A few days ago, I packed away my "Buggy ring." This ring is a gorgeous peridot ring surrounded by sparkly rings of diamond chips. My husband bought it for me after we lost our daughter (read all about that hellish nightmare here, here, and here. Oh, a little bit here, too.) and I've been wearing it loyally for the last (almost) two years.
I love it. It reminds me of my Little Bug, who clearly has an August birthday, who is now 4 and a half. She is likely running around wild and free somewhere across the city from the house where I loved her, and rocked her, and made her mine. She's probably feisty, ornery, and judging by the home she's being raised in, she's likely on her way to repeating all of the mistakes her bio parents made in their youth--because that's what happens when kids are put back into the homes of their abusive parents. They repeat the patterns. We had hoped to break the cycle, but God had other plans. So here we are.
She probably has no recollection of the year she spent with us, but I remember it. All of it. And for two and a half years, it has haunted me like a ghost following me from room to room, reminding me not to celebrate too much, laugh too hard, or smile to brightly, because that might somehow take away from the tragedy that the whole experience was. Now, as a smart woman, I know this isn't true. What happened happened, and nobody can take that away. But still...that damned ghost continues to haunt me, and a ****ing hate it! It's like walking around with a weight tied around my ankles. I can move, but not too freely. I can do things, but not with full enjoyment.
So I decided over the holidays that I was going to take some steps. Not big ones, per say, because it's taken me two years to get to this step, so bear with me, but I made the decision that I was going to start making small changes to eliminate that weight tied to my ankle. Which is why I cleaned my ring, told it goodbye, and put it deep into my jewelry box for safekeeping. And later this week, when nobody is around, I'm going to remove her picture from our china hutch, wrap it in some tissue paper, and pack it away. Not because I don't want it anymore, but because I am sick to death of seeing it every single day.
Now, I probably wouldn't feel this way if I'd lost her to death. If that were the case, I would likely keep her things in my home forever, as a homage to the daughter I want to remember forever. But that's not the case here. The truth is--and my husband wholeheartedly disagrees, for the record--I do not want to remember Liyah any more. I do not want to think about her. I do not want to have that moment, every ***damned day of my life, literally, where I think about her. Wonder how she is. Wonder if she remembers me. And pray that she's okay. I don't want to have that instinct to Facebook stalk her trashy bio family, scouring the internet for updated pictures of the little girl who was mine, but not really. I don't want to think about the good times, the bad times, the in-between times, the late times, the early times, or any other times we had with her at all.
I'm tired. I'm almost 40, and I'm hella tired. I feel older than I am, and I feel more bitter than I should be. I hate getting advice on getting over grief from people who have never lost a child, but I resent them for not knowing the gravity of what loving Bug meant to me. I loathe the child protective services and all their employees, but feel endless gratitude for all of the foster families working so hard to love kids their own damn parents couldn't be bothered to love. I want to bring Liyah up in conversation, then once I have, I immediately want to kick my own butt, because I really don't want to talk about it at all.
I'm not dumb. I know she doesn't remember me. And in all honesty, that's how it should be. I don't want her to remember me, because then she'll grow up resenting the parents she does have, because nobody, and by God, I mean nobody, could ever love that kid the way I did. Honestly, there are days when I legitimately wish I could Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind her right out of my brain. My husband says he would never do that. That his memories of her are some of his most precious. But me? Nope. Take 'em. Every last one.
And so the ring got put away.
Maybe someday I'll wear it again. Or give it to my daughter. Maybe someday I'll be buried in it, since God knows Liyah's will likely be one of my last thoughts that go through my mind before I die. But for now, I am pleased that it is gone. I can't look at it anymore. And that photograph--the one I have been dragging around from Spokane, Washington, to Songdo, South Korea--will be packed away next. My family will probably resent me for doing it. But sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I'm the one who lost their grip on reality when she was taken away, and I think that affords me some liberty. We'll see.
I feel okay. I mean, I feel bitter, but I always feel bitter. But I feel good about "Sunshining" these items from my life. Onward, and upward, and all that crap, right?