Forty years ago I gave birth to a daughter who died less than six months later of leukemia. I don’t think about her very often anymore, but sometimes I wonder what she would be like if she lived. I don’t believe her life and death were part of any grand plan, but I sometimes still feel sorrow about the waste of a young life.
There are three positive things I remember about the occasion and they all were about family. My father spoke beautifully at her funeral, and in a way that meant something to me. He spoke of the waste of the death of a baby, and that a baby’s purpose was to love and be loved. My daughter fulfilled that purpose.
The second was the general support my husband and I received from our families. We felt that they cared.
The third was almost a trivial incident that lasted just seconds. About a month after her death, my son who was not yet two saw me crying. He offered me his bottle.
Some kinds of sorrow are never completely erased, but there were good memories amongst the sad ones.