Today is Amy’s birthday. Had her life continued, she would be turning 30 today. Following in her siblings’ footsteps, there probably would have been a party downtown in one of the bars in Old City. However, life had a different plan and instead my youngest child is forever 27.
We did not flip our calendars to August. With Devastation Day and Amy’s birthday 8 days apart, those dates hold too much reality. The very last day of August is the day my youngest brother died suddenly. Many will say celebrate the memories today … why does it piss me off to hear that? Just things people say with no malice when they can’t find the words. I do get that but it hurts just the same to have my vibrant, beautiful daughter become a “memory.” Seriously, think about what the world is asking me to do today … maybe someday over the rainbow I will be able to just reach for the memories and find peace, but I am not there yet. Today hurts. It makes me sad. I resent working so hard to get through another day in paradise.
Since we returned from hiding out last week in order to soften the crapaversary of Devastation Day, I have been focusing on Amy’s birthday. Sunday mornings still haunt me so I struggle when I am left alone and my husband goes off to mass. Yes, my crisis of faith continues on some level so I typically remain upstairs or leave the house until he returns. Two years have not changed much about Sunday mornings for me. Some days will never be the same.
This Sunday, I decided to head to a craft store and make Amy a feather arrangement for the cemetery. Feathers is our secret word for I love you which we made up when Amy was in junior high. As I write this I feel an urge to race to the bathroom and vomit from the reality that I am making something for my kid’s birthday which I will be taking to a cemetery. Anyway, after I parked my car, I was hit with a big dose of reality and had to self-coach myself out of the car and into the store. Sometimes when I am doing something specifically related to my new reality, I am plagued with panic attacks prompted by the truth. As I carried all of the feathers making my way towards the register, people inquisitively stopped me to inquire how I was planning to use them. My new favorite answer is “I don’t know” which seems to stop most conversations. Many times by the time I finish shopping and am waiting ready to pay, my head is usually spinning from the adrenaline and I am dizzy. This Sunday was no different and when the cashier’s tape ran out on the register, it took everything to stop me from bolting from the store.
My husband and I had also planned on starting Amy’s permanent memory garden in our yard on Sunday. As the garden started to evolve, I kept commenting how well it was turning out. Over the course of the past two years, I had been holding many gifts for this project and as I placed each one in Amy’s garden, I was filled with gratitude. That night as I looked out from my bedroom window onto the lights in the garden, my mood plummeted to deep despair as the reality once again set in. Why is there a place in our yard devoted just to Amy? So much fucking reality which makes me want to scream out of utter frustration.
Of course I am grateful for every second my daughter graced our life, but come on … Who wants their child to become a “memory”????? Blah, blah … that is all I have now, memories. Yes, I continue to be the greedy woman who just wants more.
Happy birthday, Amy, my sweet angel child. I admit in those early months I did not appreciate when people referred to Amy as an angel because I just wanted her to be my daughter. However, now I realize not only was Amy an earth angel here with that cherub face and pure heart, but she is most definitely one of the brightest lights in Heaven. Shine on my sweet child. Nothing will ever put your light out.
Amy, grab the balloons we are sending to you today. We will remember you with so much love as we make our way through a day on the calendar which does indeed hold so many loving memories of you regardless of whether I am ready to embrace them with my shattered mind. We will do random good deeds all day to honor your overly generous heart. Today we will place the hundreds of origami cranes which were lovingly made for you by my compassionate friends who I know make you smile too.
Cheers to you Amy!
Today and every day, I am always remembering my Amy.