All of my life my mind has wondered. I think most of us do this at least some (maybe I do it more than others). When I am about to meet someone knew, go to a party, present to a group, etc I imagine the event and the dialog that goes with it. I will often imagine full conversations in my head, sometimes out loud (my husband has caught me talking to myself more times than I can count). When I was pregnant with Casey I imagined how conversations would go when I went into labor, telling our friends and family about our beautiful baby, I imagined much more than just conversations. While I was pregnant I imagined the rest of my life. All of the firsts: first word, first step, first day or school, first crush, etc.
It was clear right away that life as I had spent imaging it for those 36 weeks was not going to be anything like I had planned. It was hard to grieve the life that I had imagined, but I did. Eventually I embraced the live that I was given. I learned so much from Casey. She taught me what really matters in life, and about real true love. Every day that I was able to be her mother was gift, and I am so thankful for the nearly 10 years that I had with her.
It’s been over 6 months since Casey passed away. I have found that my mind still wonders, and I still imagine full conversations, but the dialog now is so different. I now imagine conversations that never crossed my mind before.
There is the conversation with an old friend that I run into. I have not seen them since school and they have no idea about Casey and the shattered heart I now carry. When they ask “How have you been?” or “Do you have any kids now?” I imagine how I respond to that. Do I tell them about how I had the BEST kid and how lucky I was to be her mom? Do I tell them about the amazing things she did in her short life and the number of people she continues to inspire? Or, do I tell them about the challenges she faced (and often over came) and the emptiness I am left with in her absence? Or do I simply say, “I’m doing good. Yes, I have a daughter. How about you?” I don’t want pity, and I hate the “oh, I’m so sorry” face that comes with telling someone that your child passed away. I do want to tell the entire world about my kid, the BEST kid, and how amazing she was every single day. How do I tell her story, and not get “the face”?
I play out the conversation with strangers as well. How do I respond if a stranger asks if I have any kids? Do I say yes, do I say I did, do I say no, not anymore? How do I tell share Casey’s strength and story with the world, without becoming the saddest conversation that person has had all day? How do I get people to see her light, without seeing my darkness? I play the conversations out in my head, and no matter how many different ways I played it, I can’t seem to avoid “the face”. Time is never an issue in my imagination. In my imagination I am able to get the face and then recover by telling them all about how amazing she was and how she continues to inspire people every day.
I know I am still new at this. I hope that in time I am able to find the best way to share her story with the world and for them to see the amazing little girl she was- not just my broken heart. I’ll figure it out, and I am sure she is helping. If you see me and ask about her, please stick around and hear the whole story. I promise, it’s worth it.