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My Daughter’s Name is Madison

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You knew her when she was just a little thing. You came to my baby shower. I have pictures of you holding her…all swaddled in pink. You know her name. Her name is Madison Charlotte. How dare you refer to her as that thing that happened?!  Granted…maybe that thing you were referring to was actually her death…but even still…THAT is not just a thing that happened. You did not come to Madison’s wake. You didn’t stand in line in the freezing cold as almost nearly 1,000 people did that cold February night. You didn’t hug us….with tears streaming down your face….and tell us how damn sorry you were. You didn’t come to her funeral either… you didn’t hear her best friend talk about how much she loves Madison…or the story about how Madison let all the fish go back into the lake when no one was looking. No. You did not. You did not come to our home. You did not send us a card. You did not send us flowers. You did not call. And then…nearly four years later…you see me. And…you didn’t know what to say… Well…let this be a lesson for anyone who doesn’t know what to say when you see someone who has lost a child…or has lost anyone for that matter. What happened today…what was said….is how NOT to speak to me or anyone else.

I walked into your place of business…unaware you still worked there. It wouldn’t have mattered had I known…I still would have come in… There were many people…looking back…because in those moments…the worst moments of your life…you hardly care who is there….faces blur…the I’m sorrys bleed into one another… but there were many people who I expected to see and hear from and never did….and although it hurts….I don’t hold a grudge. It is what it is.

But today I walked into your place of business… and there you were. At first there was a “Hey!” and a bright smile. Then…. you looked at me and then at my daughter and you said… with awkward hand gestures, “I…uh….know about that thing that happened but…uh…who is this?” You were referring to my little one. I swallowed hard. THAT FUCKING THING THAT HAPPENED????!!!! The words screamed in my brain. THAT THING THAT HAPPENED???!!! I took a breath…. “This is Carly. Can you say hi, sweetie?’ Now my gaze was fixed on Carly….I couldn’t look at you. Had you really referred to the death of my precious daughter…the death of Madison Charlotte…as that thing that happened? You did and you didn’t stop there. “I’m sorry about that bad thing that happened to you. I heard about it…well, it’s actually funny how I heard about it…my best friend is neighbor’s to someone related to your husband’s family. It’s funny I heard about it that way. Funny.” My heart…at this point…is pounding out of my chest. THAT BAD THING THAT HAPPENED???!!!! Can you not bring yourself to say the words? Can you not bring yourself to say her name???!!!! You think it’s fucking funny how you heard about it. Are you fucking kidding me? I couldn’t say another word. I just stared at you. And then down at the counter. You took my order and walked away.

I wanted to scream at you. I wanted to shout out, “Her name is Madison and that thing you are referring to was her DEATH!!!!! And NO it’s not fucking funny how you heard about it…NOT AT ALL. There is not one god damn thing that is funny about losing Madison. NOTHING. And the fact….the fact that you KNEW and you still didn’t come. You still didn’t send a card. You still didn’t call. There is nothing funny about that either. Like I said, it is what it is. Did your absence change my perception of you? Yes it did. Does that mean I hold a grudge or expected some kind of apology from you? No. No it does not. So for anyone wondering how that could have gone….I have a few thoughts.

First…understand….I don’t expect…if you did not attend her services or reach out to us at all…I don’t expect an apology. We all handle grief in our own way….so maybe you just couldn’t. I accept that. But with that being said….

SAY HER NAME! Do not refer to my daughter….my beautiful, intelligent, funny, kind daughter…as an it… or that thing that happened… She was not and is not…an “it.” She IS my daughter…my child… and saying what this person said was far worse than saying her beautiful name. Her name is like music to me. It’s like the beginning notes of a lilting tune…one that each time you hear it brings…it brings you uplifting joy and crushing sadness. Understand that saying her name is not reminding me she is gone. Not a moment has passed in 3 years, 7 months and 20 days….that the painful reality of Madison’s absence doesn’t envelop every breath I take. Saying her name only reminds me that she is missed by others.

If saying her name is too hard for you… then say nothing. Do not refer to her passing as that bad thing that happened. Do not laugh about how you found out about her passing. Just have a basic conversation. And continue on with your life…and leave me the hell alone. What you said today…I will never ever forget. And now I will hold a grudge. Now when I see you…my stomach will knot…. the words will replay in my mind… and I will make it a point to avoid you if I can. They say sticks and stones may break my bones…but words will never hurt me….this is just one more untruth. Your lack of action 3 years, 2 months and 20 days ago didn’t sit well with me….but your words today hurt me much more deeply.

Madison Charlotte. Your loss…your death…was so much more than just “a bad thing that happened.” And you were…and will always be…so much more than an it. You are our everything. We love you more than words could ever express….and will miss you until our last days.

Until we meet again…my love…Madison Charlotte.

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We Still Read To You

Today marks 3 years and 7 months since you were stolen from our lives. It feels like a lifetime has passed since that horrible night and merely a moment….all at once. In the days, weeks, months and years that have slipped through our fingertips since you have been gone….so much has changed. Friends and family have come and gone. We no longer live in your home….that’s a whole ‘nother story…. we no longer drive the same vehicles…Your little sister is a first grader…nearly the same age as you. Life just…keeps….moving. Against our will.

But some things. Have not changed.

We still read to you.

From the day you were born…Mama and Daddy read to you. Our home was filled with books. And each night…you would climb onto our laps and we would slow our life down…for a few moments…and we would read a story…or two or three or four. Soft little books with animals inside…whose fur you could touch…or maybe books with buttons that made sounds. Then board books… cute little rhyming stories…stories I can recite from memory …still to this day.  Stories about silly creatures…fairies… monsters…. and love. As you got older…although you never got very old…if we are being honest, right? But as you got older…we moved onto chapter books… Junie B. Jones… The Magic Tree House…Harry Potter…The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe…and even though we moved onto those books we still would read the picture books that you loved. And…when your little sister was born…the tradition continued…and you…. you started reading with her every night at bedtime. You’d snuggle up on the rocking chair…and pull her up onto your lap…and read…usually Curious George.

Then…you were gone. And …I don’t know…I couldn’t bear the idea of you going to bed at night…without a bedtime story. I couldn’t bear the way it felt to not read to you every night. So…we didn’t stop. Every time I visit your stone…or your garden….or when I can gather the strength to sit in your room….I read to you. And Daddy too. Sometimes a picture book…sometimes chapters of a chapter book. But we always read to you. I hope you can hear our stories. I hope the words float up among the stars.. to wherever you are. I hope they wrap around you like a warm blanket and remind you how loved you are. How much we miss you.

Other things have stayed the same. Your art work still decorates our walls. Even though we moved…I couldn’t take your art work down. I have laminated a lot of it…which was hard too… I feel like I can’t feel your fingers through the laminate…I like to trace the lines you drew…feel the spaces where the bend of your hand would have rested as you created. There’s the puppy with the floppy ears… the apple orchard…the giraffe I stare at and know that I want to have tattooed on me eventually. Your loving notes…pictures you drew for Carly just a few hours before you would never draw again.

Your room. We moved just a few months after losing you and … God… that was like losing you all over again. Removing your pictures and knick knacks from your walls… packing up your toys…taking apart your Polly Pocket roller coaster. But we made you a room here. I remade your bed with your pink princess blanket and your pillows and stuffed animals just like they were. Except Toby…he was laid to rest with you. And Leopard…I hold her every night. Daddy the Fox… Daddy holds him. And Kitty and Mexico Dog….they are on sissy’s bed. She holds them every single night. Most of your posters and pictures went back up. We set your bureau up like it was.

And your cd player. It is still on….still playing the same song… it has played every day….all day…for three years and 7 months. And it will … until the cd player gives up.

And every night you sing your sister to sleep. We snuggle up into bed… and we play the video…and you sing “Hush Little Baby” to Carly…every night. You sing it exactly how I sung it you… and we kiss you good night through the damn screen….every night.

We miss you so much. No matter how much times passes…we miss you….we love you…and we will always read to you.Maddi12

Pirouette Echoes

Maddi dancingThis is Madison Charlotte. I think she was six in this picture. Maddi loved to dance. She was born for it, really. Some of us are lucky enough to find our passion at a very young age….and Maddi found it when was 2 1/2. That’s when she began dancing. She stepped her tiny little feet out onto the dance floor…and never looked back. If she wasn’t dancing in multiple classes a week…she was dancing at home…in the grocery store…at school… anywhere she could. It wasn’t just dancing that she loved…. she loved the stage…the bright lights… all eyes on her…the clapping…the cheering… the costumes… the music… the makeup…her friends…her teachers…. she LIVED for dancing…

When she was in Kindergarten…during school spirit week…the children in her class were asked to dress up like their hero. Or “a” hero. Someone they looked up to. At first….much to my overwhelming pride and joy…she chose me. I was somewhat taken aback…of all the super heroes and famous people she adored…she wanted to be…just…like….me. I told her that when I grew up…I wanted to be just like her too. A few days before the day she was supposed to make her grand entrance at school dressed up and ready to talk about her hero…she changed her mind. It kind of hurt my feelings (if I am being honest) but her choice made absolute sense to me. She, instead, chose… her dance instructor…. Miss Angie…as the kids lovingly refer to her. She said that Miss Angie was everything she wanted to be… beautiful, kind, talented AND a ballerina…who danced on POINTE SHOES. I mean… how can you go wrong? (I mean she could have picked me still…but you know…whatever 🙂 ) But that is just how much she loved dance… her dance teacher… above all the celebrities and super heroes Maddi could have picked…was her idol.

Our last Christmas with Maddi… no matter how many times I say that or type that it still feels like the blade of a knife is being plunged into my heart…. she was in The Nutcracker. The epitome of a young ballet dancer’s DREAM performance. The rehearsals were long and grueling…but Maddi didn’t mind… and watching her on stage… made me weep. My girl was living her dream… it was the only beginning…I thought.  A few months earlier, on September 4, 2014, I took Maddi to what would become her last first day of dance class. It’s hard to believe she only ever made it through two levels of Happy Feet and into Level 1. Considering she had been in about seven recitals… performed in The Nutcracker and performed in several shows representing her school. But there we were…she was going into the “big girl classes”. She couldn’t contain her joy. This was supposed to be the beginning of the most exciting year in dance she had had yet. This was also the year that her little sister started dancing at Maddi’s studio. Because Carly was little and I was a stay at home at the time… her classes were in the middle of the day while Maddi attended school. Maddi and Carly could NOT wait to dance together. They never got that chance.

This was supposed to be the beginning of the most exciting year of dance our family had had yet…and it was…then…. it wasn’t.

All of those dreams were ripped away from us. Not once did Maddi watch Carly’s dance class…NOT ONCE. Not once did Maddi and Carly step into the dance hall and get ready for their recital together. NOT ONCE. Not once did Maddi and Carly take pictures together in their costumes or dance on that big, lit up stage together. NOT ONCE.

Now today…my little Carly… will walk into the studio as a “big girl dancer.” She is starting Level 1 dance today. The same damn level that Maddi never completed. My eleven year old and six year old are in the same level of dance. But they aren’t. They shouldn’t be…and they aren’t. Maddi should be entering into her TENTH year of dance…she should be in Level 4. But she isn’t. I should be packing TWO dance bags…searching for two pairs of ballet slippers….two pairs of jazz shoes… two pairs of convertible tights…but I am not. And I haven’t for longer than I ever got the chance to. For too long…it’s only been one bag…one pair of shoes…one pair of tights…I only got to pack two bags for six damn months.

How can one exist like this? My heart soaring with excitement for Carly….and also my heart lying on the floor…broken and useless and bleeding out. How can I feel so much happy and so much joy and so much pride…..and so much anger and bitterness and resentment and sadness….ALL AT ONCE?

When we step inside that studio….not only will I see my little girl…dancing and smiling and laughing… but I will see echoes of pirouettes…shadows of leaps… I will see the ghosts of Maddi’s life…and what should be…. reflected in the wall of mirrors. As her friends make their way into their classes this week…I wonder if they feel her absence too. I wonder if they see the spot where she belongs. That empty space in between two girls…not created with intention but …an empty space that is shaped like Maddi. I wonder if they miss her. Because…. I do.

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Maddi’s last first day at her dance studio….Corinne’s School of Dance.

September 4, 2014.

Nasty Couches, Warped Coat Hangers and Bent Bobby Pins

In 2012, we replaced our old, ripping apart couch with a new-to-us couch. It seated 3 people comfortably and had an awesome chaise seat on the end. It wasn’t perfect but it was so much better than what we had. This couch is where my daughter Maddi sat and watched movies snuggled up in my arms. This couch is where my daughter Maddi held her little sister and sung her to sleep one night while her Daddy and I went out for dinner and her Aunt was babysitting. This couch is where I nursed Maddi back to health so many times I can’t even give you a count but I know it’s where she recovered from her tonsillectomy. This couch is where Maddi sat next to her Daddy and read books every single night before bed.

This couch is also where our dog, then puppy, Jasper, decided to potty train….over and over and over again. And despite my best efforts to clean it every time….this couch STANK! This couch is where the dog my husband brought home six months tore up all the cushions so that the stuffing was missing. This couch had a spring that stuck out the bottom and scratched our hardwood floor. This couch has a spring that stuck out the back that tore up our wall. This couch…although we stuffed it with about 15 blankets and a camping pad and a tumbling mat…. is the most uncomfortable couch one could ever imagine. Like….sitting on wood pallets covered in a sheet…uncomfortable.

And, yesterday…. we got rid of it. I woke up at o’early o’clock….and before I even brushed my teeth or drank my morning coffee I dragged this nasty, uncomfortable, ugly, smelly couch out of my house and, with my husband, threw it over our porch and into the yard. And then….I cried. I admitted to my husband that I could have rid our family of this eyesore many months ago….but I couldn’t do it… I kept making excuses to not meet the person giving away a beautiful leather couch… and eventually, they gave it away to someone else. I hated that couch. But….

Maddi sat there. Maddi slept there. Maddi got better there. Maddi made precious videos of herself while sitting on that couch. So despite my loathing of it’s very existence….I also suffered with letting it go. Throwing out something she made memories on. I cried a lot yesterday over that stupid, ugly thing. Because…. after you have lost your child…. nothing is not just nothing.

I cried over coat hangers two days ago. I cleaned out my little one’s closet. Preparing for her return back to school (Don’t even get me started on that!). And in doing so I freed up A LOT of coat hangers. So many so we had to get rid of some. We just don’t have the room to keep things we don’t use. Mixed in with the nice, velvety hangers and the pink, plastic hangers with slots that are great for dresses and tank tops… were pink, warped, metal hangers. These hangers are at least ten years old. They barely hold clothes anymore. And these hangers….were Maddi’s. They once held her clothing. Even though I knew it was the right decision. I still cried. I still felt like I was throwing a part of her away. I still had a knot in my stomach as I did it. Still do now just thinking about it. Because….after you have lost your child….nothing is not just nothing.

And then I kept something. Something useless. Something that you can buy in bulk. Something that gets lost so easy that they make funny memes about it. And I get a little chuckle when I read them because the struggle is real. But yesterday, as I cleaned up our drawers and baskets of brushes and hair elastics (Ok…I may be slightly OCD and going through a crazy cleaning phase but that’s another story!)….I found them. Bent and useless large bobby pins. I remember the day I bought them. They were special, extra large bobby pins for holding up Maddi’s perfect bun during her first and only performance in The Nutcracker. Maddi was with me when I bought them at a little beauty supply store in a town close to mine. Those bobby pins held her hair perfectly. Those bobby pins were in her hair for her last ballet performance of her entire life. For the last time I would see her grace a stage in all her beauty. Now….these bobby pins are bent (most of them) and useless….but I couldn’t throw them out. I gathered them up and tucked them neatly in the back of the drawer. Feeling memories flow through my finger tips as I touched them. Flooding my mind with images of those beautiful days when all was right in the world. Nope. I won’t be throwing those out anytime soon.

Because….after you have lost your child….nothing is not just nothing. So I will cry over that ugly, stinky couch….those warped coat hangers….and I will pause every time I see those bent bobby pins and remember a time….when life…was…so damn good. Maddi11

We Keep This Love in a Photograph

I recently watched a short clip of a comedian I really like. He was discussing how he feels people spend too much time taking photographs. That we aren’t really living in the moment like we should be. And I can understand this perspective, to a point. When, instead of watching your child dance and play on the ocean shoreline, you are shouting “Now stop and look over here” and “Why don’t you stand like this?” ….that sort of thing, I guess he is right… you are not living in the moment…you are trying to create nonorganic moments to entertain your throngs of Instagram or Facebook or Twitter followers. Yes, I get that point. But….and it’s a big one… I know the value of photographs….as I imagine many of you do.

I have literally thousands upon thousands of photographs of my children. If I sat down with photos that I have printed (GASP! Printed photos?? Yes…my oldest…my Maddi was born just before the dawn of online photo sharing so I have LOTS of printed photographs of the first few years of her life ❤ ) and photos on Facebook and stored on my computer…I could probably piece together both of my children’s entire lives…on a month to month, if not week to week or even day to day…basis. Yes…literally.

I have gotten razzed over the years by friends and family. Always joking about me being a “mom-a-razzi”. Then the unthinkable, unimaginable happened. February 19, 2014. This is the day. 8:53pm. This is the time….that all of those photographs… those photographs went from just being a stack of old pictures…collections of albums on my social media accounts…and they became precious, invaluable links to a life that once was. A life that was beautiful and happy and perfectly imperfect and basic. Maddi was there one moment…happy, bubbly, alive…only seven years old…and then the next…all we had left were our memories and photographs.

I can’t tell you the number of times….at Maddi’s services… although I do not remember much…I do remember hearing over and over and over again…. “Wow…you have so many pictures”….”I am so glad you have these to hold onto”…”I wouldn’t even have several dozen pictures of my child”….”I need to start taking more pictures.” People that once joked with me about how many pictures I took, suddenly were slapped in the face with reality….that one minute, our children can be here…laughing and happy…taking breath into their lungs in the most normal of ways…and the next…all we have left are memories and pictures.

I pour over all of these pictures. Her birth… her first day home… her first bath… the pictures of her snuggled up with her Daddy reading a bedtime story… pictures of her dancing along the ocean shoreline… pictures of her painted toe nails… first days of school… stuffing her face with ice cream… I pour over them… I weep over them…I cling to them with some desperate, impossible hope that if I just touch this picture one more time…she will come back…and none of this will be real. I run my fingers over her hair…the bridge of her nose…. her fingertips…longing to really touch her…to really see her. I stare for what seems like forever….begging her to come home. No. These are not just pictures.

I can tell you for sure I always lived in the moment with Maddi and continue to do so with Carly. My mind and heart are filled with memories that no amount time passing can steal from me… but those photographs are precious gifts. Reminders….reminders of a life that once was…so….damn…good.

So take those pictures. Take hundreds of them. Thousands. AND….live in those moments. Memorize the shape of your child’s face… the little dimple when they smile real big… the way their nose bumps a little right in the middle…the curve of their knuckles… the way their hair blows in a breeze…. the crookedness of their missing teeth smiles…. the sound of their voice. And take pictures of you and your child together. Forget how “fat” you look…or how bad your skin is… or what a mess your hair is…. take pictures together. Even if they are selfies…TAKE PICTURES TOGETHER.

I will promise you this. If the day comes (and if it hasn’t for you….I pray it never does) that all you have left are your memories and your photographs….the only regrets you will have are the times you forgot your camera….or missed the shot…. I promise.

I love you Maddi. And I am sorry that all I have left is memories and pictures. I am just so sorry. I love you and miss you so much. Forever and ever.

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You Should Be Starting Sixth Grade

In just six days, you would be walking into the doors of your Elementary School  as a Sixth Grader. Holy shit. That is so far away from Second Grade. As far as you got in school. Second Grade. I see them. All sorts of parents and families… stressing out over their awesomely, perfectly normal lives. As one grieving parent put it, their basic lives. How I long for a basic life. I won’t be one of them. Not one of the parent’s with a basic life. I will be crying my eyes out. I will be pouring over photographs of the only years of school we got with you. And that is what everyone expects of me. That’s why I struggled with writing these past few weeks. I feel like I say this every fucking year…. you should be. You would be. I am the constant reminder to everyone else to live in the moment. To hug them one more time. To linger a little longer.  When they see me….they don’t see Carly’s Mom or Maddi’s Mom…. they see… their walking, talking, living nightmare. I am the Mom they look at and think “Oh gosh…I don’t know how she does it” or “I don’t know if I could be as strong as she is. I would just fall apart” or “I am so glad that I don’t have to live that life.” I am an “example of courage”….but I don’t fucking want to be. I just want to be normal…basic…. I just want to be sending a First AND a Sixth Grader to school on Monday. But I’m not.

Every year is the same. I wonder who your teacher would have been. I wonder if your teacher knows you are missing. I wonder if any of your friend’s still look for you to get off the bus… the way I do. I saw a preschool friend of yours today. She was so tall. So…grown up looking. She and her family didn’t recognize me. Her little sister played with yours. I wonder if they felt your absence. Or caught my eyes longingly staring at your friend…wondering if you would look like her at all…wondering if you were here, would she have recognized you. The sisters jumped off the dam over and over again, together… laughing and shrieking with joy. The pit in my stomach grew so heavy watching this…wishing for this for you and Carly… the pit grew so heavy I could have drowned.

I have been working on buying a backpack for a child in need. A girl…going into Sixth Grade… and it is a struggle. What the heck does a Sixth Grader even need? What styles would you be into? I highly doubt princesses are all the rage in Sixth Grade the way they were in Second. I read the posts and hear the complaints from so many. They are so damn lucky. So lucky to have their children to drive them crazy. So lucky to have their children to watch grow up. So lucky to have their children to argue with…to slam doors…to shout unkind things….I know that sounds crazy…but I would sever my arm with a butter knife to have you here even if it meant dealing with teenage hormones and attitudes…and boyfriends and friend drama…and technology issues and periods and sexuality…and everything else that comes with a child who gets to live life. I find myself so fucking envious…so bitter… rageful.

I wish you were here. I wish that at every moment of every day. And I have wished that at every moment of every day for three years, six months, and three days. I miss you so damn much. I am so sorry. So sorry. I am sorry for what happened….I am sorry I couldn’t save you… I am sorry that so many people take for granted the very thing you were denied. I am sorry you will not ever grow up. I am sorry you will not be a sixth grader or any other grader for that matter beyond second grade. I am sorry that your memory is fading for so many. I am sorry. I will never not be sorry. Because every day you are not here. And…dammit… you are supposed to be. I will love you forever…over a million lifetimes. With all that I am. And there will never come a day I don’t long for your presence. For just one more hug.

Until we meet again my little one. My little ladybug. I love you.

Guilt.

Guilt is an ugly five letter word that eats me up and spits me out. Guilt sits on my chest heavier than the proverbial elephant so many speak of. Guilt is grief’s friend that I did not invite to the gathering…I’d say party but this is a shitty party…and he won’t leave. Guilt darkens the sunniest of skies. Guilt awakens in the quiet and stillness of the night. Guilt forces me to shut others out because guilt tells me that they feel the same about me as I feel about me…and I know if I could, I’d run as far away from me as I could, but there is no running away from yourself…so I run away from other people. Guilt lights up the movie roll…the one that plays with a dim glow in my mind every second of every day…the one that replays that afternoon…every step we took…every chance I had to stay home…Guilt lights that movie up in the stillness of the night with such a fiery light I am certain the world will be dark forever because all of the sun’s energy is being used to project the movie roll into my eyes…Guilt tells me that every time something goes wrong that it has gone wrong because I have been given what I deserve. Guilt melts away happy dreams and twists them into nightmares….so that even as I sleep I am terrorized. Never allowed a moments peace.

“You have to let it go,” they say. “They”….they are well intentioned, well meaning friends and family and counselors…who just…cannot comprehend. It is an impossible feat you are asking of me.  “You have to forgive yourself,” they say. Absurd. I have let go of so many would haves and should haves and could haves. But there is one. One that will not fade away. One that resides in my bones. One that chips away at my soul. For I know. Beyond a shadow of a doubt….that ONE choice… that ONE moment… is one that would have allowed my daughter to live. Would have stopped death in it’s tracks. Guilt shows me this moment every day. When I am quiet. When I am talking. When I am playing with my child. When I am reading. When I am eating. When I am taking in a sunset. That moment replays over and over and over.  And nothing I have done thus far silences it. Softens it. Releases me of it. No matter what I am doing or thinking of ….guilt sits beside it… those moments play on and on and on.

Guilt lives inside of me. Guilt stabs my heart as I hold my six year old daughter while she weeps for the sister she feels like she is forgetting. Guilt wrenches my mind as I watch all of her friends grow up and make memories and live life….and she is not there.

Grief is love with no place to go. And guilt is the enemy within…trying to stomp out the love…the happy memories… the connections. I wish I could let it go…forgive myself. But how? How do you look at an empty room….look at your youngest child growing older than your oldest child…look at her dusty toys and the empty backseat….and just… let it go? How do you forgive yourself for the ultimate choice…your god damn choice… that led to the death of your precious child? How do you live with the fact that all you have are fucking videos and pictures and memories? How?

I do not write this in an attempt to hear how it’s not my fault….because no matter how many times I hear that or read that….it will not change how I feel. It just won’t. I write this to get it out… for the words that sit in my mind….threaten me… so I put them on paper….or well, on the computer…. and hope that they resonate with someone… or help someone….it’s all I know how to do.

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