Two days ago Val told me, soon after waking up, that she cried the night before, because she thought of Ferdinand, missed him, and felt sad.
She talked as if we lived with him for years, went to many places together. As if we once hugged and linked arms and huddled together on the couch to watch a scary movie.
I sighed. We hugged, and I told her that I missed him too, extremely much.
And she continued to be sad. And cried several times again, after.
Today she went to a birthday party of a friend. It was at a kids’ hair salon, where they get their hair braided, applied make-up on themselves (though they all kept the make-up to their faces only), dressed up, and towards the end, got to walk down the “runway” while the party hostess read from a questionnaire that they had filled out prior. They were to tell everyone if they had a nickname, and the movie that they were going to be in- who will be in the movie, where will the movie be set, and what will the movie be about? And finally, what their favorite movie was.
Many of the girls’ favorite movie was “Hannah Montana”. And at the end of the runway they got into a striking post to get their photo taken.
Val was the fifth to come down the runway. I knew she had so much fun, her face was made up in such a lovely manner, and she had her braids tied with a blue ribbon (she was wearing a red dress, and I knew she chose blue because blue is my favorite color). She struck a most lavishly dramatic pose in the end, reminiscent of that famous one John Tra.volta did in “Grease”, one arm raised high.
— and her movie will star both she and her mom. The setting will be in a hospital, and the movie will be about her brother.
Do I have to tell you her answers were the oddest amongst all?
What brother? There I was sitting on the couch, holding Lyra, and Sophia next to me. Other moms looked to me and smiled politely.
(Everyone else wanted the movie to be about them, or shopping, or the beach…)
After the runway business they went back to the party room to get out of all the boas and sparkly eye-glasses and have cake. Then we left and went home.
At home, she asked if I heard what the hostess read? I nodded, and waited.
She looked at me and said, “You know why, right? I am still missing Ferdinand.”
I pulled her into my arms and we hugged for a long time while tears came freely. Then she told me earlier in the day, during the break of her choir rehearsal, she also cried because she was missing Ferdinand terribly. Her choir teacher saw her and so she explained why, and the teacher told her where to get the tissues.
I felt terrible. I was horribly sorry for her sadness. I almost said, “This is going to be for life.” And that is what kills me.
I felt apologetic, I wanted to say sorry to her, for having to cause this taint in her childhood memory, for her to have to miss her brother, whom she did not get to spend time with, whom she barely knew. I wanted to apologize a million times to her, because she cannot bail out of this.
But, apologetic is too small a word here. I felt I had done her grave wrong, even though I did not have a hand in the execution of what befell us. I felt sad, and weak. I did not think I will have the strength to do this over and over again, to have to hold that memory once again, to feel sorry that my daughters have to shoulder the burden of loss with me. The road ahead seems so long, and I do not wish to plod on.
Today I am weak, maybe tomorrow will be better.