I remember the first time we attempted to go to the cemetery after she died. It was our first appointment for grief counseling and we were on our way home on the thruway and Vinnie asked me if we should stop. “Our daughter is right over there”. This made me feel some type of way. “OUR DAUGHTER”. I was so used to hearing “our son” or “our boys”. To actually hear him say “our daughter” out loud pierced my heart in a way I’ve never felt before. I was happy that we have a daughter together but I was so sad that our daughter was gone. His only biological daughter at that. We both weren’t sure how we felt about it. It was dark and cold and raining. We pulled in the gates and she isn’t far from there. Its basically a quick right and park and she is right up a small hill and a little tree keeps her company. We pulled over. Immediate panic washed over my whole body. I felt numb and dizzy and my chest was tight. I wanted to get out so bad but I couldn’t. I could not bring myself to get out of the van. I wasn’t ready to see the freshly piled dirt of her freshly packed grave. We left. We both weren’t ready I don’t think. I remember being so mad at myself. We are her parents. It is our duty to be there for our children. She is no different. We can’t just be there for them when everything is nice and clean and somewhat easy. We have to be there when things are messy and dirty and painful and less appealing. Why couldn’t I be there for her?
Across from the cemetery is a Tim Hortons. After we left we stopped there so I could get some tea. I looked over at the cemetery and remembered that the last time I was at that specific location it was Christmas day and she was in the back seat. What was once just a cemetery now took on a whole new meaning. Our daughter was right there. A stones throw away. Yet she wasn’t.
Fast forward a couple weeks later. January 23rd to be exact. She would have been a whole two months old. Instead of waking up in the morning to tell her “look how big you’ve grown my little big 2 month old” and posting the picture to my social media I decided I wanted to go visit her grave. I used to knock my husband for keeping a roll of paper towels in the car… At this particular time I was never so thankful for a roll of paper towels in my entire life as I sat in my van, or as I call her, my mini bus, and cried my entire heart and soul out. I brought her some pretty purple tulips (mommy’s favorite flower) and sat them in her spot since the dirt had some time to settle and it wasn’t topped off just yet. I remember kneeling down and touching the dirt. Haa… Here’s where things get a little…odd….and maybe a little…morbid I guess..to the normal person. As I’m kneeling there, it took everything in me not to start digging at the ground to dig her up. Sick isn’t it? I really had to reason with myself. “Deirdre I’m sure this is breaking some kind of law.” ” Deirdre today is not a good day to get arrested”. To some people its just a shell of a person. What her soul looked like. But to me. To us parents, who want nothing more than to do what we were naturally supposed to do, that’s our baby. That’s our shell. I talked to her for a while. Sang her a song like I used to her brothers and her sister. It’s a different song depending on the child (Remmie was Simple Man, Vern was Stand By Me and Vinnie was Hello by Adele). I felt Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star was the way to go (which is why my next project is important). I looked around and thought to myself “this is what this is? This is my second home now.”. You don’t really understand how comforting a cemetery can be until you have a piece of your own heart residing there. I went and sat in the mini bus and looked around. Looked at her pictures. Watched the videos I have. I couldn’t help but to cry. It was all I could do. I wanted to give her so much. I wanted her to experience all the love she has here on this plane. I wanted to see what her life would turn out to be. I wanted to hold her and smell her. I so naively had all these hopes and dreams for her and for us as a family. In a split second it was all gone. Torn away. She was there and then….she wasn’t. She was so perfect and so healthy. Or was she? I don’t know. Ya know what also? As much as I want to know. I don’t want to know. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change anything. It won’t bring my girl back. It won’t allow me to see my children playing together and growing up together. It won’t show me how hard Little Vinnie would have made her laugh and how intensely Remington would love her and comfort her and try to take away all her little upsets. Or stop all her tears. It wont show me 20 years later her and her big sister doing all things girl together and picking out cute clothes. Or Veronica helping her get ready for prom or her first date or even her first day of kindergarten. Knowing what happened won’t give me these things so why even care to know. All it will do is instill another type of guilt and anxiety. It won’t stop our suffering. Funny how some one so small can make such a big difference and create the biggest void in your existence. I am what I am because of my children.