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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'll laugh my Lord,
I'll cry my Lord,
It's all the same to me.
I'll laugh with pain,
I'll cry with joy
With every part of me.
And when my life is fully spent
And I must take my leave,
Then take my body to the shore
And give me to the sea.

Brian said he understood the reasons for most of his songs except this one. It wasn't until after your death that its meaning shocked him as well. He has since titled it, "Kristen."

Gathered in the circle, I explained that giving flowers was one of your ways of saying, "I love you." Michel took the wreath and presented it for each person to select a flower. Krissie, I knew you would be thrilled to have everyone choose this gift of love from you. Then Michel handed the remaining flowers and ribbons to your father. Your dad walked to the ocean's edge and, with the waves lapping at his feet, tossed the wreath as far as he could into the ocean. The wreath was carried away as you had been, a few days earlier.

Others soon followed, taking the flowers sent from friends and walking to the water's edge. One by one each flower was tossed into the ocean. The ocean was at rest, creating a quiet, meditative tone. Some people were by themselves and some with others as they said their good-byes. Alone with their thoughts, they tossed flowers and watched the playful interplay of the waves with them. Several of the flowers danced up and down on the surface, and when the dance ended, they were carried gently to the shore by the waves. Others were taken out to sea forever.

Your Uncle Denny and Aunts Cindy and Kathy sealed a wine bottle with a note about your death. They also enclosed a single baby pink rosebud and tiny seashells. This collage of their love was tossed into the ocean along with the flowers. Krissie, you must have had a hand in this because none of it had been planned.

The ceremony ended with Brian playing several of your favorite songs. At first the words saddened me, but then I looked up to see the children dancing and twirling to the music. What a beautiful sight! Krissie, I hoped you were twirling, too. The children then drew a huge heart into the sand that read, "Kristen died here, November 13, 1976. We all loved her." The beauty of children. Their words said it all.

Before leaving the grotto, we joined hands while Phil led us in prayer. We had again rented a beach house, and everyone brought food to share. On our walk there, Aunt Barbie commented, "Kristen sure planned a beautiful party." Something important had happened for all of us.

After our meal together, people began to depart for the long drive home. Krissie, I didn't want to go. I felt closer to you than I had since your death, and I wanted those feelings to last for as long as possible. A friend agreed to stay with me while Michel returned to Ashland with your father.

That evening when everyone had gone home, the cabin was extremely quiet. The constant pounding of the waves was less frightening, but later that night I awoke to images of your body being smashed by waves against the jagged coastline. I also dreamed you were being attacked by fish. You probably know this was the beginning of nightmares that would haunt me for months to come.

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