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Sugar Cookies and a Nightmare

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


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How this applied to Joe was just as revealing. The truth be told, when I saw parents neglecting or being impatient with their children, a secret thought would occur. Those kids aren't as loved as Kristen was! I would think. Why couldn't God have taken them and left Kristen for me, and for Michel, who loved her so completely! The more neglectful or abusive the situation, the more I would decide that these children didn't have a chance in life, so they might as well not live, while girls like Krissie were so nurtured and loved that their future was assured. It sounds bizarre, but I must also confess that even today, when I hear parents talking about children driving them crazy, I bristle. I usually catch myself thinking, "You don't know what crazy is. Crazy is not having your children here at all." At other times I might think, "I wish Krissie were here to drive me crazy." It's not that I consciously believe that my daughter deserved a place back on Earth while other children did not. It's rather that the mind keeps some kind of scorecard to save us from pain, and suddenly you're thinking of scenarios that could bring things back the way they were before a terrible change occurred.

I think I lived with this unseen but ever-emerging resentment for all those years without knowing what it was. But then came Joe, a man who had never benefited from a parent's love or teacher's encouragement and had to learn to grow on his own. As Joe sank into drug addiction, turned to crime, and grew more angry and violent, nobody thought he had a future. But now, session by session, Joe was trying hard to overcome his destructive ways and finding positive outlets for his anger. With a lot of hard work, someday he would prove to his wife that he was worthy of her love. How could I have possibly wished that Kristen had lived instead of unloved children like Joe? He made me realize that he, as much as any other child, deserved the best that society could give him. The Joes of the world do not deserve to die any more than Kristen did.

The gift I received from Joe's sharing his life with me melted the last of my bitterness over Kristen's death. Joe didn't know it, but he had become one of my greatest teachers. Thoughts about him made me realize that children die every day, and Kristen was one of them. Although she had only seven years on Earth, the love she gave to Michel and me — and to all her family — has a permanence that can never be lost.

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