I spend a lot of time (probably too much time) wondering about things.
I wonder why I still get car sick at 38 years old.
I wonder why the grocery store isn’t arranged in alphabetical order.
I wonder if Lee Corso will ever acknowledge me.
But mostly, I wonder about Jackie and Maddie.
Last week was the five-year anniversary of Jackie’s passing. Some people try to make “death days” into a celebration of that person’s life, but I do that on the person’s birthday. On these awful anniversaries, I let myself wallow. I cry. I scream about how unfair it is that their lives were cut short. And I wonder what they would have accomplished if they’d only had more time.
With Jackie, I’m lucky that I don’t have too many things to wonder about. I knew her for fifteen years, long enough to know exactly what she liked and what she didn’t. I know that if she were still alive, she would LOVE Hamilton the Musical. She’d be thrilled that the San Fransisco Giants have won the World Series twice since she died (she’d also be really stoked about the Golden State Warriors’ success). I know that she’d be stunned that Grey’s Anatomy is still on the air (and I know she’s still be watching it anyway, just like me). I know that she would still be the world’s best auntie to her nieces and nephews.
But I do wonder, all the time, what her life would be like now, if she hadn’t had brain cancer, if she hadn’t died. Would she still live in San Francisco? Would she be married? Have kids? Would we be arguing over where to go to celebrate our 40th birthdays? Would she still drink greyhounds? Would she ever let me borrow her awesome clothes?
With Maddie, it’s much harder. She only got seventeen months. She never got the chance to develop likes and dislikes, try hobbies, pick out clothes, make her own friends. She never got to play a sport, or take a dance class, or finger paint. She never went to school.
There is nothing I can know about her with any certainty, and that might be one of the most painful results of her death. I have so many unanswered questions about who she would have become.
She’s been gone for almost eight and a half years. She would be so different from the baby I knew.
I miss them both so much. I wonder how different life would be if they were here.
But mostly, I wish I didn’t have to wonder.
There’s such love in that picture, with both of their eyes shining. I wish you didn’t have to wonder, too. Sending you a big hug.
I wish you didn’t have to wonder, too.
Love you all.
Jana L Frerichs says:
I wish that too! Hugs to you!
I’m sorry you have to wonder. What an adorable pair they are!
I’m so sorry.
Two such beauties!!
I’m so sorry. I lost a friend, in her 30’s as well, to cancer a few months ago. We knew it was coming for a long time, and yet every day it still feels shocking that her life is over. I have thought about things that you have said about losing Jackie and Maddie often as I have tried to process this. Your words are so eloquent, and know that I thank you for them and my heart goes out to you.
I wish you didn’t have to wonder also. Beautiful girls. ((hugs))
Sylvia DiCello says:
That was a loving remembrance of two wonderful people. What a unique way to give us perspective on what you are going through. Very well stated, thank you for your insight.
That is just about the best photo ever. I imagine they are exactly that way in Heaven. Holding each other and smiling.
They are both so, so beautiful.
I kind of feel certain that Madeline would’ve almost always been smiling.
(I also feel kind of certain Maddie would’ve been an exclamation point, exactly like her Aunt JACKIE!)
Debbie A-H says:
Love and Internet hugs to you.
Oh my heart – sending you lots of love! My cousin died when he was only a year and a half years old and August 5th was 35 years that he passed away. I think about him so much and it hurts knowing we never got to see him grow up, figure out what kind of personality he’d have, etc. It’s awful but also keeps me fully aware that it doesn’t matter how long time has passed, the loss always feels like it just happened TODAY.
What a beautifully written post. I can’t believe so much time has passed since they’ve both been gone (read: I can’t believe I’ve been following your posts/life for so long either!). Sharing in your hurt today.
Wishing so very much that you didn’t have to wonder about beautiful Jackie! and adorable Maddie. Sending you love and hugs from Austin.
I wish it for you so much, Heather. That Maddie was here. That Jackie!’s kids were playing with yours.
Unfair doesn’t even really scratch the surface.
One thing that seems clear, Maddie would have lived life with the tenacity and spunk that Jackie! did. They were both so damn tough and beautiful in the face of adversity.
I’m deeply, deeply sorry that you have to wonder.
Oh this is so heavy. I can’t imagine what you are feeling but I do know it makes me want to grab my 13 months old out of his crib and squeeze him tight. I’m so sorry you have to wonder.
I have been reading your blog for over 8 years due to your beautiful, funny, honest writing. You have kept both Jackie and Maddie’s spirit alive, so much so that it is startling to hear that so much time has passed. One thing I don’t wonder about is how much you love Maddie and Jackie and I know for sure that you keeping their spirit alive is important for others who are grieving or who will be grieving in the future. You are a shining example that greiving is not easy and often horrible, yet always worth the time we have had our loved ones in our lives.
I agree 110% with what Suzy said. I think she voices what we all feel. I wish you had shared your thoughts about how you would be with Jackie and Maddie now. I see a beautiful friend and mother who would be a great role model to both of them.
Because of you, I wonder too. And that means you aren’t doing it alone. I only hope that us from afar and near are helping buoy you when you are down. We haven’t forgotten your beloved and never will.