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Sugar Cookies and a Nightmare

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

 

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CHAPTER TWO: LITTLE GIRL FROZEN IN TIME

Krissie, at six weeks you began eating more, allowing greater time spans between feedings. We all began to sleep better and you thrived. What a relief as you gained weight and began normal development. The struggle was over and we knew you'd survive.

While you were hospitalized, I had a chance to have a more normal life with Michel. He had been used to having an active mother — someone who would take him on bike rides and to the park. While I was bedridden, we could only read stories and play quiet games.

Although we had been preparing him, Michel greeted you with excitement and curiosity, which later turned to confusion as he tried to understand this "little sister" business. He'd bring his favorite toys for you to play with, but like most preemies, you slept all the time. Soon bored, Michel suggested we take you back to the hospital. As a toddler, he had more important things to do.

That seems so long ago now. Who would have guessed what would become of our little family? Certainly not me. I guess I naively thought you'd be happy and thriving forever. The laughter and joy in our seven short years together were replaced by the most intense sorrow I could ever have imagined possible.

I miss everything about you, Krissie. I miss it all. I miss holding you. I miss our fun. I miss the way you embraced life. Absolutely everything. You grew into such a live wire — the little girl who preferred to skip, not walk, causing my arm to bounce up and down when I held your hand. I miss that too. I miss your world of make-believe, a world I loved while observing you from across the room without your knowing. You were fun to watch, with your many little suitcases filled to the brim with treasures of brightly colored scarves, rhinestone jewels, and makeup passed down from your aunties, grandmother, and me. You would drag them everywhere, even if it was a quick trip with me to the grocery store. Do you remember this? You never traveled lightly.

Friends called you "little Isadora" after the great dancer Isadora Duncan, because you amused yourself and us by draping your body from head to toe in layers of scarves before twirling and dancing around the living room. When I close my eyes, I smile — seeing these images of you that are as fresh as when they happened. You were so hilarious, but we didn't dare laugh, because this was serious business. Silk scarves to you were never considered an accessory but rather a necessity — your favorite item of clothing.

What a mistake I made when, for your first day of school, I told you to wear anything you wanted because this was a special day. That morning when I walked into the living room and found you covered in scarves as you so often were, I said, "Krissie, you need to hurry and get dressed or you'll be late for school." You emphatically told me, "Mommy, I am ready. These are my prettiest scarves!" Today I think this is funny, but at the time you were crushed when I sent you to your room to change into a favorite dress instead.

Playful memories of you and Michel are mixed with the sadness of my marriage to your father ending. You were only two, and Michel was less than four. We would always be at a long distance from your dad, making frequent visits impossible. Your daddy was a central part of your world, and he and I tried our best to bridge the miles through phone calls, tapes, and letters. This helped, but you always missed him.

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