It is 6 months since that terrible night, when I got the call that my daughter had been critically injured while out viewing the stars on a train trestle with 4 friends.
Sometimes when I look at her, I am breathless, hardly comprehending that she is still here with me after what she’s been through. She is a miracle, a gift twice-given.
Tonight, as I listened to the strumming of her guitar drifting from her room, I sat on my bed with my youngest, knocking out a chapter from our latest read-together book. Eventually, my middle girl returned from her ballet lesson, flushed, exhausted, and hungry. She cuddled up on the bed beside me and we talked about her next rehearsal schedule. In and out of my room, they were, all evening– chattering, giggling, cuddling.
I have been given a gift. The gift of knowing, almost, what it would be like to lose one of my children, yet sitting here in my home six months later, with all of them present. These precious days… I am so thankful for them, so happy to have all of my children healthy and whole.
Yet my heart grieves for another.… one of the friends went to Heaven that night, her mama’s soul left to ache for the daughter she loved, whose bright light continues to shine on this earth, pointing others to Christ. And so I find myself caught between the joy of my miracle and the heartache of this mama’s loss. I have come to know her daughter through pictures and memories she posts on facebook. My favorite story is one the precious mama shared 3 months after the accident. Her daughter had called her the weekend before Thanksgiving break, and asked her to make the several-hour trip to the university and spend the weekend with her, just because. It didn’t make sense, spending money on that trip right before break, but the mama came, and they had a wonderful time together. The next weekend, her time with her daughter on earth was gone. I catch my breath as I imagine life without one of my girls, the life my friend is now living.
I see each day with my Miracle girl, and my other 2 girls, (also miracles, as all children are) as a precious gift from God. We may not have a tomorrow. And while we still have very routine things to do… school, housework, rehearsals… I want to practice habits that will produce happy memories for all of us, so when the day comes we are separated from each other on this earth, the rest of us can look back at the wonderful times we had together, a scrapbook of sorts, whether comprised in our minds, of paper and ink, or a little bit of both.
Some things I am already doing or urging myself to do:
- Read with my youngest (that doesn’t necessarily mean little… she’s 13… and the older girls sometimes come in to listen, too!)
- Take my middle child to tea, as I’ve been promising for almost 2 years.
- Sit with my eldest, just being together. She doesn’t talk as often as the others, but when she does, I want to be there to listen and encourage.
- Have family game night! Let one person choose the game and snack. Keep score and have a friendly competition.
- Eat lunch at the park or in the backyard for a change.
- Splash and play in our neighborhood pool with them instead of just sitting on the side.
- Take pictures, lots of pictures, of little, daily experiences… youngest cooking, middle dancing, eldest smiling
- Listen to the guitar strumming drifting from her room, and just drink in the beautiful music of her survival, my precious gift twice-given.
What memory-making habits do you practice or want to begin practicing?