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Sugar Cookies and a Nightmare

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


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My little Krissie,

A couple of months after you drowned, I was terribly distraught and didn't know how to help myself. Bubble baths had always been a great escape. Before, I had poured the bubble powder in, added a lot of hot water, closed my eyes, and slid in up to my neck. Presto! A warm cocoon against life's problems. Reenergized, I'd be ready to face the world again.

But this time when I poured the bubbles in, the fragrance brought agonizing memories: Favorite times with you were our bubble baths together. We'd pour in the bubbles, climb in the bath, and talk about anything and everything. I should have realized what would happen this time when I slid up to my neck in the bubbles and closed my eyes: I was immediately pulled back to the ocean and the last time I saw you.

Sinking into the bubbles, I felt besieged by the image of you being pulled out to sea by a rogue wave and me desperately racing along the beach like a madwoman, screaming silently at the ocean, "Give her back!" I remembered myself shouting, "Where is she? You can't take her!" Crazed, I ran in search of you, knowing it was futile. Only moments before, I had been holding you in my lap, never knowing it would be for the last time.

And then, lying there trying to feel renewed by the steamy aromas all around me, I lived through it all again. The bonfire, the trapped waves in the tunnel, your bounding out the door with the other kids for more fun in the dunes. Turning around to see the children soaked from head to toe rushing back from the beach, Michel's teeth chattering as he tried to tell me what had happened, my expanding horror as I raced down the stairs in search of you. Then came the sheriff, the Coast Guard, the helicopter abandoning the search — and taking with it all hope of my ever seeing you again.

These images gave me chills as I lay in my hot bath. I relived the relentless sound of the waves that night — a sound that beat home the reminder that you were now swallowed up, possessed by the sea. These hopeless, helpless feelings made me feel so alone. Over and over, I repeated my prayers for you, and to you. I lay paralyzed in the bath with feelings as raw as the moment I'd first experienced them, and I realized that even my escape into a bubble bath was not an escape anymore. There was no escape.

Everything was now different. Would Michel and I ever be able to have a life without you? How could I help him if I couldn't even help myself? A part of me wanted to slip below the water and disappear.

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