Since Amy passed away, I have had to find new lunch spots, nail and hair salons, etc. because Amy and I worked a few blocks apart and we frequently spent our lunch hour together.
Yesterday, during my lunch hour, I decided to get a manicure. It continues to surprise me why I even care how my nails look but maybe that’s the autopilot part of my brain. However, even now it’s impossible to do anything that I did with Amy without feeling very sad and depressed.
The past few times I went to the new nail salon, I noticed the same cheerful young woman working on a customer next to me and a few times she did my nails too as was the case yesterday. In the middle of my manicure, another woman came up to me and hugged me because the last time I was there, she caught me crying as my nails were drying.
Receiving that hug and remembering that incident opened up the flood gates as those darn tears just seem to sit on the surface these days just waiting for the slightest excuse to release. As I felt the need to explain my sudden public display of emotion, I spit out the painful words “my daughter died,” to which she replied, with tears in her eyes: “Did it happen last year? I want to hug you. I lost my daughter 7 years ago.” We cried together and spoke of our girls and the beautiful signs they send us and how we would see them again some day as she continued to finish my nails. When I was finished and my nails were dry, we hugged and held hands and she thanked me for being in her life that day.
You see, prior to yesterday, when I would notice this cheerful young woman, I would envy her cheerful demeanor and the possibilities for happiness in her life, always assuming she was untouched. Her daughter died before her 3rd birthday on Valentine’s Day from complications which appeared to be the flu. Her daughter became ill during a snowstorm and she couldn’t get to the doctor so was waiting for the next day, but when the next day arrived and she called the ambulance … Her life was forever changed. I will think of her now when I hear and see an ambulance as we share the same PTSD trauma which ambulances awaken each and every time.
She has 3 children (including her little “angel” as she lovingly refers to her daughter. Just like me, she will NEVER say 2. She had a vision of her sweet daughter — so similar to the one which I had — that we couldn’t even speak for moments after we shared our stories because our daughters were wearing almost identical dresses made out of strips of white sheer cloth. In this similar one time vision which we both had, our girls were both happy and beautiful.
This young woman spoke in a sweet melodic voice until she told me how angry she becomes with the skeptics who feel compelled to cast a dark shadow on her comforting vision. When she dropped the nail file and looked into my eyes with 100% certainty to reassure me that we WILL see our girls again, I felt a peace wash over me which I will never be able to put into words. If only I could bottle that peace and keep it with me but life doesn’t work that way.
Lesson learned: my assumption of the untouched carefree cheerful young woman was totally wrong. A closer look into her eyes confirmed that. Just like the retired couple who I envied from across my older daughter’s yard only later to learn that they had lost their first born son 24 years ago when he was Amy’s age … you just never know the cross that others carry. And like my good friend reminded me when I envy the peace of the untouched, no one’s journey is over and no one knows what lies ahead…
From the first week when I was drowning in self pity and asking Why Amy? Why me? the insulating shock would answer Why NOT me? Months later, I felt like a victim and so angry … Why Amy? Why my child? Why my family? While we all learn life lessons, I will never accept that Amy left to teach anyone, especially me, life lessons? I cannot accept that she was a sacrificial lamb until they name a saint after her so never, ever go there with me. Predetermined date? Maybe? That’s my own personal theory and not up for debate. Maybe this was between God and Amy?! I was just caught in the crossfire by the pain her death caused, but I will always be grateful and proud that I am Amy’s Mom and she was in my life here for almost 28 years!
I admit to feeling less like a targeted victim because I have met so many amazing, loving parents who have suffered horrible tragedies under many different horrific circumstances. Life is not fair but the autopilot place in my soul which continues to pray hopes that these beautiful young souls who could not stay here with us as we finished our own parental journey, are soaring in a place that is a Heaven in ever sense of the word and it far exceeds our expectations. And that we will indeed see our kids again but until that day arrives, that we will feel their peace and love which is the only way many of us will find the strength to continue our journeys without them, until we meet again. Love never dies! Death cannot take that from me.
Remembering Amy always as well as many other children who I remember via their loving parents.