the closest thing to perfect but the farthest thing from me

Haruki Murakami's novel Kafka On The Shore has been on my mind frequently since having lost Wylie. If you're familiar with Murakami's work, you have probably drawn your own conclusion that there isn't exactly a direct link between the loss of my daughter and the plots involved in the novel. You'd be right. There isn't. Something I always found magical about Murakami's work is that it reads almost like a riddle, like a puzzle; each page another clue on a scavenger hunt that sometimes takes you years to complete. In an interview for Random House, Murakami himself had said, "Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren't any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader." This would be true. I read Kafka On The Shore several times over the different seasons of my life and each time the solutions I walked away from differed from the previous reading. My point is (and I swear I have one somewhere), in the days since losing Wylie, several passages from Kafka On The Shore have popped into my mind. I've slathered a few across social media here and there when I feel they provide some sort of relevancy but it wasn't until this afternoon that I recalled a quotation in particular that made my heart thud inside my chest.

"If you remember me, then I don't care if everyone else forgets."

Ethan was sitting at his table in tot school working on a painting while simultaneously snacking on a plum. He had been feeling the aftermath of a still-dark-outside wake-up and I was trying to buy us some time until dinner and bedtime. As he worked, I was trying to chisel away at the mountain of clean laundry sprawling across our couch. The house was more or less silent as I folded clothing that I could only pray would eventually make it to a drawer or hung in a closet and I felt myself feeling frustrated. Frustrated again, frustrated as usual, that the world was forgetting Wylie each day that passed since her birth. There is probably a good chance I will feel like this forever. Frustrated, I mean. Wondering why I can remember every detail of her perfect face so vividly and yet people have convinced themselves that I am who I was before that stick showed two pink lines back in December. I anticipated August being a difficult month but even I couldn't really prepare myself for what I meant by difficult. Most days I amaze myself at even being upright and out of bed, able to function and carry on conversations and even laugh or smile -- all things that I am able to do solely because of Ethan, of course. And, even so, most days it feels like I'm not capable.

I know I need to move my resentment out of the picture. My frustration. My anger. I know I have to stop expecting so much from people who have no idea the difficulty involved in kissing your baby enough to last a lifetime in a matter of hours. I have to stop hanging on their every word, the unintentional tactlessness or offensive carelessness, because they cannot imagine as much as I could not imagine prior to May 12th, 2014 when I learned my daughter was terminally ill and I was going to have to eventually step foot in a funeral home and make arrangements for my child. I cannot keep myself up at night wondering why everyone expects me to have healed, to have moved on, to have let myself somehow be anyone other than a mother who had to lose a child forever. Because they can forget. They will, and they can.

But I won't.

I never will forget her tiny brown curls. I will never forget her lips, round and full like her daddy. I will never forget her nose, an obvious trait from my mother's side of the family. Or her hands, her fingers, her toes. The way she felt in my arms. The way she looked cradled in my husband's arms, wrapped up in the blanket my mother crocheted for her.

I will never forget her name or the magic in watching Ethan help me paint the nursery that she will never get to sleep in. As much as he didn't understand, he was so excited for a baby to be sleeping in that room one day. I will never forget the pride on his face as he painted crooked teal swatches across the wall with big, messy strokes of the brush. I will never forget the clothes we picked out just for her. The way we blared Something Corporate's Punk Rock Princess to share the news with my family that a little girl would be joining us. I will never forget the sound of her heartbeat. Ironic, her heartbeat; so perfect each time I play back the recording. I will never forget how perfect she was just as much as I will never accept that her heart had to be broken.

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