Shortly after Malia June’s death, Hope and I spread her ashes in the Atlantic Ocean to honor her short life and grieve our long list of dreams for her that will forever remain unrealized. We had an informal ceremony at Beavertail in Jamestown, RI, where we read aloud our lists of dreams for our daughter, and then cast them into the water along with her ashes.
In nearly a year since Malia’s diagnosis of anencephaly, I just found a copy of the list and re-read it for the first time. For those who may be reading this who have lost someone dear to them, whether an old friend or a child taken too soon, I hope this may bring a tiny bit of comfort and release. Here is the first half of my “Dreams for My Daughter”…
My baby girl…
How I dreamed to love you in this life.
To see you, alive and kicking.
Breathing. Crying. Smiling.
How I longed to hold you in my arms.
To rock you to sleep.
To comfort you in need.
To make you laugh.
To run my finger tips through your soft hair.
To count your toes. To tap each of your fingers.
To wipe your chin.
To clean your runny nose.
To kiss your forehead.
To kiss you goodnight.
To kiss you good morning.
To scratch your back.
To carry you through a busy city street.
How I dreamed of watching you sleep.
To stare at you without you knowing.
To play guitar for you.
To sing you songs by Jack Johnson, the Chili Peppers, Rx Bandits,
And songs we would make up.
How I wished I could dance with you,
And act silly with you and your mom.
How I imagined I would stare at your curious eyes taking in the world around you.
Take candid pictures of you.
Pictures only I would see.
And pictures of you in cute outfits that your mom picked out.
And rebel outfits that I picked out.
Pictures of you playing, with new friends, at special places, of you growing up.
How I dreamed of reading you stories of change-makers, freedom fighters, dangerous disciples, revolutionaries, those “anti-establishment-counter-cultural-buck-the-status-quo-types”…
How I longed to be one of those types that you were pleased to call your father.
How I dreamed that I would teach you to run fast, far, and efficiently.
To teach you to play soccer, softball, basketball, beach volleyball, tennis, ping pong, and Ms. Pac-Man.
How I hoped I would run hundreds of road races with you.
I would let you win.
And soon enough, you would let me…