I realized that though I haven't utilized this forum, I have written a couple of things pertaining to the loss of Bea which would be appropriate to share.... this is one of them, written in May, around 5 months after I lost her.
In my searching for her, I have found numerous other things that I thought were gone forever.
It’s funny how I keep repeating to people that I’ve “lost” my child. As if I’ve misplaced her- maybe she’s under the bed, or between the sofa cushions. You would think after 5 months I would have found her. Maybe their looks of pity aren’t what I think- maybe they are due to the fact that my search is taking so long.
I have a habit of losing things; keys, books, my wallet. Sometimes I can almost fool myself into thinking she has just been misplaced, and if only I look hard enough, I will eventually find her. She is elusive, just around every corner, this baby of mine. I see her face in everyone I meet.
We got an advertisement from a college yesterday in the mail. There is a girl holding books on the front of the brochure. She looks out from the photograph, and in her deep eyes, I see my daughter looking back at me. I can’t bear to throw the advertisement away- I am irrationally convinced that God has allowed me this little glimpse of my lost child.
It doesn’t matter that this girl cannot possibly be my daughter- she is someone else’s daughter. Someone else who doesn’t lose things quite so easily. I cannot throw the advertisement out- so it sits on my dresser, where I occasionally note its presence. This girl is not lost- she knows where she’s going with her too honest eyes and slightly crooked face.
My lost child is always just beyond my grasp. I wonder if there is something I can be doing to make finding her easier. Is there some book I can read, or a show I can watch? Maybe there are instructions somewhere that will lead me straight to her. I would like a map, if anyone has got one. I want to find myself laughing, because she has been right under my nose all this time.
I don’t believe in the fortune-tellers and charlatans who promise to connect me to her- if she was so easily found wouldn’t she come to me directly? I am her mother. They are liars and thieves, who prey on the desperation of people who have lost all types of things- lovers, mothers, animals…
Sometimes, I wonder if she is not lost at all- but merely hiding from me. At those times, I wish so desperately that she would come out. I don’t think that this game is very fun at all- and I am hoping she is not hiding to avoid me. I call her name and she doesn’t answer. Is she too far away to hear?
In my searching for her, I have found numerous other things which I believed were gone forever. Thoughts and dreams and ambitions which I let go of long ago have come back. I sit with all of these unneeded objects in front of me and wonder. These are things I really don’t need right now -- I am much too busy looking for my lost daughter. They distract me and muddy up the water which makes up my grief. Who can be ambitious when their child is lost?
While I spend my time seemingly entrenched in the world, with a smile on my face, I am avidly looking for her. Sometimes, in a crowd, I can catch a glimpse of her smile, or one of her small hands will be reaching over the edge of a baby carriage. By the time I catch up though, she is always gone, and I feel like I’ve lost her all over again. I lose my breath running to get there in time; these are the moments when I cannot speak.
Loss is a profoundly solitary idea- even in a group of people; ultimately one person is responsible for the loss of something. There is one moment that the object in question is accounted for, and the next moment, it is gone. I can stand in a room full of people, and I am the only one who knows that something is missing. I am the only one frantically looking for her. And she is not anywhere that I normally look for my lost belongings, which only makes things more difficult.
I have looked everywhere that I would assume she would be. I have looked at playgrounds, and ice cream stands. I have looked for her in school yards, and in coffee shops. Sometimes I have even peeked into the corners of my own house, hoping against hope that she has made a quiet corner her home.
She is never there.
My daughter must not be lost, after all. Neither do I believe that has she been taken, which would seem to be the only other option. I know that my daughter is here, buried deep inside the cool earth of my memory.
She is laughter and the color yellow in my mind. I carry her around more tangibly than I do my shoes, or my coat. She is with me when I sleep, and when I wake. She walks beside me when I don’t think I can walk any further. She is the dark haired girl from a photograph that I cannot feel. The female child I longed for.
She has already lived an entire lifetime in my imagination. The span of her days is an eternity. Behind my closed eyes, I can see her blowing out birthday candles. I see her wearing a wedding dress. I see her naming her own child.
While I go on searching in dark corners and the places where lost girls generally go, she lives her life as surely as if she were standing before me. When I close my eyes, I hear her speaking, and feel her hands in mine.
Sometimes I can even see her smile.