Ana died two weeks ago yesterday. Sometimes when I breathe in, my heart actually hurts. It’s like there’s something physically squeezing the air out of my lungs. This makes me think of Ana’s lungs and how she struggled for breath so much at the end of her life.
It’s so unfair.
Emily stayed home from school today and we talked a lot. She’s sadder than she’s letting on. All the worry and heartache I had for Ana is now directed at her. I’m trying not to overwhelm her with it, but it’s hard. She said when she’s at school, it’s like people have already forgotten about Ana. Everything’s normal and that makes her feel worse than ever. I tried to relate without making it about me. I told her that no one can really understand. Well, some people understand–the people who are part of this bleak club. But most people have no frame of reference for this level of loss. I tried to tell her this and it came out sounding dramatic (she told me so). But I hope talking about it helped a little. I told her to keep talking to me. I’ll do my best to listen.
Two weeks. The sadness keeps on building, making my heart hurt, squeezing the breath out of my lungs. I’m getting stuck in the absurdity of losing Ana. There’s dust on my ceiling fan that was here before she died and it’s still here, but she’s gone. How can that be? There were so many things poised to happen for Ana–another Rock Academy show, a renewal of her monthly meds, an Easter basket I don’t need to fill, her birthday…
These things hang in limbo then fade away to nothing. I realized today that when a child dies, it’s not just their life we mourn, but all the things they’ll never do. We mourn their lost potential. Ana will never get her driver’s license. She’ll never go to college. She’ll never make me one more paper crane.
I mentioned this to Emily. I told her she was cheated and that her entire life will be punctuated by this loss. I told her how sorry I am about this. It didn’t feel like the right thing to say. It didn’t feel like enough. But after we talked she took a shower in the upstairs bathroom and I could hear her singing from downstairs. That has to be a good thing, right?