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Sugar Cookies and a Nightmare

How My Daughter's Death Taught Me
The Meaning of Life


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I found the minister and pulled him aside. "Phil, you have to help me. I'm so scared. This is my family, but I feel so detached from them. I can't do this. How do I have a funeral for Krissie?"

Phil responded, "Carol, you won't be alone. We'll all get through this together."

I thought I was losing my mind. Krissie, the next day was your funeral, and yet I worried that I couldn't laugh at a dinner! Nothing made sense anymore. Of course it would be hard to laugh. I gathered your wreath from our friends' garage, where they had stored it, and headed home with my sister Barbie. Michel stayed with your dad and the rest of the family. Your wreath was such a comfort to me when I tried to sleep that night. I placed it on my pillow, where I could touch it and imagine I was touching you.

I know it was my denial that made me panic. I felt threatened. As friends had heard of your death, our home began to fill with flowers. I couldn't look at them. Like the grief books that friends had given me, they were there because you weren't. Your body had not yet been found, and I was holding tightly to my thin thread of hope.

Everything was becoming too final. I wasn't ready for that. My friends giving the dinner saw my reaction and took the flowers home. They called the florists to have the rest rerouted as well.

For many people who are grieving, flowers are comforting, but I was far from accepting your death, Krissie. I would always think of you and flowers together. You picked flowers for people, including me, as a way to express your love. You always put your flowers in my vase on the coffee table. Often they had very short stems or none at all. More times than I dare acknowledge, they were "borrowed" from a neighbor's garden. Maybe my strong negative reaction to the flowers arriving was because of this. I miss your flowers, Krissie.

Now, on the shore under the opening of the grotto, we gathered to begin the ceremony. Phil was in the center, and the rest of us formed a semicircle next to him. Brian played his guitar. Family and friends had their arms full of flowers. Held loosely in people's arms, the flowers now looked more natural and beautiful than in their formal arrangements.

Phil spoke tenderly of children and time, saying, "Kristen was in the midst of play at the moment of her death and will be suspended forever in that time." As he spoke, I looked at the children gathered together in the circle. Many of them had been with you when you died.

Brian then played a song he had written one month before your death. At that time, he had called to see if I could come listen to it. Michel was with a friend, so I had taken you and we headed over. The words to this new song had affected me deeply, even though I had no way of relating to them. I had been so struck by the chorus that I asked him to write down the words for me. Brian, like an uncle to you and Michel, had written other songs about us, but I had never asked him for the words. After your death, these words were haunting.

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