There is another reality out there. There must be. It is a reality in which my daughter exists. I search for this reality. I catch fleeting glimpses as it rushes past the kitchen window or runs across the backyard. If I could only peek behind me fast enough, I could catch that other reality. It can’t be that far away.
This place here, where I live, does not seem real. It is a reality in which I wait for the ‘other’ to appear. I bide my time by going to work, taking my sons places, doing ‘normal’ things that ‘normal’ people do but I am simply waiting. I am not taking part in these events. I am a bystander to the action. I am one of the spectators. I am waiting for the time to pass so that eventually I, too, enter that other reality.
There was another reality once. It was the reality in which Clea existed. It was the one where I had three happy children who played together and fought together; where the photos we took of them showed unrestrained happiness. It was the one where their father was involved in their lives and it was the one where I was involved in their lives as well. I know it exists but I can’t find it.
There was an article in The New Yorker on 13 June 2011 called The Aquarium. It was written by Aleksandar Hemon who had lost his 10 month old daughter to an aggressive cancer. He called his article the aquarium because that is where he felt he lived; inside an aquarium. He could see out to what other people were doing but those other people were unable to enter his environment. That is how I feel. I can see what is happening, I can even function in that world but not many can enter my world.
The article also said that people responded to his distress with “I do not know what to say” whereas he and his wife had plenty to say. They had a story to tell. My husband wrote an article for an online journal – HermanoCerdo – called Despues de Lalomanu with a subtitle ¿no hay palabras? which means are there no words?
To me, there are never enough words. There are not enough words to describe how much I miss my daughter or how destroyed I am by her death. The words are simply not there. It is impossible for me to explain the emotion that haunts my body and my mind.
I used to hold out my hand as I walked, waiting for Clea to grasp it. I would look for her shadow walking next to me. It felt like the other reality was just out of my reach and if I moved quickly enough I would be able to return to that reality. I once envisaged her hiding behind a hedge waiting to surprise me. I could feel the excitement and happiness of seeing her again but that experience only left me wailing in my car.
This is my reality. It is a reality I hate with such hatred that I feel frustrated most of the time. I am frustrated because I do not want this reality, I want the other reality. I want the other reality with all its ups and downs. I cannot bear this reality.