Today… this day, one year in the past… It was a scary, scary day and I cried so many tears. But because I was brave enough to go forward with Rio’s surgery, instead of the 6 weeks to 2 months the oncologist said I’d be lucky to get, I got 11 months, 1 week and 5 days. Those days were filled with ups and downs, good times and bad, but we made the most of them. We shared smiles and tears, sometimes both at the same time. We fell, but then picked ourselves up and kept going.
In the last year of Rio’s life, I think we squeezed in more adventures and more living than we did in the first 11. We took more photos. We shared more ice cream and hamburgers. We went to the beach. We snuggled on the couch. I learned not to take even a brief moment for granted. You’ve got time for one more ear skritchy, one more nose smooch, one more belly rub and one more “I love you.” Take advantage of that time, because life is capricious and there are no guarantees.
To celebrate her life, her spirit and her memory, I made a video scrapbook of my girl. I hope it makes you smile as much as she did me!
Hoppy Ampuversary, Rio
I went to “Rio’s beach” this afternoon on my way home from a job. It was the beach where we had her photoshoot at the beginning of December, and it was the beach where we would occasionally sneak off to for a little “Rio and me” time. We’d sit in the sand and watch the birds and sniff the air. Today was my first visit to the beach without Rio, and naturally I was feeling a little sad and I was really missing her, so I asked her to send me a sign. I told her I needed to see her and I needed her to show me she was still here.
The tide was going out and the beach stretched out further into the water than normal. I kept walking out towards the water, and everything on the beach was the usual beach stuff. Clam shells, oyster shells, seagulls, driftwood, ravens, seaweed… Nothing out of the ordinary at all. I told her I needed to see something that wasn’t supposed to be there, something completely out of the ordinary. I got to the water’s edge and stood there, the seagulls and ravens arguing over the surf, and still everything was completely normal…. I was starting to get sad because the “sign” wasn’t materializing and I realized I was probably just being silly, so I decided it was probably time to go home. I turned back towards my car — and instead of shells, there, in the sand were ….. golf balls…. not one, not two, more than a dozen of them, more than would fit into two of my jacket pockets… I just started laughing. My Rio always did have a crazy sense of humor….
A footnote: I counted the golf balls when I got them home — 20 white ones and 1 yellow… I wonder what she means by that!!!
Hahaha! Gotcha, Mom!
It’s been a week since we said good-bye to our girl. And there hasn’t been a moment that I don’t miss her.
I’ve been without her for longer periods of time, but never here, never in this house. She’s always been here, a permanent fixture as much as the the walls and windows. She was here for the building of this house, the moving in and furnishing of the rooms. (She even christened the sub-floors in a couple of spots before she knew better.) Her presence is everywhere… But she’s not in all of the usual places. She’s not lying on one of the beds that we’d strategically placed for her to lay on. She doesn’t pop her little face around the corner of the kitchen cabinets with an expectant look on her face whenever I’m in there. She’s not waiting for me outside the bathroom door because it’s right next to the “magic cupboard,” and since she’s here she might as well have a cookie. She doesn’t follow me up and down the stairs 9 times in a row because she might miss out on what momma is doing. She doesn’t curl into the bend of my knees to keep herself warm at night.
It seems the only solution to my eyes’ constant search for her is to get out of the house, leave, go anywhere but here. And yet, in the car I still search the rearview mirror for a glimpse of her face, and my heart hurts as I pass the places that she loved: the park, the beach, the ice cream store…
But even with the current pain and grief, I know that it won’t always feel this bad. I am searching my memories, even now, for a smile that she gave me. She left me with so many smiles. I just have to remember to look for them.