It's been a year since I last saw your sweet smile, held your hand, smelled your hair. It's been a year since I last sang "You Are My Sunshine" as you drifted off to sleep.
I cannot believe we have survived this long without you in our lives.
This morning, we went back to the ice rink. Your grandma and I brought flowers. I put a picture of you on the glass and we taped the flowers to the boards near where you died. There was hockey practice going on -- do you remember all those cold Saturday mornings at the rink? -- and while I was leaned against the glass, saying a prayer, all the midget players shot pucks at me.
Sometimes, a little comic relief is a good thing.
Wednesday, I finally screwed up enough courage to go see Serena. It's been a long time. I really felt like I let her down, but the last time I saw her, it hurt me so much I didn't think I could be around her without my heart shattering into a million little pieces. She looks good; she says she got straight A's this quarter in middle school. She's grown, too -- she's almost as tall as you were. But she's doing OK; she really is. Her dad's working again. We had a really good talk. I brought her a birthday present.
When you died, I took your DS and hid it in my night stand. Your dad wanted me to give it to Daisy Mae, but I said no; it was your most prized possession and I was going to keep it. I know I wasn't making very much sense, but somehow, I knew I needed to save it for something.
When I left to go to Serena's house, I went back and grabbed the DS out of my nightstand and put it in my purse, next to the game I had bought for her birthday present. When she and I were finished talking; I stopped and looked her in the eye, "You don't have a DS anymore, do you?"
She hesitated, "Mine broke." I took your DS out of my purse, and handed it to her.
"There is only one person in this world who Kiersten would have given this to, and that's you. You know, it was her favorite possession."
Serena hugged me so hard, I thought I would cry.
"It's my favorite possession, now. Thank you."
Last night, the light in your window burned out. Exactly one year from the day you died. I think it's a sign that you want us -- me, especially -- to start to move on. I won't be easy; hanging onto you has given me comfort. But it might be time to start living for myself again, instead of living each day reaching back towards you. Not all at once, but a step at a time.
Thank you again, my beautiful girl, for a thousand lovely, funny, happy memories. Each day that you were in my life was a joy.