Seeing Lucy

I see her posing in photos with her new baby sister. I’m not sure whether she would smile fondly or exhibit a pout, a scowl.
Would she experience difficulty sharing her parents and big brother? Would she resent her dethroning as the youngest, the only girl?
Would she lavish attention on her sister, as her brother does?
I will never know. Instead of celebrating her sister’s birth almost two weeks ago and turning two and a half yesterday, Lucy has been dead for 15 months. She has now officially been gone as long as she lived.
Scarlett’s presence points up Lucy’s absence, yet renders her more visible to me. Despite my best efforts, my imagination failed to produce an accurate picture of Lucy during these months since her death. Remembering Max at the ages of 1 and 2 failed to revive Lucy in my mind. My inability to imagine her growth frustrated and saddened me.
But now I see her. I even hear what her voice would sound like saying Scarlett’s name. I see her spinning in the living room, asking for snacks, taking naps. I see her in the space next to Max and Scarlett in photographs. I see her starting school with Max in a few weeks, potty-training, sleeping in a big girl bed.
She is taller with longer hair. Maybe she has a scar on her chest from a successful heart transplant. (I can never decide whether she is still sick in this alternate reality.)
Prior to Scarlett’s birth, the idea of part of Lucy coming back with her occurred to me. I thought it would be through physical resemblance between the two. They do share some facial similarities, but not obvious ones. Instead, Scarlett set Lucy free in my mind. Acquiring the ability to picture how my eldest daughter might look today is an unexpected and curious gift.
Grief continues to take unexpected turns. It really is a continuous journey. The grief grows, changes, and matures as Lucy would have given the chance.

1 Comment

  1. August 12, 2014 at 2:10 pm


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