A year ago today, Geordie and I went to the hospital in Izunokuni and learned that our daughter’s heart had stopped.

A whole year. I remember that day so vividly, and yet, at the time, everything felt so distant. Like it couldn’t be happening. When we left for the hospital that morning, I never imagined how different my life would be. Although I had spent all weekend worrying about my daughter, I never truly felt I would lose her. Going to the hospital meant that everything would be better.

I can recall with great clarity the moment I knew that all my fears had been realized. On the train to Izunokuni, we saw a bird out the window. I caught it from the corner of my eye, a mere glimpse. A bird of prey, it looked like. Maybe a hawk.

Geordie – who was as worried as I was but trying desperately not to show it – pointed and said, “What’s that bird? Maybe a stork. Maybe making a delivery.” It was a futile attempt to reassure me, to lighten the mood, one I appreciated but couldn’t hold on to. He chuckled nervously; I didn’t smile. He took my hand and tried to tell me again that everything would be okay, but I knew then. I knew there would be no happy delivery for us.

I still feel like I’m picking up the shattered pieces of that day.