July 2017

Jul 2, 2017 | Parent Column

In Memory of Jaclyn Scarabino

Maybe other parents who have lost a precious child go through this too?

There is a certain point before her birthdate or anniversary of the day we lost our precious daughter when I begin to retrace every moment, every memory.

As I recall the days leading up to Jaclyn’s birth, June 13th, 1988, I’m filled with bittersweet happiness. I recall the fear and exultation because I was having my first! When they handed me this tiny person I cried happy tears and smiled but under that mask was a petrified new mother. Her Daddy and I  promised we would love her forever and try to be the best Mom & Dad. We celebrate every birthday with our Angel even though she has been in heaven almost five years. Jaclyn’s photo album, birth through year one comes out, we sit together and review all the wonderful moments from the start of her life. Balloons go up in the sky with notes of our love. It’s usually a day at the beach in her honor and a toast at her favorite restaurant.

It’s about now that I start to recall and retrace every step until the day she left us July 13th, 2012. Every day, every year is difficult. This will be the fifth year. Why does it hurt even more? The earth reminds me that day is approaching. It was hot, sunny, everything was green, flowers at their best. Summer plans being laid: concerts, beach, vacations, parties. My memories of her are heightened by my senses, when I hear her favorite music, taste her favorite summer drink, see the ocean, the touch of hot sand and the smell of coconut sun lotion. All reminders of Jaclyn. As it gets closer to the worst day I fall into myself, isolate, all the while wearing another mask. One of being ‘normal’ for everyone else. Everything I do on a daily basis without thought are now exhausting chores. All I want to do is sit on the couch. Why should I exist when my daughter doesn’t? I fear this date approaching every year. My brain wants to remain in the happy side that is prior July 2012, forever.  I can’t allow my brain to recall the moments of that worst day. That’s when my mind starts reeling to a bad place. A place of, I shudda, wudda, cudda…Panic sets in as the actual day nears, my heart pounds and our family retreats to their corners for survival. We grieve differently but always ready to support each other. I leave our home before the anniversary of our worst day. It’s still too much to bear. I fear that familiar huge wave will crash over my head and drown me as memories flood my brain. My daughter would not want me to be home, in the actual footprints of that day.

Of course, Jaclyn is a part of my heart, my mind and my body every day. Many places in our home remain in 2012. Her pictures on the refrigerator, the recipe for biscuits she wrote, the basket filled with cards from her funeral, her keychain on the table near the front door, her cigarette butts still in the sand bucket out front.  Missing her so much and recognizing the span of time is surreal. I see the tree planted in her garden a week after the worst day. It was a gift from someone who loved her. It was a twig, now it’s almost four feet tall. This mark of time equals confusion and gut wrenching physical pain of my heart. When I see her friends marrying and having children, it’s a mark of time. Her brothers maturing and draw strength from her spirit with hope for their future. When I look at my reflection in the mirror,  I don’t recognize myself. So, I enter her bedroom and stay back in 2012 and feel comfort. Clinging to her things, feels so good and that’s okay for now. It’s my way of staying close to my daughter. My thinking she’s not home right now, that’s okay too.

I think all parents hold our beliefs differently yet we all share a bond that is a broken heart. My husband and I lean on each other just as all our friends from COPE lean on each other. Healing is a tough journey. I don’t think I am healing until I retrace the days of her first year in heaven. I can see how different I am. I take solace in that. It gives me confidence that I can face another day without my precious child.

 I believe she is with me every second. There is more to this world than we are allowed to understand. I look forward to the day I see her, touch her hand, smell the nap of her neck, taste the sweet essence of her breath and hear her voice once again say “I love you Mommy”. 

 All my love is with you my darling daughter Jaclyn ?

 Love Always & Forever,

Mom, Dad, Ricky & Michael

(Diane Scarabino)