Today is my Balance Day. That phrase is one I made up to describe the day where the amount of time since loss is equal to the amount of time with life. For one, brief moment, that time balances precariously on the scale. A shaky evenness before starting to tip the other way.
Today marks eight months. She's been gone the same amount of time she was alive. It's hard to believe that after today, I will forever be without her longer than I was with her. And it's so unfair. I should have an 8 month old. I should be watching her crawl around on the floor and shove things in her mouth. I should be feeding her soft foods. She should be at my mother's new condo (which they never bought), covered in smooshed up banana, squealing in delight - giving my mom a wonderful story to tell me when I come to pick her up after work. But she's not. When I leave work this afternoon, I will go home to my husband, my dog, and an empty nursery.
After today, time will continue to creep and crawl away from her. As it always has. But for some reason, today makes it seem even more final than it already is. I only had her for 8 months. I only felt her move for 5. It's not enough time! The lifetime ahead of and behind me is vast and open. Sprawling over decades. It seems obscene that she only took up a tiny sliver of it. A fraction of moments in a ocean of time. How is it possible that the most important and wonderful thing I have ever done in my life has such an inconsequential space on my timeline? I hate that.
I know I will always feel cheated. I will always wonder and wish. I will always want more. There is no closure with this. No neatly wrapped packages. No loose ends tied in sweet, little bows. This will always be a jumbled, messy knot that spirals around me. The only thing I can do is learn to walk in a tangle - as gracefully as possible.
The last 8 months have taught me more than I ever wanted to know about grief and death and the human spirit. They have taught me that life is never what you expect it to be, and is often instead what you'd give anything to change. They have taught me that although death is a force to be reckoned with, so is love - and love is the only thing that holds any of us together at any given time. They have taught me that strength is something that is within everyone, and it is only when we are called to use it do we realize just how much of it we truly have. I have learned how to recognize the difference between valid fear and triggered fear, and how to show both of them who's really in charge here. I have learned that my heart is an infinite cavern, capable of storing an endless amount of not only sorrow and despair, but hope and joy and love. I have learned that being a mother is not limited to wiping noses and changing diapers. Being a mother is placing a piece of yourself inside the soul of another human being. Being a mother is being vulnerable in order to be strong. It is holding your head up high in a world that doesn't always understand the path you are walking. Being a mother is loving your child with every fiber of your being, even when your child isn't here with you.
On this, my Balance Day, I am once again "Saying it out loud." My beautiful Kenley is gone. And as I live my life, I will continue to get farther and farther away from the moments I had with her. But nothing makes those moments any less special, any less wonderful, or any less miraculous. Not guilt. Not fear. Not pain. Not death. I am a mother. She IS my daughter. And I am forever changed.
Side note: I have no idea who drew this picture. I found it on an internet adventure. But, I felt it captured Balance Day pretty well.