4 years, or 208 weeks, or 1,460 days I have been without my daughter. I am finding it hard to put to words how this makes me feel. Recently I started reading the journal I started after Mckenna’s death. This journal was given to me by a friend at Mckenna’s funeral, and I am so very thankful she did such a kind thing for me that day. As I started reading I felt as if I was reading someone else’s words, someone else’s tragic story. Each page filled with sorrow and pain that no mother should ever have to endure. I thought to myself, this poor mother, how has she survived this terrible, tragic death of her beautiful daughter? I didn’t recognize the women in those words. Oh but then again I do because that woman is me. The days when it hurt to breathe, hurt to wake up, hurt to think, hurt to laugh. The days when I wished to die, to never wake up. The days I couldn’t grieve and couldn’t feel. As each month passed it was like I was getting further and further away from the one thing in my life that brought me pure joy and happiness, and yet in a strange way get closer. The days when other people’s feelings and emotions mattered more than my broken heart, the days where I learned how to put on my “Ashley” face that I used to cover up my pain. Reading those words brought me back to those moments, those first couple months, those memories, feeling as if it happened yesterday. I recently heard a part of the story from a friend that I have heard before and it’s amazing how in that moment you can get the feelings from that moment in time almost 4 years later.
In these past 4 years I have grown as a human being, as a person and most importantly as a mother. In the beginning I learned from those around me that my pain was too much. I slowly started to tuck it away and did my best to put on that “Ashley” face that I had grown used to. It is a lonely, dark place to be in when those around you can’t handle your pain. In time I have found it harder to put on the “Ashley” face and to just show the face of me. I find it more exhausting to try and be someone I am not just to try and prove to those around me that I am “ok”, when the reality is that sometimes I am not ok. I wake up every day to silence, to empty, to lonely. I go to bed each night to silence, empty and lonely. Yes I have come so very far on my journey. I work, go to school, do an internship, but that doesn’t take away the yearning, and longing, the missing and the lonely days when I miss my daughter.
I have had to learn to live again, because the day Mckenna died I died too. It is amazing how in just a split second all the things you thought you knew, what you believed in, who your true friends are, suddenly are lost. It’s like you are being re-born trying to learn to smile, laugh, eat, talk, walk, run, all over again. There is not a day that goes by that I am not affected by Mckenna’s death. She is never too far from my mind. I can’t go around life not living and not discover who I am meant to be, but I also can’t go around life as if I am not hurting for my daughter every day.
On this day 4 long/short years ago I held my daughter as her heart stopped beating, and the color drained from her face. The light of my life died at the age of 9 months old. I will NEVER forget that day, I will NEVER forget Mckenna and I will NEVER forget to honor her and be the mommy she deserves to have.
I LOVE you my sweet, beautiful, curious, happy baby girl. You are the reason I do what I do and I only hope that I make you proud to call me your mommy. Because it brings me such pride to call you my daughter and that you chose me as your mommy. You are the light of my life even in my darkest days. I hear you, I feel you and I MISS you with every inch of my body and soul. Until we see each other again keep giving me signs and whispering in my ear and I will listen. I love you pumpkin pie.