Eva’s birthday is coming up. April 6th.
She would have been three.
Every few months I play a thought experiment, and try to imagine both our lives if she was still here. I imagine the big things, her crawling, her hearing sound with cochlear implants, her and I living together in our apartment. I imagine the hard things, hospital visits and the possibility that I would have given up my job to stay home with her. And I imagine the small things, pushing her in her push chair down Cuba Street in Wellington, drinking coffee across from her at 5am when she has woken early and just wants to wiggle about on the floor, carrying her down in the elevator to the car, her weight heavy in my arms.
These thought experiments feel like what happens when you imagine you’ve won the lottery. You count through the things you’d buy and it feels so tangible, so real, that when you come back down to reality, you are so disappointed that you can’t give everyone in your family $100,000 and buy a nice house in Island Bay tomorrow. I immerse myself so fully in this world where Eva is here and we are getting on with life, that when I open my eyes and remember she is gone, I look around confused for a moment.
I do this sometimes to stir myself up because I might go for months now without crying about Eva, and sometimes, I want to feel that fresh grief, because in that bubble of grief I am closer to her. In that bubble of grief I can feel her weight in my arms and see her, at 10 and a half months, at two years old, at almost three years old. She’s real there. Not just a photo on the wall that so captures her, but yet, is not her.