I was looking at pictures as they moved from my laptop to an external hard drive and as they copied over I would have flashes of memories from times long past. Most of them made me smile. Some of them made me laugh. There were a couple that brought back a stinging sensation in my chest, as my mind was flooded with harder times. Then, I put the memory card from my camera into the computer and there were pictures of places I had recently been but could barely remember. What was the timestamp on that picture? June 2nd? That can’t be right. I don’t remember that happening a few weeks ago. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t feel like it happened at all. But, it had to happen. There was a photograph of it happening.
Several people have sent really sweet notes through Facebook and e-mail letting us know that they are sad for us as we grieve the loss of a child. Sometimes I get that. Sometimes I feel like I lost a child. She was with us for three weeks. We watched over her (literally) 24-hours of every one of those days. She was there and then she wasn’t. The problem is, I can’t seem to separate the dreams I’d had before we met her from the reality that existed just three weeks ago.
We planned for months. We dreamed for months. We’d prayed for years. Then one day, it was real but it wasn’t the reality we had dreamed. Putting that into words is hard because it makes sense but then the more I think about it, the less sense it starts to make. I’ve never actually had a dream come true 100%. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but I’ve really never had a dream dashed to pieces on the rocks, either – until now. I imagined several times Hayes and Raquel in matching leotards and tutus putting on silly shows. I thought about all of the secrets and inside jokes than I shared with my sister and hoped one day Hayes would have that same relationship with Raquel. I pictured family vacations resulting in photographs of a family of four.
Now, I look at pictures from mere days ago and I see someone else’s life. How could my dreams that seemed so lovely and wonderful turn into something so ugly and cold? How could we have misinterpreted every single step of this journey only to end up back where we started but with battle wounds that still hurt? If not for the pile of expense receipts, the mountain of laundry, the continual sense of dread, and the pictures… I would say that none of it actually happened. It had to happen. There’s photographic evidence that it happened. I hope one day to see through God’s lens and realize that He left fingerprints on those photos. Then maybe I will understand the value of these photographs.