The further away I get from February 25, 2013, the harder it is to hold onto her. You would think every inch of her was burned into my memory. Isn't it part of a mother's biology to know her child backwards and forwards with crystal clear clarity? I am trying so hard to picture her face, not the face in her photos, her real face. The face I stared at through my tears. The soft, white face. The slightly slack mouth. The eternally closed eyes. I want to hold her image in my brain, but it is grainy and slippery. It falls through the holes in my memory, and I can't grasp it. Every day that pulls me farther away from that terrible Monday creates another thin layer of fuzziness over her.
I am forgetting her. I am forgetting the heaviness of her in my arms. I feel it now only slightly, when it used to weigh me down like rocks. I am forgetting her face and her tiny hand. I see them in her pictures, but those pictures aren't her. Those photos are wonderful, but they don't capture the true beauty of my little girl, and I can no longer fully remember it. I can no longer fully remember my own child, and it feels like I am losing her all over again.
Her sister has taken over my life, and I am immersed in changing diapers and cutting fruit into bite-sized pieces, in singing songs and reading board books over and over and over. I can remember all of the words to "Giraffes Don't Dance" but not all the details of my firstborn.
How did this happen? How has my brain somehow let her slip away?
I have looked at her pictures so many times, those are the images I see when I close my eyes. The black and white baby with her hand over her left eye. The side pose with the bear and the bracelet. The curled up child in the long sleeved gown. Those are the pictures my brain remembers, but I can't see her. The real Kenley in my arms. The real face I looked down on. The real hand I held. The real head covered in black hair. Those images keep pulling farther and farther away. I try so hard to keep them with me, but they won't stay. They are leaving me. Silently slipping out the back door of my mind.
How long will it be before she is gone completely? Before all I know of her is the four pictures that aren't really her? Before I can no longer feel her in my arms? That day is coming. I only had two hours with her. Thirty six weeks and then two hours. It's not enough time to burn enough memory. It's not enough time to make her stay with me. I reach out for her with desperate fingers, but I can't take hold.
I'm losing her. I'm losing her. I'm losing her.
And my heart is breaking all over again.