Last night at 7 pm was the Worldwide Candle Lighting for children who have died. Instead of doing it at home, at the last minute, we decided to join the Compassionate Friends support group for a little potluck and then their candle lighting service.
I've been feeling an odd sense of calm since Lydie's memorial. Maybe it should be a relief, but instead, it feels disconcerting. Yesterday, before Ben's nap, I sang to him both songs from Lydie's memorial: On Eagle's Wings and Somewhere over the Rainbow. And I cried. Because I never get to rock my daughter to sleep and sing to her. But mostly, I've felt calm.
After the memorial, we're left wondering what's next. We've been planning this memorial since Lydia died. And now what? Where's our focus? What do we DO?
So I wanted to connect with Lydie last night.
We sat next to a couple whose 30 year old daughter committed suicide. I didn't know what to say to them. After all this, and all my new understanding about grief, I didn't know what to say to them. I'm pretty sure the questions that arise in my mind first aren't appropriate: How did she do it? Did she leave a note? Were their signs?
I walked around and looked at all the displayed photos of people's children who have died. So much pain in one room. I felt the disbelief all over again, shocked that we are among this group. I was holding Ben, who actually reached for a tissue and wiped away my tears. He is getting really used to seeing his mama cry.
Meanwhile, we brought the photo of both of us holding Lydie's hand to have scanned for the slideshow. It's one of my favorites. We have very few photos of her face. She wasn't in that great of shape. When Justin handed the photo over, the man scanning them said, "Is this it?"
Yep, that's it.
It's easy to think that the pain of losing an infant isn't as deep as the pain of losing an older child. And when I hear the stories about losing a 12-year-old, I shudder. I can't imagine. The grief is different of course.
But those parents got 12 years with their child. We lost our daughter before we even got the chance to meet her. We said hello as we said goodbye. The memories of our daughter are the images we had in our minds, all the dreams we had for her. Who she was supposed to be. That's all we have. That's it.
We listened to readings and poems and songs, and we tried to get Ben to stay quiet. We lit a candle for Lydie.
Sometimes this makes me angry.
Like when I dropped Ben off at daycare this morning, and there was another sign, another baby announcement. A girl. Born December 11th.
They got their daughter and all we got was a fucking candle.