Disappearing Act

A lot of people may be looking into the heavens tonight, to see the supermoon.
The thing is, I cannot stare up at the sky, day or night, without thinking about Celia.
She disappeared too.

I was reminded recently of the way we sanitized her story.  We still do.  Omission as a form of creation, maybe.  To avoid making people uncomfortable we leave out details, anecdote the narrative with lightness and healing, try to make it more acceptable.

In actuality, it is a story so filled with horror that I wish it were not ours to tell.  I wish no one had to tell a story like hers, one where, in the end, a child dies.  Although it wasn’t really the end, as much as it may have felt like it.

She went mostly gently, no tubes, no oxygen masks, no screeching ambulance.  And that's the way her story goes too, though maybe a little more beautiful in the retelling than in the reality.
Almost four years later and I find myself resenting the idea of filling a car with a third safety seat, making it so that, were she still here, she would not fit in the vehicle with the idea of our new family.

I cry at seemingly random things, strollers and strawberries, the night sky and the number eight.  Deep down I am always thinking about her.
I catch myself whispering her name, spelling out the letters in my mind.  What am I doing, I wonder?  I did not give myself permission to think about her right this minute.

I miss that girl like she’s a place on the planet, a place I visited once and want to go back.

What matters most, I suspect, is that we loved her in the first place.  Learning to feel the presence of that love without the presence of the person slowly helps our grief feel less big.  It's what turns the big grief into grief, and the grief into missing, and the missing into mostly pleasant memories.

She was sunshine, and even when the recollections of her get buried behind the grocery list or the soccer practice schedule, under a mound of dirty clothes or the weight of raising her brothers, there's no way to block her light for long.

The boys and I were reading a little about the eclipse tonight before we went outside to look.  According to Dr. David Wolf, a former NASA astronaut and "extraordinary scientist in residence" for The Children's Museum, "Because a lot of light scatters off the Earth's atmosphere, the moon will not look completely dark but have a coppery red color — hence the blood moon moniker."

A coppery red color.  Because when we look for her, we almost always find her.


rht said...

Yes. A place I visited once and want to go back.

Aunt Linda said...

I was just thinking of that beautiful little ginger today.