‘My Daughter Passed Away 11 Years Ago. I’m Still Going Through the Stages of Grief’

Our precious first-born daughter Kara would have turned eleven this past May, but I only

Our precious first-born daughter Kara would have turned eleven this past May, but I only knew her as an infant. Imagining how she would have grown and who she would have become is somewhere I haven’t allowed myself to go very often. Perhaps picturing the spring in her step as a living and breathing tween is too painful for me to conjure.

Or maybe I have decided to simply focus on the two girls we adopted at childbirth who were born after she came and went. As a busy mom there really isn’t time for this type of daydreaming in the midst of daily life. Yet, If I allow myself, I can picture how she might look today; with big and soulful blue eyes shaped much like my fathers with the blue of his own mother. This tender vision draws me in, nudging me closer. I imagine a growing Kara with long silky dark hair and fair skin. Her appearance is a glorious combination of her ancestors who are mostly eastern European and Irish. In this rare daydream, she walks on a path made of aromatic wood chips towards a green mythic meadow. She steps lightly in a flowing white dress. This image in my mind’s eye comes and goes. One thing I know for certain is that her disappearance left an ever-present ache inside of me which surfaces more readily as I notice the seasons change.

In the reality of the present, COVID-19 is far from over. I worry about our friends and family in colder places as winter sets in. How will they manage without the reprieve of a distanced lawn chair visit or an outdoor café? While I work in my office, my kids study online and miss interacting with their friends. I meet with my women’s group each week via zoom in virtual squares. “Little boxes of love” we call them.