It's amazing how a single word with just the right inflection can transform a day. Especially when its directed toward someone you love. Especially when that someone is your child. And particularly, when that someone is your dead child.
I grappled with why- why do people say such things? How could someone be so hurtful to another? What would that person have to gain from wounding another person?
But the whys are always met with tinning silence.
This morning, residual feelings of pain bounced up and down in my gut.
"I get to choose how I accept this," I said to myself.
Still, my intestines felt twisted and past hurtful comments, to which I'd long since said farewell, returned for an invited visit. But I had no time for wallowing...and,
This morning, I moved my 21-year-old daughter into her new university dorm (note that my 18 year old should have been moving in with her, but she can't because she's dead).
I arrived a little before the office opened so I went to a coffee shop near campus. I stood in line ahead of a lovely family with a beautiful, perfect little girl with Down's Syndrome. And she was beautiful and perfect. Quietly, I bought an anonymous gift card to pay for their breakfast. I sat outside and watched them eat. They were grateful, I knew.
This gorgeous little girl kept looking at me, waving and staring, and I wondered if she knew something that I didn't know.
Two decades ago, I probably wouldn't have done something like this. But in 1994, my daughter came into my life and she shattered my heart open, sending seedlings of love and compassion (often through the Kindness Project) into the world. They are not my seeds, they are hers.
This is who my daughter is... Cheyenne Cacciatore, beloved child, precious daughter, always loved and always missed. As valuable now as she was then and as she will always be. As worthy of dignity and recognition as anyone, dead or alive. And this is her fruition.
She is my baby, my child.
She is not a "just".
I finished my tea. I smiled and walked to my car, and I cried.