Monday, August 29, 2011
My Daughter's Hands
My daughter’s death affects me differently each day. In a broad sense, of course, there is a constant sorrow. This truth is highlighted well in Written in Tears, an aptly titled book I purchased shortly after Savannah’s passing. In considering the unexpected death of his 13 year old daughter, the author spills much ink explaining how, even with the joy of Christ pervading, he endures a persistent grief. At one point, he directs the reader to the words of another, quoting Nicholas Wolterstorff from Lament for a Son:
Sometimes I think that happiness is over for me. I look at photos of the past and
immediately comes the thought: that's when we were happy. But I can still laugh, so
I guess that isn't quite it. Perhaps what's over is happiness as the fundamental tone
of my existence. Now sorrow is that.
Sorrow is no longer the islands but the sea.
That bit of prose resonates heavily with me, as there is undoubtedly a sadness that is ever present. What differs, as I mentioned in the opening, is the way in which the sadness manifests. Each day I miss my daughter and some aspect of her life anew. Some days the attribute I most miss is her laugh. She had a beautiful laugh, one that was both infectious and impossible to duplicate. Other days I miss watching her walk, a talent she had only recently acquired. Yet other days I find myself longing for her crooked smile or the pouting lip she displayed when she cried. These desires can be alleviated, in the minutest manner, by looking at pictures or watching videos. While the aforementioned endeavors always bring tears, they also provide me with a bit of relief. I am able, for the briefest of moments, to see an image of her smile or hear a snippet of her laugh. While it is certainly no substitute for reality, it is comforting to have those tangible memories.
One desire, however, cannot be even partially fulfilled. That is, of course, her touch. There is no medium that can replicate that sense. The closest I can come is dreams…and it is amazing how often those occur. I could not begin to count the amount of dreams I have had since her death, dreams in which I am holding her cheek to mine or walking with her arms around my neck. Her touch has been the theme of today…it is what I’ve longed for most desperately during my hours at work…specifically the touch of her hands.
Savannah had adorable hands, petite like the rest of her, inherited from her equally adorable and petite mother. I loved to hold her hands in mine and marvel at the intricacy of God’s design. I loved watching her learn new tricks with her fingers each day as her fine motor skills advanced. More than anything, however, I loved when she placed her hands on me. As she learned to walk, I cherished the times when she reached her hand out for mine. I reveled in the moments that she would grab onto my pants leg and look into my eyes. My absolute favorite, however, was when she would place her hand to my lips. I would sit her in my lap for this very reason, knowing full well that she would eventually do so. She would twist herself around until she could look directly into my eyes, and she would then smile and bring her hand up to my mouth. This usually resulted in a ferocious giggle on her behalf, especially if I opened my mouth and pretended to swallow her fingers. She would jerk her hand away in delight, wait a moment with curious eyes, and then cautiously place her hand back on my mouth. The icing on the cake were the times when, as she placed her fingers on my lips, she would say her trademark “DA!.”
I can’t write anymore right now. The tears are beginning to flow and my mind is clouding. I just wanted to share with others what I’m missing. I’m including a video below of Savannah and Aspen (our dog). It’s grainy and low resolution, but I love it because it captures her laugh and the way the two interacted. Thank you all again for your love.