My husband is a big Bruce Springsteen fan. One of Bruce’s songs is “You’re Missing.” Tonight when the longing for my daughter feels like it will take me under, it is with Bruce that I find comfort.
“Shirt’s in the closet, shoe’s in the hall, mama’s in the kitchen…everything is everything, everything is everything, but you’re missing.”
Since losing my daughter after four and half months of loving her with all and every love possible for a human being, in every moment of my life “everything is everything, but <she’s> missing.”
Life moves on, life has to move on. I get up, I eat, I work, I make dinner, I keep living, “everything is everything,” but truly, everything is nothing anymore.
“Coffee cup’s on the counter, jacket’s on the chair, paper’s on the doorstep, but you’re not here, everything is everything, but you’re missing….Picture’s on the nightstand, TV’s on in the den, your house is waiting, your house is waiting for you to walk in, for you to walk in, but you’re missing.”
In the fullness of all that happens in the now, is the emptiness of her, of my sweet and precious daughter. She’s missing “when I shut out the lights.” She’s missing “when I close my eyes.” She’s missing “when I see the sun rise.”
Life goes on, because that’s what life does, it goes on, but a piece of me doesn’t. I keep wondering, how do I bury a child when there’s no body?
When a family loses a child to death, people understand, as much as they can. They rally around, they call, they gather at a grave to hold up the pieces of the parents who are left behind, for truly only pieces are left. Yet, when losing a child who did not grow in their mother’s womb, but rather in her arms, it’s not the same.
At first it is the same, but soon, so much is forgotten. Far too quickly, those broken parents are expected to let go and to move on.
Time passes and one day turns into the next. People forget, and so perhaps they expect those parents to forget as well. They talk about how hard it must have been for a mother to place her child for adoption after carrying her in her body for nine months, yet forget how hard it is for a mother to hand her child over after carrying her in her arms for nearly five months. Though I have never carried a child in my body, it is difficult to imagine that it can hold any more weight in a mother’s heart than caring for a child 24 hours a day for months on end.
I keep going every day because I have to, because it’s the only choice. Yet a piece of me is gone; a piece of me was lost forever the day I handed my scared and startled daughter over to a stranger; the day she was imprinted with the naive belief, though buried deep in her sub-conscious, that her mother abandoned her. That piece of me will never return.
And so I walk through life with a part of me forever dead and gone, in a world where I no longer fit.
I can’t visit my child’s grave and grieve her departure. I can’t walk into her now empty nursery and lift her from her crib, nor snuggle next to her throughout the night, as I did every night of her life with me. I live with an emptiness. I live with a knowing that she is out there, somewhere, and I cannot hold her; I cannot touch her; I cannot save her.
“God’s drifting in heaven, devil’s in the mailbox. i got dust on my shoes, nothing but teardrops….Everything is everything, but <she’s> missing.”