A Visit

Today at lunch, I made the all too familiar drive to the cemetery. I pulled in through the gated entry, turned down the long road that led to the infant section, and parked at the curve. I let out a sigh as I flipped up the collar of my jacket, and got out to walk to Harlynn’s spot. Her spot is somewhat sheltered, so even though it was roaring-windy today,  it was just a strong breeze as I stood above her stone marker. I stared and I stared. Today was one of those days – and I’ve been having so many lately – where my brain cannot comprehend how it’s possible my daughter died. She’s underground. She was full of life, growing inside of me, and in an instant, everything we hoped and dreamed for Haley’s little sister, was gone. I stood there, staring, until the chill of the wind got the better of me and I began to shiver. I told her the same thing I always tell her when I turn to leave her spot, “I love you, little girl. Every moment of every day.”  
I got back in my warm vehicle and sat to watch her spot. Lately with the temperatures, I get out to make sure her place is orderly, and then I’ll sit in my car a while and talk to her there…safe from the cold, and safe from having my words carried in the wind to anyone who might be nearby. On the radio, was a preacher giving a sermon about leaning on God through pain and suffering. As I settled back into my seat, he made the comment, “I’ve spent far too many times delivering messages at the head of tiny caskets.” I heard it, I choked on it, and I began to cry. 
How is it possible?  How is this possible?!  I have to go to the cemetery to visit my daughter. It doesn’t seem real, even now, even seven months on. It doesn’t seem real.  I began to think of all the things that would never be. I would never see her first steps. Never hear her first words. Never have her bring me random treasures that she finds in her toy box. How is this possible?
When it was time, I drove out of the cemetery, back to work. I hadn’t eaten, so I pulled in to Dairy Queen to get a hot dog while I tried to dry my eyes and pull myself together. The wind was really blowing out in the industrial open. I pulled up to retrieve my order and a lone leaf blew right in my window, looped around once, and landed squarely in my lap. “Look what I found, mommy!”
I heard it. I heard those words. I stared down at this leaf that had flown into my lap – cracked, battered, and torn. It would be something a little girl would be proud to discover. It would be something that I would say, “Oh, wow! Look at this leaf, what a great find!” as it was handed to me. It would have been.
Yet…it was.
I left it on my lap, and pulled ahead to the parking lot after retrieving my food. I turned it over my in my hand a few times, as I half-smiled. I almost couldn’t part with it, but I carefully reached and put it back out the window. It went straight up. Straight up, and disappeared. 
Call me crazy – some of you probably do – but I’m taking it as a moment I would have never had otherwise. I may never get to spend the rest of my life getting to know Harlynn or what she’d like or take interest in, or play, or sound like….but I do believe I get glimpses of those would-have-been moments now and again. I do believe today was one of those glimpses.
I miss my daughter, terribly. As blessed as I am and have been in these months surviving without her, I miss her still. Anything I can hold on to as a tangible experience with Harlynn, I’ll grasp at any opportunity.
It’s a beautiful leaf, baby girl. You did such a good job. Thank you for finding it for Mommy.

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