The anniversary of my daughter’s death was yesterday. Such a dismal day: one I will live the rest of my life, an affiliation that no one wants, but many share with me. We are members of a somber club, one that only we as the parents of a deceased child understand. We carry extreme grief that has settled into our very being. Many people assume we get better as the years go by, but we don’t; we continue with the same heartache year in and year out. In fact, if possible to feel anything worse after you lose a child, you do as the years go by as you imagine where they would be in life at whatever age they would be as the date of their death passes.
Every year as the date approaches I get anxious. I fear the day so much. Believe me that I hate a lot of the days of the year now: Mother’s Day, her birthday, Christmas, my birthday, and the list goes on. As she would be getting older, I imagine what she would have accomplished. What we could do together, what we would talk about as she matured, as her daughter Amaya was growing up. Those who knew my daughter and me; know she died when we were at a point of separation in our lives. Not only did I lose my daughter, but I lost her when she wasn’t speaking to me. It has taken me a long time to accept this, but I have. As her mother I am sure I made mistakes; but she made many also. I loved her unconditionally but I had to let her be whom she wanted to be. It never worked out when I tried to help her. So I had to let go. Letting go is not easy. I read her twitter posts and knew she was doing pretty well for herself. She was still going to school even with a child and lived with her best friend; she seemed to be happy with her life. I assumed she would grow up and we would grow close again when she matured some. I never had that chance to regain the closeness we once had because she was murdered by a hit and run driver. A harsh lesson for me. So as the years go by I imagine we would have reunited, and made peace. In fact, I know we would have been fine with each other within that same year, if she wasn’t taken so suddenly. I have made my peace with that.
Now when I look back on my life with my daughter I see so many photos of joyful times. Our summers in the mountains were especially wonderful. We had the most amazing years hiking the Great Smoky Mountains every summer, shopping for her back to school clothes, decorating her room so many times, having her friends come on vacations with us, enjoying our animals, leaning on each other more than a few times. We were very close. I know that now. A short period of growing up does not speak for the life of my daughter whom I raised to be a good person. She proved how special she was by the cause of her death. She was trying to help someone she saw get hit by a car.
As the years pass and the anniversary of her death approaches I have decided to look at all the pictures I have of Misha. I will rejoice in the short life she did have, and I will smile at the memories. I will share the milestones Misha never had with her friends whom are still in my life. They are all my daughters, as they grew up in my house with Misha. My house was one in which her friends were always welcome. They share stories with me still. I will enjoy their new marriages, births, photos of family like they are my own daughters. I know that is what Misha would want. When I meet new young people who are the same age as Misha I will embrace the fact they are living their lives well and be happy for their accomplishments. I can’t have this with my daughter, but every time my granddaughter celebrates a milestone, I will say a prayer that Misha somehow knows from wherever she is now. I will continue to live my best life in the name of my deceased daughter. I will hopefully educate those who do not know any better that we who have lost a child, no matter what the circumstances, never get over it. We just get on with our lives. That is the best we can do.