Many people contacted me after Elena died to talk about miscarriages and children who had died before being born. Others told us of children born with conditions that would shorten their lives.
To them, their loss was the same as ours.
Elena died just before her seventh birthday. I have wonderful memories of those years. Some of those memories have stuck and some have faded just as they would if she was still here with us.
I suppose, if Elena were alive we would see flashes of the girl she once was in her eyes, in her actions, and in her mannerisms.
But that’s the Elena we lost – the future Elena.
We don’t have the Elena who would have been.
It sounds simplistic – it’s not – what we lost was the future.
Those parents of kids who died as infants lost a future.
People say to me, “it’s not the same, you lost a six year old.”
True. But we lost what that six year old would become. We lost her as a teenager. We lost her as a high school senior this year. We lost her going off to college.
I can still hear Kim’s voice crying after Elena’s death, that Elena hadn’t lived long enough to get her heart broken.
We lost a future. It’s hard to imagine that, in a way, since nearly eleven years of that future is past.
Those parents of kids who lost their kids before they became much of a memory also lost a future.
Is their loss different than ours?
Sure. All losses are different. But maybe not in ways that matter to them.
Some of the kids had names already.
Some of the kids had rooms that were decorated.
Their parents had imagined their lives as parents.
Now they had to imagine a different future.
Just like us.
Then Kim was killed.
I continue to get stronger and try to do more of what needs to be done. This week I’ve been trying to help organize a conference and I reached out to some people who would be great speakers.
One wrote me back that this is his first Christmas without his wife.
A year ago he was working to save his marriage.
It didn’t work.
This is his first Christmas since the divorce. She’s not dead, but she’s gone. He’s lost a future he counted on. His Christmases will never be the same. His future has been altered.
Is his loss different than mine?
Sure. All losses are different. But maybe not in ways that matter to him.
The future has been altered.
Christmas will never be the same.