(Posted on Facebook 10/18/15)
It’s ten p.m. Katie Eve. Soon, far sooner than I’d like, be it eleven or three a.m., I’ll close my eyes only to wake and find it’s Katie’s birthday and she’s not here – will never be here again. There are no carefully selected gifts, no friends coming, no cake, candles or ice cream. Just the ever present void her enthusiasm and contagious smile left behind.
Eighteen, she should be turning eighteen tomorrow., October 19th. And just that easily her life is erased. Oh, not in our hearts and minds, but I can guarantee you that the majority of people (friends and family – who can keep track of all those dates?) have no idea tomorrow is Katie’s birthday and will only be made aware by Facebook notification.
Before her death, celebrating her birthday was primarily a family affair. It didn’t matter to me if anyone else was aware of, or celebrated her birthday. But that has changed as well, because the fact that no one outside our family misses her screams that her life on earth had no worth. Lack of recognition, lack of appreciation, lack of awareness equates to lack of value – and that is one thing this broken mother simply can’t swallow. My throat tightens and chest heaves as I attempt to contain the sobs as tears roll down my face before I wipe them away. My heart is choking on the sorrow.
I didn’t fully comprehend how much life is defined by relationships. We are so distracted by jobs, and things and responsibilities that even the most valuable of relationships compete for our attention. In a world where the squeaky wheel gets greased, there is always a squeaky wheel demanding attention. In fact, David just stopped at the foot of my bed where I was reclining as I keyed this and said, “Will you cut my hair?”
“Sure”, I respond.
Minutes later from the kitchen I hear, “OK, I’m ready.”
And I’m off, grease can in hand.