Friday, October 15, 2010

Fiona, Ten Years Later

Dear Fiona:

It’s now been ten years since you left us—almost the same length of time you were with us. We still miss you, and not a single day goes by that my brain doesn’t hit the replay button on those final moments.

I can talk to people about you and what happened to you, and remain stoic and dry-eyed. But then I go to Wal-Mart, where we happen to casually pass through the ladies’ lingerie department. I see a rack of bras and panties adorned with Disney characters, and just like that I turn into a watering pot because I wish I could buy them for you.

This actually happened a few months ago—and this wasn’t little girls’ underwear, either—these were bras and panties for grown females with bosoms. I froze in my tracks to stare at them, and told your dad, “Fiona would love these. You know she’d love to wear them. And if she were still here, she could wear them, and they would fit,” because you’d be twenty years old now. The waterworks started gushing right there in the middle of Wal-Mart, and your dad had to drag me away. Perhaps it affected him, too, but he wouldn’t admit it.

For a fleeting time frame of only three short years, I had all three of my children and our family was complete. Those were the days when we went bowling as a family every Sunday afternoon. Baby Bear sat in his stroller while the rest of us bowled, and you got a kick out of lofting balls like Mr. Burns. Afterwards we always went to CiCi’s for pizza.

I’ve told your older brother that whenever we hear thunder, that’s you bowling up in heaven. “What’s that sound?” I ask him whenever thunder rolls, and he always replies, “Fiona’s bowling.” He still talks about your last day, of the paramedics who came to the house that morning, and of going to see you in the hospital afterward, but he seems to understand you’re now an angel in heaven.

When you were still here, every morning when I got up, I always went first into your room, because your school bus came earlier than your brother’s, and after you got sick, you had medical needs that had to be taken care of first thing. The day after you died, a Monday morning, I got out of bed and went straight to your pink bedroom without a second thought. It was purely out of habit, a reflex. But you weren’t there. The four-poster bed, with its canopy and comforter all covered with cheerful little hearts, was empty.

I still have your comforter, put away where the blanket-loving Bear can’t get to it. Those hundreds of little hearts are still whole, but my own heart is missing a piece.

At least I know where it is.

We love you, Bunny Buttons!