My visits with her are always unplanned and over far too quickly. I can ask as often as I want but seeing her will always be in her time. Not mine. And, I’ve had to learn to be ok with this. It’s difficult but I have no choice.
Once, I asked her why she didn’t come see me much. Was it because I was always so sad and it made her feel bad? Maybe she was tired of seeing me cry all the time. Possibly, she had better things to do than visit me when she knew there would always be tears. Quite some time passed before she could explain to me why her visits were brief and infrequent. All of it was just too damn hard.
Not seeing me, though. She needed to see me as much as I needed to see her. The situation leading up to all of this was so sudden that we’d had no time to prepare. Our paths had diverged, violently, and only after some time had passed were we able to reconnect. I needed more time with her, though.
It’s so far to travel, she said. I’m new and I don’t know everything yet. When I am able to come my energy is depleted within moments. I’d stay longer if I could . . . I just don’t know how to yet. But, I’ll learn. I promise.
But, I’d reply (there is always a but isn’t there?) but . . . we had plans. Hundreds of plans!
I know she’d say sadly. She would grow pale. Not pale in color. But hazy in appearance. Please don’t go, I’d yell and reach out for her only to feel the remnants of her solidness wash over my skin as a breeze does.
Damn it. We had life plans. We’d planned on life. I’d already given the world the best I had to offer: my children. They were meant to make it a better place. And, Becca had been on her way to do just that. She’d chosen to teach children.
During one of our visits, when I was trying so hard to fight the case for her death being an error someone “up there” had made, I said that to her.
“You were supposed to teach children, though, honey! There are hundreds of children who don’t know their life was just altered because you won’t be their teacher.”
“But, mom, I still get to help children.”
“I’m waiting for them when they get here. Most of them are scared and don’t know why they aren’t with their family anymore. I make them feel safe and comfort them. It’s hard for them and I get to make it a little less so.”
I’m not sure if she explained it to me or just laid her hand on my arm and shared the information with her touch but I saw my Becca with the children. She’d pull them into her lap and hug them. Stroking their hair and singing softly . . . they’d bury their faces into the soft curve of her neck and relax. I’d seen her do this a thousand times with her brothers. Her hugs were healing. I need them now.
I just spoke to a friend who told me about a little boy who died today. I asked for his name so I could tell Becca to be watching for him. My friend shared his name and asked me to tell Becca that he likes his hair played with. I did. I know she knows what each child needs as she goes about helping them understand what’s happened.
My daughter is still the sweet soul I knew here. The soul I know is waiting for me. And, someday far from today, her brothers. I also believe she is helping as many children there as she was supposed to, here. I’d change this if I could, believe me, but my heart is happy that she is fulfilling one life goal. Even if it is in a way none of us expected.
My heart, however, hurts for the newly bereaved parents who didn’t go to bed last night expecting to wake up to this reality. They are facing the unimaginable.
Becca, please take care of their boy, honey.
Love your children. Hold them close. Don’t forget that they truly are a gift.