to the ones who dream

Perhaps a permanent side effect of loss, after shock and anger, beyond sadness and heartache, is left wonder.  Who might she have been?

We should have an almost ten year old. We should have attitude and ear buds. We should be negotiating new clothes and considering pierced ears and building a bridge between childhood and teen.

She might have dreams to be a marine biologist or a pastry chef or any number of those jobs we used to read about in Richard Scarry's Busytown. She might play ball or wear flip flops in the snow, she might walk the neighbors' dogs or join the origami club after school or be inclined to study engineering with her brother.  She might want go to sleepaway camp or excel at computer coding or be eager to learn to ski.

The what ifs wash over me, suddenly but never surprisingly. I am never stunned to find myself wondering about her, only at how much that hasn’t changed.

I dreamed of sitting tall beside her, two sure hands on the wheel while we drove down sunny streets discussing crushes and the beginnings of political convictions. I dreamed of squinting from my striped beach chair over to hers, evaluating whether she needed to apply more sunscreen, telling her so over the sound of crashing waves. I dreamed of her spinning on the stool at the counter while I prepared dinner, homework and snacks that would ruin her appetite in hand, curly red hair in sharp contrast to the white walls of the kitchen.  I dreamed of prayers at bedtime, her night-gowned frame silhouetted by the glow of the hall light.
I dreamed of raising a daughter.
I still dream.

For five years now, longer than she was alive, we've flipped open a new calendar only to be snagged by a couple of dates that stick out like rusty nails, anniversaries of diagnosis and death. For the record, five years is more than enough time for worn out neural pathways to get stuck traveling the same old routes of if only.


Aunt Linda said...

How long IS long enough...?

rht said...

Those jammies... and those precious boys.

Maya's Curls said...

My crocodile tears...how much I wish she could have done all of this with you and you with her. My heart aches and my tears flowing. I love you all so very very much and I am so so grateful that because of Celia I can call you one of best friends. I LOVE YOU!

Mike Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Smith said...

though a friend, i became friends with a father of a girl i went to school with. She passed on almost 50 years ago and he informed me that you never ever forget your child.[i remember her and Celia] LOVE of a child is forever. You wonder what more would they have done.