I should be gone. I have metastatic GIST cancer, survived two major surgeries, and was told once, in December of 2010, that I would die that night.
Lark should be here, working on her next novel or play or music collection or falling in love. Figuring out life.
Up until January 10, 2017, if anyone asked how I was coping with the loss, I would have said, “Poorly.”
On that January day, a little over four months after the death of my daughter and only child, I found myself still struggling to deal with the loss. Certain things were triggers to my sadness, among them certain photos.
At about 2:45 p.m., I was walking through my bedroom en route to take a leak. I noticed an older photo of Lark from around the 5th grade and it triggered the beginning of a sad spell.
Gradually, I’m developing strategies to manage the spells. I remind myself that she is no longer in pain. Also, I think of a happy photo of our Little Bird seated with both her cats on her lap. She’s smiling and wearing a tee shirt of one of her favorite bands, Nirvana.
This thought of the happy photo was in my mind as I entered the bathroom. I decided to play a quick word game on my iPad as I took care of business. Jumbline, a scrambled letters game, was an easy way to occupy a couple of minutes, but I found myself struggling to figure out the seven-letter final word to the puzzle. Time was running out.
Then it hit me – NIRVANA was the big word. I immediately realized the coincidence. Unless it was more than a coincidence. Perhaps it was communication.
I’m a skeptic, and certainly not one to make grand leaps of faith. But neither am I one to ignore what is presented to me.
Two minutes before, I was thinking about Lark in her Nirvana tee shirt, desperately missing her. Now the word Nirvana has popped up in the game I was playing.
Was Lark telling me she was now in Nirvana and at peace? It’s possible.
Was it just a highly improbable, bizarre coincidence? Also possible.
I was shaken. People who know me know that I am almost never shaken.
I phoned my sister Valeta Boo, who has a Masters of Divinity degree, to get her take on the occurrence.
She wisely asked, “How did the experience make you feel?”
I replied, “Good. Happy. Hopeful.”
After our chat, I texted her the screen image from the game. She texted back, pointing out the word above Nirvana. Avian. Like our Little Bird, Lark.
The possibility that I might see her again on another plane of existence is comforting. It gives me a ray of hope where I had none.
It also fills me with abundant parental pride that my brilliant, talented, creative, generous, caring, funny, adventurous, beautiful kiddo figured out how to hack the afterlife.