the weight go, and give yourself the freedom you deserve <3

  7. Pingback ::

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  8. Eric,
    having seen two people die in the past few months I wish I could tell you not to feel as if you failed your daughter. I know that even if the dying are not conscious any more we still reach them and we are around to help them master the transgression they know will come and is inevitable.

    Still, they are gone, and we miss them and we grieve. And sometimes I think I hear their voices telling me to be ok.

    Maybe you can hear Rebecca’s voice from time to time to comfort you a little…

  9. an online hug from Brazil.

    this is the worst thing that could happen to a father and i’m so afraid of it (got a newborn girl and an 2y boy).

    cried with your post.

  10. I lost the love of my life ten years ago the 18th. I happened upon your writing as my six-year-old runs around the house with his same-aged cousin. The coincidence is not lost on me, and though it seemed impossible to treasure his mere existence even more than I already did, after reading your testimony, I do.

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