Today, my daughter told me she loves me.
She wrapped herself around me and was warm to the touch.
I stroked my fingers through the length of her hair.
We sat together in silence. Her breath grazing across my face.
I closed my eyes and for the first time she stood before me. She took her very first steps.
I open my eyes again as the shade of the trees washes over my face.
She breathes on me still, using the breeze as her ship.
Her warm embrace floods down on me from the morning sun.
The blades of grass between my fingers are the exact length her hair was, is, and forever will be.
And though she is not here above the ground with me, as I sit here by her graveside, I hear her as clearly as I feel her, and she tells me that she loves me.
Reminders are everywhere for us and they are inescapable. They can hurt. Sometimes I see my girl in so many places at once that I find it hard to breathe. It’s tough to stay in the moment when my mind is forced to jump back – back to the happy memories, or back to her heartbreaking final moments.
As I write this now, my throat closes up for the 50th time today. You know that feeling too well. The butterflies in your chest start to flutter furiously, and the trembles begin below the surface of your hands. Some professionals might call this the fight or flight response. I know it well as I’ve been living this way for 7 months. Maybe you’ve had it longer, maybe not. Maybe it will last forever, but maybe not.
Today I don’t know.
All I know today is that my daughter told me she loves me. She spoke to my mind and to my heart. Today the reminders didn’t hurt as much. Today, they made me smile.
Lorraine Donnelly lives in Sydney Australia with her husband and dog. The life of her young daughter Zoey has influenced her way of life. She visits the beach daily, usually with her dog by her side. By day she works in digital media and in her own time she focuses on fundraising and using her own experiences to provide support to parents of sick children.