A friend of mine (who I know thru the "heart world") lost her daughter recently. She was 4 1/2 years old. She had been on the heart transplant waiting list and passed away before she got a transplant. She was born a year before Cali and had the same defect. This has had me thinking a lot lately about life and love.
Losing Cali at such a young age was devastating. We barely had her in our lives before she was gone. And she left behind all our hopes and dreams for her life and future. That is what we most often mourn, the life we wished she had. The life that she didn't hardly get to taste.
Kylie was 4. Her parents experienced a whole life with her. They know her favorite foods, her likes and dislikes. They've witnessed her smiles and laughter. They comforted her and held her when she needed it most. Kylie lived at their home. She has a bedroom full of her own things. She has a deep presence in their lives.
And then I think of Summer. My little 2 year old. And how she fills my life. And I think back to Kylie, and especially her mom and I can hardly keep tears back. How do you lose such a big part of your life? How do you return to the house where your daughter lived and pack up her things. How do you decide whether or not to wash the her last dirty clothes, or the pillowcase that she slept on. How do you fill the quiet, the longing for the sound of your child's voice. How do you find purpose and meaning in such loss.
And I don't know the answer. I don't even think there is an answer. I think that we navigate through life one step at a time doing, at that time, what feels the best. And with each step things get closer to feeling OK. And we learn how to dig deep and how to fight the hard battles in life. And we learn about what we really care about. And we keep repeating because life doesn't ever stop and we evolve and cope and find strength somehow.
And as sad as that is. The reality of life and loss, and such despair it brings me back to love. How long does it take to fall in love? What about with your children? I'm not sure the answer and I think it's different for every parent, but what I can tell you with absolute certainty is that in a mere 2 years you can come to love that person more than the whole world. And in no time at all they become the center of your world and your life becomes their life, at least while they're very little and dependent on you for everything.
And then they start to give back to you. Through laughs, and smiles, coos, and eyes that just seem to say so clearly that you are their world, that they love you. And then they hug you, and kiss you, and eventually tell you they love you. And they run to you to share their excitement and their pride in their accomplishments or when they are hurt or sad, and they turn to you to make it better.
And I think about my 2 years with Summer. Experiencing the beauty of life and wishing every single day that she knows just how much I love her. That she could know that every night as I look at her sleeping through the monitor I think "Wow, isn't she amazing?" And I think about how she has made my heart grow, just by being her mother. With every smile and every shared learning experience, even the times that I have let her down and been short with her, even, maybe especially those times, my heart grows with love and I hope that I am telling her and showing her enough every single day that she is everything.
And I hope and pray that I get many many many more days to help her know how much I love her. And then I think about my friend. And I wish that she could have just one more day with her own daughter. One day to give every last little bit of herself to her daughter so she, as her mother, could feel like she did it. She succeeded in giving her daughter all the love that she so desperately wants her daughter to receive.
And I think about that kind of heartbreak. That kind of loss. That kind of life shattering grief and the tears flow. Because I know a small taste of it. And I wish that it could stop. That parents could have their children with them forever. That there was an end to that kind of heart wrenching pain. And all I can think that I can do about it is love more. Give more. Share more. Do more. See good more. And hope that if I ever have to say goodbye to my Summer before I'm ready that I know that each day I shared with her was magic. That she feels so much love in her life, that she has no doubt of her worth and value to us and this whole wide world.
And if I can help her to know how deeply she is loved and how much she has grown my heart then I have succeeded in life. I have been the mother that I so much want to be.