I did not lose Piper, she died. I didn't misplace her or forget where she was. The memories died too, before they hatched into a reality. It's a dangerous game letting her grow up in my head. It brings me joy, comfort and a whole new level of pain each round.
I have this perfect image of a blonde, diapered baby running back and forth to the ocean's edge like a sandpiper. I wonder if she would have been bold and willful. I sometimes dare dream of her first day of school. Pig tails and a too big backpack waving to me from the classroom door. I think she would have been smart, loved to read. I close my eyes and see her stand on her Daddy's feet to dance. I see his face too, the way I'd know he'd adore her. She looked just like him with my lips. I wonder if she would have liked peanut butter sandwiches and demanded the crusts be cut off. I picture her Halloween costumes and Christmas outfits. I wonder if she would have been afraid of the mall Santa or the Easter Bunny. I can see her surfing with Beau, me terrified ashore. I just know she would have inherited my competitive nature and her father's love for life. I picture her attending high school and buying her prom dress. Recently the thought of her never getting married, wrecked me for days. I imagine all of the birthday parties and trips to the zoo. Me holding her and rocking her to sleep. Kissing boo-boos and playing dress up. I see a little, blonde sandpiper.
I haven't looked at the pictures we have of her but I'm thankful they are there. One day I might. But now, I don't think my heart can take it. So I close my eyes and dream of her. The imagine of her sleeping, all warm and pink. She isn't lost. She is here, imprinted on my soul. Forever perfect.
Rest easy my little sandpiper.