I miss her all the time.
It's hard to explain how someone can always be on your mind, because even in the times when she's not in the forefront of my mind she's still there, always close. I might be doing laundry, doing a school lesson, or talking on the phone and she is still there in my thoughts. It's like I used to have only one train of thought, but now she is there parallel to all my thoughts.
Of course there are reminders of her everywhere. Her pictures in the house, the Children's Hospital parking passes that are still in my car, her little lamb sitting on my bed. And there are times when I see a baby about the age Anne Marie would be and I think about what she might be doing. So I miss her, all the time. But there are times when the ache is particularly deep and when the yearning to have her here is so strong. It's when we are all together as a family, laughing and having fun and I think about how much I want her there also.
When we were in Colorado, everywhere we went I thought about how much we would have loved having her with us -- riding the lifts, in a backpack hiking up the mountain, putting her little toes in the chilly Gunnison River. And when we would go out to eat and be talking and laughing I missed her. During a school day when this kids are all together at the table for lunch I miss her. I think about how much she would have loved her brothers and sisters. And times when we go places as a family and I get in the car and look in the back seat to make sure everyone is there, I'll have the split-second thought, "Wait, someone's missing." When we go into a restaurant or someplace as a family I want to tell people, "We are not who you see. Our family is bigger than a family of six." I don't imagine that feeling will ever go away, and that's okay. I imagine that years from now, perhaps when the kids are grown and we are all together for holidays or other occasions, I will miss her and still be imagining what it would be like if we had been able to keep her.
Of all the pictures we took in Crested Butte, this one is my very favorite. We had gone to Brick Oven Pizza and enjoyed eating pizza, talking and laughing. I remember sitting in the booth watching my kids, thinking how much I love them and wishing so much that Anne Marie were there also.