If she were still alive today, she’d be twelve—probably making tween jokes and liking things tween girls like.
If she were still alive today, she’d probably still love purple, and pumpkin pie, and spinning round in her wheelchair with Daddy at the sprayground. She would love the scene in Cars 2 where Mater eats a plate full of wasabi. She would giggle at the minions in Despicable Me. I just know it.
If she were still alive today, she’d be taller, with more mature features. She’d still be sitting her life away, strapped in that 5-point harness that forced her self-straightening body into its 90-degree position for 8 years.
If she were still alive today, she’d no doubt be stronger, heavier—harder to carry from bed to chair to shower, and back again. My back would be sorer. We’d be walking sideways with her down the hall by now. But that would be OK. What I wouldn’t give to lug her lanky, spastic frame down the hall again, kissing her cheeks all the way.
If she were still alive today, she’d still be stymied by the hostile, broken body that enveloped her like a stiff, ill-fitting garment that doesn’t move when and where you want it to. She’d still be experiencing moments of tears—overcome with sadness about toys and words and annoying itches that were just out of reach.
If she were still alive today, I would still call her peanut. I would still be her very imperfect daddy, taking care of her through my own frustrations and lip-biting lapses of control at her cries in the night.
If she were still alive today, her granite headstone would have been sold to someone else. Her grave plot would probably be the resting place for someone who died much older, and saw a lot more of life. A different demographic of mourners would darken the grass growing above her body. The rain and snow and sleet would be falling on someone else’s ground above.
But since she is not still alive today, I take it one day at a time, with a deeper longing for heaven, for things to come. Her destination now beckons me more than it threatens me.
I do not want to die. But half of my DNA has seen the other side, and reminds me that it’s fine to come.
I miss you, peanut.