Last Tuesday, I said a prayer over breakfast with Daniel. I prayed that little Virginia would pass away peacefully. Immediately, Daniel's eyes filled with tears and he yelled at me, "Don't ever say that prayer again!" Then he laid his little chubby cheeks on the kitchen table and wept, "I only got to meet her once!" It ripped me up. I felt awful.
But I could not continue to pray for the poor soul to live on in a body that only existed to feel pain. I tried to explain to him that she flew 30 feet from the car, that her brain died, and her heart stopped. The emergency rescuers revived her heart, but her mind never revived.
Virginia passed away on Friday evening. Her Megan was the last one to put her to bed before the accident. She was with her every day in the hospital. She was her angel every day of her life. And now Virginia is Megan's angel.
After posting on Facebook about my hesitation to tell the boys about their cousin's passing, we received so much encouragement and wisdom. My friend Robin told me about sending off a balloon with a message. She also told me about giving them a notebook where they can write their feelings. I ran off to the grocery store on my lunch break and picked up a bouquet of balloons and a couple of notebooks and stickers for the boys.
We gathered the boys and told them what had happened. Daniel burst into tears. He immediately yelled at me and said that it was all my fault.
I wasn't sad. I wasn't upset. I was happy! Here this child was trying to wrap his mind around the sorrow and the anger of death--and I could be a source for his most difficult feelings. Death is too ambiguous for a child to get angry with, but he could get angry at me, yell at me, and feel better! I could do that for him! He raged and cried and his dad held him and tried to tell him that it wasn't my fault, but I just wanted him to be able to feel the sorrow.
His brother Jaxon sweetly told him that he could still talk to Virginia in his prayers and then he and Daniel skipped off to play Legos. The two played so well together. Jaxon was such a support to his little brother. I was so proud of him.
The boys were most excited for their notebooks! Daniel wrote at the top "Daniel's Diary" and the two ran around looking for hiding places so that no one would read their thoughts. They decorated them with Star Wars stickers and thoughtfully wrote.
The next day, we went out to let out the balloons. Antonio wept as he wrote his thoughts to his little niece. His mother told me about how Virginia loved him so. She would only accept food from him. She would light up whenever he was around. His heart broke into tears throughout the weekend. And all weekend, he posted pictures he had taken of her.
I tried to make sense of things and find comfort in the thought that she isn't in pain anymore. I tried to imagine her happy again. But my anger began to flair imagining the life she could have led. Imagining the good she might have done and the love that she offered to the people I love during her short time on earth. The death of a child is the death of a world. There is a world of possibility that was snuffed before it even began. And that makes me angry.
Her death was preventable. While the accident report isn't back, it is presumed that because the girls flew so far from the vehicle, they were not properly restrained. Little people must be properly restrained. We assume that they were not properly restrained because of the nature of the accident and because this was not the first time that they have been in a situation where they were not properly restrained. And as a result, the absolute worst thing happened. It wasn't a warning. This was the worst case scenario played out.
Choices matter. Our choices have consequences, world shattering consequences.
Sunday afternoon, my step-dad Brent gave my husband a blessing of comfort and strength. He was reminded that he is a good man. The words mirrored the look of love that Virginia would give to her Uncle Tony whenever he was near.
The tears continued to flow, but amid the sorrow, he also felt a growing a sense of gratitude that he was able to love such a bright angel who saw the goodness of his heart.
While driving with Daniel yesterday, he continued expressing his heartache and his anger. He will yell at me and proclaim his feelings with all the robust a 6 year old can muster, then he will fall into my arms and seek my comfort. And I am so happy to be there for him.
I believe a child's heart is like a tardis. It looks small on the outside, but inside it holds worlds of affection and love.
While Virginia is not here physically, I believe that she will continue to comfort and bless her family. She will be the friend whispering comfort to Daniel when he is lonely. She will be the laughter that Victoria feels next to her. She will be the hug that Vincent and Michael feel as they fall to sleep. She will be the inspiration that guides Megan's next painting. She will be the lift in her Uncle Tony's step. She will be the light in her Grandma DeAnne's eye. All of her family will find a smile in the thought of her.