“I can’t believe you’re missing this.”
That is what I think tonight while Audrey says, “mommy, hold my hand, and then I say ‘mommy- what aaare yooou doing!” Just random cute things that don’t always make sense…those are the ones that somehow I wish you could see the most. Dan, our daughter is delightful. If I was not grieving, I am pretty sure this would be one of the happiest times of my life- because I take so much delight in her. I fear though, because of the grief- I am missing it too. That’s not fair.
If I did not have Audrey, perhaps I could pretend that things were not very different from when you left. But the fact that she talks now and did not then, is hard to ignore. I can’t believe you didn’t hear the sound of her voice like this…I mean, other than babbling and one syllable words. I can’t get over it. You missed it. You are missing it.
And the missing started on June 29th- when you took a cab to Newark airport and left our home for the last time.
I was trying to keep busy that week, as I always did when you were away- trying to make the time pass- trying to be occupied. So, the things that I wanted to tell you about- were accruing already.
The day after you left we went to a free outdoor concert at the library. It was that strange couple/band we saw at another library…very lively though and fun for Audrey. Audrey looked so pretty wearing her Easter dress- the white and blue linen one you picked out at the Gap- her hair in small, wispy pigtails. She was one of the youngest ones there and looked so small and sweet among the older kids. That couple has a ton of props that they hand out and your little girl wasn’t too shy about wanting some of those even though it was mostly older kids going up to dance. At one point, she made her way up to get a little toy wooden horse to pretend she was riding. The man playing the keyboard saw her coming and asked his wife to “bring one for this little one here.” But the best part about that day was a video I took of Audrey moving that wooden horse up and down along with the music. In it, an older Asian boy sitting next to her- maybe about five or six, keeps getting tapped a little by Audrey’s horse- unbeknownst to her. He looks irritated, but she’s just having fun. But then…then I think she notices him giving her the evil eye and she does it again on purpose. I can’t explain how cute and funny their exchange is in words…but I was so looking forward to hearing your laugh as you watched that one.
On Friday- July 2nd, I decided we’d join one of the moms groups I’m in who were putting on a small baby/toddler parade for the residents of a local nursing home. I put Audrey in that same dress you picked out since it was blue and white, and added a red hair clip. I took the worn American flag with thirteen stars you and I bought in Mystic and hung it from the back of the stroller because the idea was that everyone would decorate their strollers and we’d parade around the home. The organizer brought dollar store stuff- little leis and flags- to dress things up and played patriotic music from a stereo she carried. The residents sat outside in the back having lemonade and cookies. After we “marched” by, we went to say hello and I was so proud of Audrey, Dan. I thought she might be afraid of some of the older people, but she was perfectly cordial. She got a little routine down where she would go down a line of old women and do three things- wave, give them a high five, and blow them a kiss. They were all quite taken with her. I took plenty of pictures of her with her little flag to show you.
Friday night we slept over my parents, and Saturday my mom and I took her to the mall so I could return a few things and she rode on the carousel with my mom before I headed back home to our place. Sunday was church. I think I emailed you about that- how she was having fun playing in the gym until someone accidentally ran into her and knocked her backwards. I also told you over email that she was looking for you at church- you replied “That makes me sad to hear that Audrey was looking for me at church. Appa misses Audrey.” And I told you how I let her stay up and watch the fireworks with me on July 4th from our balcony. It was so hot and steamy out, I remember both of just sweating as we watched them go off in the distance on the Hudson. Her favorite color was blue and she kept shouting out, “Boo!” hoping that the lights in the sky would comply. I did get to tell you about this via email and you replied, “Did she like the fireworks? I wish I was there with you guys.”
Sunday night, two days before you died, there was a fire alarm in our building in the middle of the night. It’s very loud in the apartment, blaring, “Attention- a fire has been reported in the building. Please evacuate using the nearest staircase.” Usually it wakes Audrey up but she was sound asleep, so I grabbed her and headed down the stairs. She was so out of it when she roused, and there was someone in front of us in the stairwell, and she thought it was you for some reason. “That’s appa…” she said drowsily but excited. “No, no, that’s not appa,” I remember chuckling.
Monday we had a playdate at our house. I made homemade chocolate chip ice cream for our guests. It’s still in the freezer where I left it.
Tuesday morning we looked at the little print out of your tour schedule I had pinned to the wall near the kitchen table to see how many days were left until appa comes home.
Around noon I got a call saying you were dead.
One of the first things I remember doing
is tearing down that sheet of paper with your tour itinerary and throwing it in the trash.
I still loathe the pin hole that it left in the wall and glare at it every time I see it.
Those are a few of the things I was planning on sharing with you when you came back though-small things- the dancing with the toy horse at the library concert, blowing kisses to the residents at the nursing home, and thinking that she saw you in the middle of the night in the stairwell.
Now there are many more…many, many more.