As I was walking from my car to work this morning, I couldn’t help but notice a hummingbird hovering over a flower and the other birds singing happily. I walked by a man who nodded his head and smiled at me before continuing the gardening in his front yard. When I arrived at the entrance to my work, I watched little kids play on a play structure for a while, and I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful those little tiny people are. I looked around and saw the beauty of San Francisco all around me, and I smiled.
There was a time, not long ago, when I couldn’t even imagine finding the beauty in anything.
On December 7th, 2010, I watched as my daughter Bella took her last breath. I felt the exact moment when her heartbeat faded away completely. She was only thirteen months.
The first year without Bella was hard. I went back to school and work, and I tried my hardest to be strong. I cried when no one was looking. I talked about her all the time. I visited her grave site daily, sometimes for hours at a time. I tried blogging. I made shadow boxes of her belongings. I was aimlessly going through the motions, trying to find my way, searching for the reasoning behind it all.
January 22nd, 2011:
Every single day gets just a little bit harder. The unbearable pain that I was so afraid of has settled in at the pit of my stomach and doesn’t seem to have any plans of leaving. There is the emptiness in my heart that I never knew was even there. It’s amazing how such a tiny little person made me feel so complete. Every morning when I wake up, I hope to turn around and find her there. I dreamt that I was holding her. That she was dressed in the last outfit I put her in. Her body was still. In my dream I knew she was gone, but I kept holding on. I woke up from that dream, hoping that it was only a nightmare. Hoping that I’d turn around and Bella would be right there, sleeping peacefully. It was then that I realized that I’d never really wake up from that nightmare; for this nightmare is my new reality. It’s a struggle to convince myself that each day is worth living. It’s exhausting to smile and pretend that everything is going to be okay. It’s tiring to hear people say that they are amazed at how well I’m taking things; as if they know exactly what I feel. They have no idea of the battle I fight every day. They have no idea what the agony feels like; the emptiness that I feel every single moment of every single day.
The second year has been just as hard as the first, but different. The pain is still here, and I think it always will be. I didn’t notice when the pain became a familiar part of me. I didn’t notice when I stopped carrying a pile of pictures with me everywhere I went, or when I stopped pulling her clothes out of the drawers to find that familiar scent of her. Somewhere along these past twenty-one months, something changed without me realizing. I still have my one way arguments with God. I ask why he took her. Sometimes the last thing I want to hear is that God has a better plan, and yet at other times I find myself thanking Him over and over for my miracle named Bella.
I can’t say that I’m ready to fully accept what has happened, but I can say that I’m working on it. I’m convinced that God must love me if He trusted me with such a beautiful and remarkable human being. I’ve thought about what life might have been like without her, and I’m so grateful that a life without Bella doesn’t exist. She was here. She continues to be here, in my heart and in the hearts of those that loved her. Bella had a purpose beyond what I’ll ever understand.
Bio: Bella’s mother writes at http://auroraflores88.