Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday

It’s irrational.

Completely irrational but real to me nonetheless.

This time of year always hangs heavy around our hearts.  The last of winter’s grip and the first breath of spring will forever remind me of Kyrie. In fact, spring’s first pink bloom I often think is her gift back to everyone here, especially those who are helping to find a cure.

This time of year, I feel more. Colors are Technicolor. Sound is Dolby surround. And my memory is in HD. The day Kyrie left the hospital for the last time, it was snowing—in April. My friend Julie had knitted and sent a darling pink hat for her, and it was just what Kyrie needed that day when no one expected the snow. That pink is ablaze in my mind. The snow and tears landed on my cheeks like soft, cold fingertips. I screamed to God in my head all day to spare Lacie and Jordan this heartache. We knew what was coming, but we didn’t know how it would arrive.

August 31, 2012. I knew what was coming, but I didn’t know how she would arrive. Due at the end of September, I didn’t know that my pregnancy would be over in just a matter of hours. Born three and a half weeks early, our daughter, Kyrie’s cousin, was born on September 1, which allows her to share Kyrie’s a birthday. This Godwink, this one-in-a-bajilliongajillion occurrence, is not lost on me.

For the last 18 months, I’ve been watching the timeline of our daughter. I watch for the smiles, the milestones and the stories that correspond with Kyrie’s life.  Oh, she was sitting up before spring! Oh, she was cooing and teething during the summer! Oh, she was marveling at the tree in December! And since January, I’ve been half-breathing.

It’s irrational.

But real to me nonetheless.

If she trips and falls, I wonder if she’s starting to lose her balance.  If she’s tired and her eyes are heavy, I study her eyes closely to see if one is droopier than the other. If she leans to one side when she’s dancing, I watch to see if she’s able to stand straight again. If she pulls on her ear, I wonder if she had a headache—a headache from what????

I am fully aware of each elusive moment. And I freaking don’t care if I look like a “helicopter” parent. I want to be in this moment with her because I’m not sure how many more I’ll get. I need to make time matter because I know—I know—this life is delicately precarious.

And accounting the minutes, the hours, the days, and the years alters behavior. For me, it recently altered my career. I concluded that time was more valuable than money, and if I could amass 10 more minutes a day, 30 more minutes a day, 90 more minutes a day, well, with compounding interest, I’d be wealthy in a couple heartbeats—hers and mine specifically.

To those unable to fully sympathize the loss of a child, my frame of mind may seem banal or sentimental. With a disposable worldview, it’s easy to assume this. I assure you, though, that putting first things first allows me to lead my life instead of follow it.

So time is ticking toward April. And while I still weep at the loss, I also joyfully watch for the gifts, the opportunities to make it right, to make it count. And that’s the mathematical secret of life, isn’t it? As your days count down, the moments should add up.

Think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived.

--Anna Quindlen