Yesterday the counselor gave me some ideas for art therapy for Audrey. She said that since she seems so advanced in terms of her understanding and grieving that maybe I can help her to have a means of expression, besides just the other projects I’ve been doing myself. She suggested little play animals or figures that could potentially be a family to see how she plays with them, or even simply asking her to color a picture of appa. The things I have I can then keep for her to see when she’s older how she dealt with this.
Sitting nodding my head and taking some notes on the ideas, I felt the shock and utter sadness that this is about my daughter and that she has to start at this place at only two years old. And I am always aware also- that she is not the only child who has lost a parent. Think of all the children- all the orphans.
After counseling, I was out on 34th Street waiting for the bus when an ambulance came by. I deliberately covered my ears with my fingers as you always would. And when I did, there was an eery moment- the people everywhere, crossing the street, seemed to pick up their pace. I saw all of the movement of the city but with my fingers on my ears it was all muted. The cold wind was blowing through my hair and there was beauty in the contrast of the chaotic and quiet I experienced. I thought I felt you there too.
Today we were busy checking out preschools and attending a holiday concert at a local play space after her nap. At the concert, I was surrounded by moms of toddlers, many with pregnant bellies, looking the way moms do- chasing after toddlers. I ran into one mom whom I’d met at a birthday party last year. She had a little girl Audrey’s age at that time, and today I saw she had a new baby boy. “Hey, how’ve you been?” she asked. “Oh, OK.”
In the middle of the boisterous singing and shaking of instruments, I felt overwhelmed with sadness. This is how it happens. I think, “This is really true- I will never see you again. This has really happened.”
Tonight Audrey begged to sleep in my bed again. After I explained that I’d be right across the hall, not far away, she said, “Mommy’s not going to diiiieee. Mommy’s not going to leave…”
“No, I’m not,” I said. I explained that Appa didn’t have a choice, but had an accident, and that we’ll always be a family and he loved her very much. She went to her little Hello Kitty doll and took out our family photo and spoke to you, “We love you and we miss you appa.”
“Yes, we do. We do.” I said. Then I began to cry. What had been building all day perhaps.
“Mommy’s kai ‘in”
“Yes, mommy’s crying. Sometimes it’s OK to cry for a little bit if we’re sad.”
In my room, I remember little details- things in my life that happened back then- things that I thought had meaning and significance.
When we were engaged, I went to a wedding fair at the venue where we were to have our reception. There was food, and stands set up with photographers, florists, etc. There was also a raffle for a trip to the Bahamas. I remember telling my mom that I wanted to stay until the end incase I won that raffle- I don’t think I’d gone on a vacation in years at that point and it sounded really good. Like a child, I remember thinking/praying, “God, if you really love me, you’ll give me this vacation.” Ha.
Well, lo and behold in a large ballroom full of people, I won that vacation raffle. And when I opened up the envelope with all of the information, inside was a heart-shaped lollipop that said “I love you.”
A few weeks before you left for the tour, we went to Chicago as a family. On our way back home, all of the flights to NYC were either delayed or canceled…except ours. I wasn’t sure what I would’ve done with Audrey if we had to wait around or stay at a hotel another night- though now in retrospect, we would’ve simply managed. But I thought it quite fortuitous as we watched all of the flights change to “cancelled” on the blue television screen, that ours was “on time.”
There are many more of these small and large occurrences that signified meaning and care to me throughout my life. Christians are always saying how much God cares about the details in our lives, but then when something like this happens, it feels like it kind of overrides that stuff…would God give me a trip to the Bahamas and let my husband die? Would he keep my flight from being cancelled and let my daughter grow up without her father?
I’m not willing to totally negate the meaning of those smaller experiences yet, but I have to say that they seem ridiculous to me right now, and I do think religious people should be very careful about how nonchalantly they guess at God’s involvement in their lives and the world when they really do not know.