I don’t know what more seems like a dream: Erin dying, or remembering that I had a daughter. Because neither seem real most days. Her memory is fading, at least in ways that make the absence very pronounced. Her “balloon” that she drew on in early July, all of the air suddenly came out on Friday or Saturday. I was coming out of the kitchen and noticed immediately. I knew that one day in the near future, it would lose its air, as it had begun shrinking. And boy have I dreaded that day. It’s just another “sign” of my loss, you know?
On that note, sometimes I find myself, alone, crying out “You were real!” because honestly, there is no proof of that life other than mementos and pictures. People will soon forget. Don’t say you won’t – most of you have already gone on with your lives and why wouldn’t you? In 2 years, she will be a distant memory. By the end of her friends high school years, someone will say “Remember that girl Erin Canter who died when we were starting the 5th grade?” Some will say “yeah” and others will say “sort of.” Some won’t remember at all, or won’t have known her.
I still do not accept that this has happened “to me” or “in my life,” and yet it has. I know it must have. She is gone and not in her room anymore. Her room is exactly how it was the night we left for Birmingham the last time, except for the stuff I laid on her bed when we returned without her.
I was petting Puppy last night and remembered how she cried right before we left while telling him bye. She never did that before and I thought it odd, but we were in such a hurry. The signs were there. Her subconscious knew, but I didn’t know. I never knew until right before. I’m still not sure that I know.
I don’t write much anymore because I don’t want to talk about it. I’m depressed enough without confronting it. We still owe a visit to the school to see the area her friends made for her in the library, but that will be so hard I have put it off. We made labels to put in the books we are donating to the HCES library on that visit, but it’s too hard to look at them to get them ready. Shaun did offer to bring them out of her playroom for me so that I don’t have to go in there. Maybe that will work for me.
For anyone who is interested, I did not read the autopsy, but Shaun did. Unless he misunderstood, the results were inconclusive except they identified that she had anaplastic large cell lymphoma in one area of her body – the “rash” on her chest. The doctor at St. Jude in Huntsville said that was the first thing they tested for. HEMOC at Children’s tested her too for multiple cancers, but nothing. It’s inconclusive anyway. Her little body never gave up its secrets. I can’t find a scenario where she wasn’t meant to die at age 10, and it kills me. I am still open to whatever the universe has for me to learn from this, but the suffering is vast and immeasurable.
I have seen her in my dreams in multiple timelines, or parallel realities. In some she is dead, in some she is alive. I don’t know why I am seeing them all, but I saw her last alive and looked into her eyes and said “There you are! I finally found you!” It was “My” Erin, and I found her. And then I woke up.