Grief is rearing its ugly head these days.
Some days it feels like we are keeping it at bay, but then it sneaks up on us. This past week has been particularly difficult, and there are many things we could point to that might explain this. Our family ran in the Finley 5K race last weekend, and for the second time in a year we stood in front of grieving parents at the head of a race; for the second time in a year we watched balloons collectively released into the sky in memory of children that should still be here. It’s Childhood Cancer Month, so the reminders are everywhere – round faced, bald headed children with ports and tubes snaking in and out of their bodies. We’ve been settling into the routines of a new school year, and we’ve sent our own daughter off to new middle school adventures, adventures her cousin should be experiencing at the same time. It’s taken me weeks to sort through our vacation photos. The time away was glorious, but it was still so hard, and my niece’s absence there was a big, gaping hole in the landscape of paradise. The pictures make it more real. I can picture her in all of them, I squint my eyes and she is there, but she really isn’t.
She should be twelve tomorrow. Twelve. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that she was eleven and then, just that. Why shouldn’t she be twelve, a sixth grader, a dancer still, an extra spot in our dinner reservations for nine that should have been ten?
She should be here, with us, and it’s not getting any easier. It’s getting harder. We want her back, and there aren’t enough candles for those kind of wishes.
There are so many of you that I want to thank. Many of you contributed to Erin’s playground fund. Her wish came true this summer, and I wanted to share the photos and the story of the new playground that you helped to build.
I also wanted to thank you for supporting Erin’s Light the Night team last fall. We’ll be walking in her name again this October, and the link to her team is here. It’s hard to look at these photos from last year’s walk with her in them – it’s going to be a tough walk this year for our family without her there.
And if you have something pink or orange to wear – the brighter the better – think about wearing it tomorrow for her. Sending out love and sparkles to our girl on her twelfth birthday. We miss you, and love you, sweet girl.