Every September 13, I take time away from my normal day and make a special place to remember Laura. I just read through the original blog I wrote on September 13 2008. Hard to believe that was 9 years ago. As I read this blog I could feel the pain I was experiencing. It brought back all too quickly the sadness that lives deep inside me from having lost my one and only child, Laura Maria.
Every year I have lit a candle, gone to a spiritual spot, sifted through photos … anything that could bring me back to that feeling of having her with me. But it’s a double-edged sword, because as I see and recall the memories of all the things we did, I can hear her voice and it brings back a pain that may have subsided through the years but still lives on within me.
I will always carry a torch for her. I’m her dad. Why wouldn’t I?
There are so many happy, fun memories of our time together. Places we visited, things we did. Conversations we shared. She was wise beyond her years. She was a flower child. She loved daisies. I recall one tie while visiting Niagara on The Lake with my sister and her family from Italy, Laura fell in love with this hippie type hat that had daises woven into the fabric. Of course she had to have it. As simple and smart as she was, she liked nice things. She had expensive taste. Probably got that from me. I remember when I lived several hours drive from her home and I gave her the option to fly to come spend the weekend with me or I could drive and pick her up, she chose flying. Her words exactly “no dad, I prefer to fly”.
One Saturday afternoon we went to the park and it had just rained. She really wanted to play on the swings. But there was a puddle of muddy water right under each swing where feet dig into the ground to help stop swinging. As I started saying no, it wasn’t a good idea, I could see her face change expression. Disappointed and sad. I quickly rethought my position and figured how bad can a little mud be? So I helped her on to the swing and as she glanced over looking for approval from me to say it was ok to swoosh her feet through the water as she came streaming through the air on the down swing, I could see her smile as she dug her feet down enough to start spraying water everywhere.
Of course it was mud and got on to her clothes … we had mud everywhere. But it was just mud and the look on her face and laughs were all worth it. Of course her mother didn’t think so when I brought her back but who cares. Laura had a blast and I loved watching it.
I also volunteered as a parent in her class when she first started school. This was interesting being in a room full of 1st graders. She kept looking over to see what I was doing. She made sure to show me everything in her class and explain “the rules”. It was cute, it was fun. She was happy and proud to have me there but not as much as I was beaming from the inside out.
These are just some of my many memories. Happy memories that overshadow the sad thoughts. Its easy to get caught up in sadness and start wondering why, and start wishing things had been different and then spiral into a dark, sad place. Writing about her has been a healing experience for me. I have met others that have lost children over the years and there is a special bond we all share. We all have an understanding that few people would experience and rightfully so. This isn’t one of those membership clubs anyone wants to be a part of.
In my writings I am loving every thought and relishing in the moment of my life with my wonderful Laura who blessed my life and continues to do so. It is hard to believe its been 18 years. Today Laura would be 32 years old.
Through the years I have said goodbye to grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends. Each brings its own sadness and every one is unique. Nothing has ever come close to the impact of losing a child or what I felt and feel for Laura.
So I bring daisies to her when I can and I sit and share with her. I spend time with her through my thoughts and hold her with my heart. I’m still a dad and that can never be taken away. My life will forever be changed because she came into it and it will never be the same without her.