Suddenly it is there again. Grotesque, importunate and incredibly painful. A silent scream inside of me wants to come out, but stays stuck somewhere. A sob that wants to be cried, but stays inside.

For some days I walked around feeling this way. I felt pressure behind my eyes and a grumpiness coming over me where no prayer seemed to help against. Until yesterday it finally became too much. I cried and couldn’t stop. Again and again, tears stream down. I realized that I miss her so much. It comes over me like a very big wave.

I miss little arms around me. Whimpering of another kid behind me this morning, awoke a longing for my whimpering Amanda, who never whimpered, because she didn’t live long enough to be able to whimper. I miss her face against my legs while talking to someone. That she runs towards me because she is happy to see me again. The dull pain of missing her is hard to grasp and at this moment also impossible to suppress.

It’s so weird. How can you miss what you did not have? How can I miss her as the toddler she would have been, while I only knew her as a tiny baby? Words my Love said resound in my head: ‘she just grows up together with our family. She just somehow grows up too’.

So, now I miss the toddler that makes noises and keeps me alert all the time. When I hear other mothers say that they are so glad that their children are a bit older now and don’t need 24/7 attention, I only think: I would give the world to have that right now. To be able to watch her and to not leave her alone for one second.

She seems to disappear. To be forgotten. She is no visible part of our family. From the outside our family seems complete. We are six people together. For many people that is already busy enough. But I lack a child and panic keeps coming back to me. I do not want to feel it. I do not want to admit that the missing is still there and that nothing seems to help to ease the pain. It should stop. We buried her a year and seven months ago. We experienced how terrible it is to leave your child behind.

We had to go on with our lives immediately an now I want to do that too. I manage quite well to do that. I take care, I sing, play music, try to be there for those around me. But meanwhile beneath it all it continues to gnaw. I understand a bit more why people say that ‘mourning is hard work’. It is in a way indeed work, working through, processing, let it sink in, continue to work with it. And there is progression and there is development.

I am translating my blogs into English and by doing that I am confronted with what I wrote a while back. I reread how I wrestled with God. How I tried to figure out how to live with this deep grief inside of me. And I’ve learned that I have more peace now, that I trust God a bit more and that I am indeed learning to weave the missing into my existence as someone described it. I even thought that the missing became less and more doable. Up till now.

Now it is very much in my face again and I feel the despair, the intense mourning, the very sharp pain all over again. And how and why that happens, I don’t know. I am not searching for it. I just live, work, do the things I should do. But apparently it is like they say about mourning: it comes in waves. And you need to keep space in your life to deal with that. So that you can cry when you need to. Or so that you have time and space to write, like I am doing right now. Because when you write, you give words, you acknowledge and give space to just let it be there.

I will keep missing her. She is my daughter and she should be here right now. Realizing that she isn’t, is like a wave coming over me, taking away my breath and smashing me off balance. I can only say, like I did many times before, that God is my anchor and the rock on which I stand. I try to remain standing and allow the waves to bash at me. And I wait until the sea calms and the waves stop bashing – for now.

First published in Dutch on October 28, 2018

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