Last night I walked in the snowfall, carrying food to a family with newborn girl. I thought about how I held you with such tenderness when you were born, as if you would break beneath my touch. While you were tougher than I could have imagined, you still broke in the hands of the world.
I walked past the first home we moved to in Santa Fe, the one with the tree on the corner keeping watch. It has a new fence and an arch with lights weaved through it. It looks fresh, not the ragged space we rented with the hole in the kitchen wall where mice came in, scaring you as a young girl. The house where you played outside and could walk to school, where you got The Hunger Games for Christmas, where we lived when you tasted the first time with the death of your great-grandmother.
The light last night was ethereal, dark, and glowing, otherworldly. I took photos of trees stretching their limbs to the silver sky, and the snow as it passed across the streetlamp like tiny shooting stars. A snowflake landed on my camera, and it changed the color temperature, giving the snow a radioactive glow, and creating a formless angel on the lens. I know you would have thought it was incredibly cool. In my head I can hear you exclaim, "that's sick!".
In the silence of the street covered with white, frozen glitter, I took note of the tire tracks, the multitude of directions, how they intersect and change. I thought about how some people can stay on one course their entire life, how others crash into each other, how some veer off the road. About living, and how some experience calm and ease while others are plagued by breakdowns and woe. How on this journey of life, even though we all reach the same destination, the paths to getting there are so divergent and dependent on a million things we do and do not see on the road before us, as well as the choices we make every second as we draw breath.
I'm sorry life was so fucking hard for you at times, and I'm sorry for any mistakes I made as a parent that contributed to such tribulations. That your road trip of existence was littered with collision, survival, and at times, not feeling like you belonged here at all. You were so loved in a multitude of ways, but I don't know that you knew it, and for that I apologize.
I will never be at peace with you leaving, even though I know that you struggled to stay and find your place in new way of life, which no doubt felt overwhelming, scary, and unclear. I wish you were still here so I could have dragged you outside last night to see this beautiful winter night and its peace. So you could know that even in the darkest winter of our lives, light can still find us and give us what we need to keep going.