“I don’t want to go to heaven alone! I am going to miss you! I’m scared to go alone!” As she reached for me so many times.
Katherine feared her death and cried openly about it. For months we would say not to worry, that’s not gonna happen. Or, we are going before you. And this would calm her down. Although, her fears increased, and at some points it took hours to calm her down. Lots of hugs and kisses, and distraction. Eventually that lie would not work anymore. She just knew. It was in the air. She could sense it. Our expressions spoke volumes. And loudly. With each raspy coughing fit and added day of no eating. We were walking open books. Eventually, the fears came several times a week, then multiple times a day. Then it was constant.
I remember a few weeks before she passed, after another cry, I said to her, “Heaven is so amazing, you won’t even miss us. You will blink and be there. You’ll blink again and we will be there. A blink” Time is infinitesimal. A blink. A blip. For her…
But for us, we are that boiling pot of water being watched. We will never quite come to any sense of a normal. Just when we think it might happen, someone starts staring at the pot again. And I lied to her. Over and over. About everything. I promised we would be waiting. And here we are. My other daughters struggling to be normal. My husband fighting to move forward and deal with it in his own way. And me. Holding onto the regrets. As we boil over when everyone turns away again.
I promise you Katie I said those thing because I loved you. I didn’t want you to be worried. I wanted you to smile and laugh and be you again. The Katie Baby who loved funny socks, and frozen grapes, and made flying chicken finger potato pea boats to get her veggies down, just to make mom happy. And, none of it worked. The lies. You were never you again. And we’ll never be us again. We all died that day. A blip. And we’re gone. We’re just still in our skin.
(Daddy’s last goodbye)