I gave my six-year-old girl an extra hug and kiss tonight after reading all of the entries on a new blog called Dear Elena. (Link via Michelle Malkin.) The topic of the blog is one of unutterable sadness: a father’s emotions upon the recent, unexpected, and tragic death of his six-year-old daughter. An entry from yesterday has this passage:
Yesterday, Kim and I were making corrections to the program for Elena’s funeral. Kim decided that she didn’t want a quote on the front page. Just her name and a picture. Oh and the dates.
I wrote “March 3, 1999 -” and then I stopped. How do you complete that thought. How does a father write on paper the date that his daughter died. It was a crippling writer’s block. My hand shook, the tears flowed, others in the room offered to write it for me but I knew that I had to.
Finally, I wrote “February 22, 2006″.
Today’s post describes how Elena would have made the family late to her own funeral, if she had been alive. The post is full of imagined but very real dialogue. You can see, right in front of your eyes, the sort of girl Elena was. Elena is very much alive in this post.
You can read the whole blog in a few minutes. It started on February 23 — the day after Elena died — and is only four days old today. Just go to the first day and scroll through the days. But be prepared to cry.
I was reading the blog tonight as my wife got our daughter Lauren ready for bed, and I realized all the similarities between our children. Lauren is a lively and cheerful six-year-old, like Elena was. Lauren recently lost a tooth, just like Elena. And Lauren spent Saturday evening throwing up, as Elena had been four days before. But on Sunday Lauren was fine.
I finished the last post, and then my wife called me upstairs and told me that Lauren was ready to say good night to me. We talked about our favorite and least favorite parts of the day, as we do every night. I told her that my favorite thing is that she has started to read to herself, without asking for our help. And — though I had just finished crying downstairs for another parent’s loss — I told her that I didn’t have any not-favorite parts today, because I was just so happy to be there with her, right then.