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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 wanted to remember something else — how unbelievably happy you could be around water, especially splashing around at the swimming pool. When you were just two, I put you in a swim vest for the first time, and, grinning as though born for it, you paddled all over the pool, arms and legs in constant motion, kicking and whacking water everywhere. Krissie, you were content in that pool, and more times than not you'd cry when I pulled you out.

The irony of your love of swimming brought me back to the crashing surf again. How many freak waves had slithered onto that beach? Krissie, today there are signs at Bandon warning of rogue waves. If only they had been there then. The Coast Guard later said that even a strong swimmer could not have escaped its force. They told me you could have been pulled by the undertow for five miles or more before surfacing. Whenever I closed my eyes, the image of your body being pulled out was always there.

I kept trying to have hope, but it was beaten down by the sickening image of you fighting for your life. Krissie, what were you feeling in those last moments? Were you frightened when you held your breath, knowing you couldn't hold it any longer? Were you even conscious? Over and over again, I tried to imagine what you experienced. How much did you suffer, Kristen? What were you thinking? What did you go through?

I longed to live every second of those last moments of your life so that I could know the pain you had experienced. A mother's wish — my wish, not only then but often since. Every anniversary, every long and thankful day of remembering the you who made life so meaningful. Thankful for your exuberance. Thankful for the joyful you who brings me fulfillment to this day, in this day, and beyond.

I send you lots of love and hugs,


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