Grief at One Year

One year ago today, we said goodbye to our daughter Rebecca. We had spent our lives in orbit around that little girl for 14 years. For 14 years she was the center of our universe…

and then one day, after a long, slow, painful decline, after countless times over the years proving that she wouldn’t go until she was damn well ready to go… after countless times giving death the middle finger and skipping (metaphorically) away… she finally left.

The moment of her death is still at the front of my mind, and I revisit it often still. I laid Rebecca down on the floor of the bathroom to get the shower ready…

We had been expecting her to die the night before and stayed up almost all night just waiting for that last exhale. Our vigil that night was somber, but there was also a barely expressed sense of arrival. This release was a gift I had longed to give her before, when there was little joy left in her life. When there was no joy in her eyes.

I laid Rebecca down flat on the floor of the bathroom after a night of little sleep, and the weight of her lungs became too much. I held her there and she didn’t inhale again. She only exhaled, a few more times.

The moment of her death is at the front of my mind. I keep it in a convenient place–on a low shelf–and I revisit it often still.

I am grateful that she didn’t languish any longer. I am joyful that her pain is over.

Please don’t offer me your condolences. Let me offer you mine.

We were given 14 years to live and strive in the presence of such an incredible visitor. It is a shame that you missed her.

5 thoughts on “Grief at One Year

  1. I appreciate your sentiment on living through and beyond grief. Being a parent is the greatest joy and love and sense of purpose we ever experience and lasts far beyond the time we directly fill the role. The transition away from that active role is hard and harder still when the reason is loss, but to know a person so intimately and to know their value to the world so completely for as long as it lasts is one of the greatest gifts as a parent we get from the children we love and cherish so much. I wish you moments of peace in this journey you are going through and I wish I had the chance to know her as you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Daniel,

    This story is truly amazing and a real tribute to the amazing person your daughter was and the process of being present to someone facing a terminal illness. I think too often that their is a taboo in our society in talking about death, but it touches all of us and it is natural and healthy to share our experience and our grief. Thank you for sharing this story with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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