Jasmine is everywhere. There are photos in every room of this house. Drawings, notes, art projects. Her room is as she left it, more or less. I think this is why it’s so hard to really feel that she’s gone. It seems like she’s going to wander into the living room any minute, chewing on her lip and complaining about her sister. I expect at any time to hear her harassing her dad or ask to use the computer. I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that she is gone, gone, gone.

I still feel her presence. It is strong at her altar, but it pervades every room. Most of the time it is a comforting feeling, but sometimes it makes me ache to give her a hug. I didn’t hug her enough and she was kind of weird about it. There were only a few times that Jasmine’s body totally relaxed when I hugged her, and most of those were between the ages of birth and two.

A teacher once remarked that she was very protective of her body and her personal space and I knew exactly what she meant. It tied in with her phobia of needles and invasive procedures. I used to really hate the times they had to swab her sinuses for viral cultures. It was so violating. I know it was partially an over-identify-much kind of thing, but it just hurt my spirit to have to help hold her while they did that. In her head, she understood why these things had to happen, but her body never got it and always, always those hands would fly up and push at the nurses and her body would twist and flail with a strength that surprised everyone the first time they encountered it.

Unsuspecting nurse/resident: “Hi, I’m here to swab Jasmine’s nose for RSV.”

Me: “Just you? Did you bring help?”

U N/R: “Uh, no…”

Me: “Well, okay, I’ll help, but you may want to get some back up ready.”

The hapless nurse or resident would then approach the bed and say some inane thing that probably worked on other kids, but Jasmine would have none of it. She’d get her little wire swab out and start to aim it for Jasmine’s nose, only to be stopped by Jasmine’s hand. She would cajole, beg, bribe and then finally make the mistake of trying to remove Jasmine’s hand, all to no avail.

U N/R: “She’s so small! How could she be so strong?!”

Me: “I know, it’s pretty amazing. Do you have a few more nurses to help? Preferably big, burly ones? We’ll need about four.”

And then they would finally believe us and get the biggest orderly they could find.

No lie, Jasmine was a scrapper in the hospital. If Dana were reading this right now, she would probably nod her head off. Jasmine made a believer of her. In fact, at Jasmine’s memorial, everyone was going on about how sweet Jasmine was, how complacent, etc. Jeff and I are used to this persona that Jasmine shared and were wise to the reality, but we were more than a little amused when Dana’s voice piped up in response to a “Jasmine was always so easy-going” comment with “No, she was NOT.”

Anyway, I am trying to keep myself from the world of over-used phrases. You know the ones. They begin with things like:

“I would give anything if…”

“What I wouldn’t do to have one more…”

“It seems like she’ll just walk right through that door…”

“I can’t believe she’s gone…”

It’s hard, though. Those phrases are over-used because they’re true.

So Jasmine is everywhere. It’s funny… when we knew we had to make the decision to turn off the ventilator, that song by Michelle Branch was on tv. I’ll never forget it. Jasmine and Gab had been to see Michelle Branch in the past few months and Jasmine was learning to play a Michelle Branch song on her guitar. I was so relieved that her musical tastes were heading in a direction I could stomach. I looked up the lyrics to the song and while it’s a love song, or something like it, it has completely different meaning for me.

Michelle Branch

Turn it inside out so i can see
The part of you that’s drifting over me
And when i wake you’re never there
But when i sleep you’re everywhere
You’re everywhere

Just tell me how i got this far
Just tell me why you’re here and who you are
’cause every time i look
You’re never there
And every time i sleep
You’re always there

’cause you’re everywhere to me
And when i close my eyes it’s you i see
You’re everything i know
That makes me believe
I’m not alone
I’m not alone

I recognize the way you make me feel
It’s hard to think that
You might not be real
I sense it now, the water’s getting deep
I try to wash the pain away from me
Away from me

’cause you’re everywhere to me
And when i close my eyes it’s you i see
You’re everything i know
That makes me believe
I’m not alone
I’m not alone

And when i touch your hand
It’s then i understand
The beauty that’s within
It’s now that we begin
You always light my way
I hope there never comes a day
No matter where i go
I always feel you so

’cause you’re everywhere to me
And when i close my eyes it’s you i see
You’re everything i know
That makes me believe
I’m not alone
’cause you’re everywhere to me
And when i catch my breath
It’s you i breathe
You’re everything i know
That makes me believe
I’m not alone

You’re in everyone i see
So tell me
Do you see me?

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