I miss Katherine.
I’ve said it.
I miss her laugh.
I miss her eyes.
I miss her smile.
I miss her voice.
I miss the way she talked 100 miles an hour when she was excited about something.
I miss the way she moved.
I miss the way she helped me.
In Target the other day, I thought I saw her.
My peripheral vision glimpsed a tall girl with long blonde hair striding toward me. “Oh, here comes Katherine,” my inner reflexes registered for a milli-second.
It made my heart race.
Then a swift sadness.
I miss that girl.
This is not an entirely new phenomenon.
When Katherine was a toddler, I missed Baby Katherine.
I missed her baby smell.
I missed her funny Mohawk hair.
I missed her tininess.
I missed nursing her.
I missed sleeping with her.
When Katherine was 7 or 8, I missed Toddler Katherine.
I missed her voice.
I missed the funny things she said.
I missed her little dimpled hands holding mine.
I missed seeing her see things for the first time.
I missed the conversations we had at bedtime. (Age 2 1/2: “Mommy, why is there meanness in the world?”)
I missed snuggle time.
I still do.
When Katherine was 17, I missed Awkward Preteen Katherine.
I missed her dorkiness.
I missed the way she thought I was The Coolest Mom.
I missed the way she could still play.
I missed the way she told me everything.
I still do.
I miss all my little girls.
I miss the way they fought and kissed and made up.
I miss the way they sang silly made-up songs.
I miss the way they covered me in kisses..
I miss the way they got into bed together and giggled. (Wait…they still do that.)
I can still smell the sunshine in Amie’s hair.
I can feel Baby Grace’s long legs wrapped around my middle.
I can see the look in Katherine’s blue eyes, as big as her face, as she asked me endless questions.
I feel a sense of loss that those little girls are gone.
…As I feel a sense of loss for the Katherine who left us one sunny day in April in the year 2008.
I miss her.
There is an innate tristesse in the harsh reality that kittens become cats
and toddlers morph into teenagers
and teenagers turn into old ladies like me.
Impermanence is sad.
I think it’s okay to be sad sometimes.
For a time.
Old ladies turn into angels one day.
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is…” (I John 3:2)
“I'm gonna miss you
I'm gonna miss you
When you're gone
She says, I love you
I'm gonna miss you
And your songs
And I said, please
Don't talk about the end
Don't talk about how
Every living thing goes away…”
Jon Foreman, from Learning How to Die
*I hope you understand my heart in this. It was not meant to be maudlin or whiny. Just an admission that there has been loss; that change and loss are inevitable parts of life; and that it is sometimes good to acknowledge this fact in order to appreciate our times of joy more fully. Although there are things I miss about the pre-AVM Katherine, the After-Katherine has qualities and depths that would not have been possible before. God is not finished with her yet. The gifts she is receiving through her losses are greater than gold. I believe that the heart of God is such than when He takes something away, He replaces it with something even better. But the "taking away" part is still hard. Very, very, very hard.