My life has taken on a certain numerology. I miss the four of us, laughing before bed. I miss the three of us, my kids and me, leaving the front gate hand-in-hand or with the double stroller. I miss Susanna and me, a twosome, together at the playground when she would choose my company over other kids. I also miss my one self, as a whole person who experiences an adequate amount of positive emotion. This is still a black and white fraction of an existence I live.
Since the attack on the World Trade Center, a stone’s throw across the river from my Brooklyn home at the time, I tend to catch 9:11 on digital clocks when I look at them. This used to disturb me a bit. More recently, since I have lived in two worlds, I see it as an angelic connection. I have often read that seeing 1:11 is a sign of wholeness and angelic presence. The numbers 911 together are said to signify that I am a light worker of some kind. I mention this because I am still determined to heal until I am of more use to others again. I will not spend all the rest of my days exclusively weeping, paying bills and doing dishes. That would be okay in the bigger picture if necessary but I have my sights set on better things.
I am not even much of a numbers person but I am a person who watches out for visual communication with the other side. Before I lost my daughter, I listened to people tell me they saw loved ones in butterflies or cardinals and graciously responded as I judged this as sentimental and trite. Now that I have taken a leap into mysticism (preempted by being pushed off of a cliff by a brazen fate) I know this to be a sacred form of talk which sustains me and others who have broken hearts.
This is now April. The warmth of the sun and colors of the grass are returning beneath a few tiresome cold fronts. Trepidation. We are creatures of the earth and its cycles, and I fear the spring and the waves of memory which come with it. This month two years will have gone by since she had to leave. Two years of getting out of bed and surviving. I must have a remaining purpose if I have made it this far.
Last weekend I wanted to stay under the covers and abstain from my life. By late Saturday morning I was doing so in my bed but was joined by the eight year old boy who needs me all the time, because he is a child and I am his mother. I could not escape and ended up crying and sobbing because this was the only alternative in the moment. I assured him, like always, that I would be okay and that my tears were not his fault nor his responsibility, but he gives his soul to trying to comfort me. I felt his fingers tracing something on each of my wet cheeks. He told me what I knew, that he was drawing the letter “S”. My son did this beautiful thing for me, and clear as a bell my daughter did this for me too. They are two children but also one. They are apart but together.
I thought of my son in the limousine as we pulled away from the cemetery two years ago. I despise thinking of that. I despise that such a word as “cemetery” exists in a sentence about my children. Yet I was reminded of how my six year old, having just watched his sister buried, drew an “S” on the foggy window. I knew then that he would always carry her and make a mark for her in this world. Relationships like theirs span dimensions and lifetimes, carved deeper than in stone.
When you are five and have just learned to write your name, this is big power. This is a mark in society. Just like the ancient cave people who made hand prints, the first historical art. I am here. I am on earth. A stopover on eternity, but remarkable itself. I know Susanna has been sending me “S” symbols all week. I see them on the ground and on my computer screen, when I happen to look up or down and catch a glimpse. A broken rubber band. Paint on the sidewalk. She wants me to know she is still here. And I want the world to know she is my daughter, Susanna, who was with me for five years and three months, and who I still love very much.