On My Daughter’s Birthday

She would’ve been five at 9:01 this morning.

It’s sort of funny how we feel disenfranchised upon loss, as though we have been stolen from. Whenever I look back on my life, it comes in chunks or waves. It comes as so many of Sylvia Plath’s figs. It seems I have lived a multitude of lives without earning the right to any of them. Each has been a spectacular and surprising gift. Upon my daughter’s death, I became even more assured and aware of this gift.

I have been the rebellious child, the naive young wife, the poverty-stricken single mother, the lost divorcé, the woman burying her daughter, and now the comparatively wealthy and undeserving middle-class American mail-carrying Christian. So many people in my life have only gotten one or two of those things, and here I stand surrounded by experiences that have been lovingly placed to guide me home. There has been so much tragedy in the name of touching my life. I can’t help but wonder how many other lives are being touched today in this moment of suffering for myself and my beautiful family.

Today, I remember the 8 months, 5 days and 15 minutes that were my life as a mother, and I give praise and gratitude to our heavenly father, who knows just what it means to watch a child die and has bonded us in a union unique to only parents of lost children. Amen.

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