It’s been ten years.
Now we are five: James, Evelyn, Charlotte, Calvin, and me.
She is missing. My Beatrice Dianne.
Without much warning, she died before she was born, the umbilical cord contorting into a stringy knotted mass.
Dead before her first breath, she rose like a moon, gray and distant.
This tenth birthday, the moon is new.
This year we’re not even in the same hemisphere where I bore her, where her grave lies, cold beneath the winter-wrapped ginkgo in my parents’ yard.
I thought of her last week when I met a clerk whose name tag read “Dianne.”
“I love that name,” I tell her, “I gave it to one of my daughters as her middle name.”
I long for her to ask me more about Beatrice. I’d say her name like a song.
But a part of me feels relieved when the clerk smiles a thank you and bags up my groceries without any further discussion.
Beatrice is gone, no closer and no further away from me than she’s ever been since we buried her ashes. My heart longs for her like it always has, as many parents’ hearts do for their children who have died.
Today I meditated on her short life. I took a quiet walk and sat on a quiet bench. I did something small with great love for another person. As a family, we blew bubbles in a garden and talked about the little girl who is missing.
Today I remembered, as always, Beatrice.