I wrote this piece over the course of three of four months last year, starting shortly after Ana died. It is, in many ways, my post personal and meaningful of essays (it’s also the longest, at over 5000 words). Thank you, Sari and Longreads for the opportunity to share this piece in its entirety. I’m still on the journey I began when I started writing this. The spiral of parental grief is endless. I’m coming to accept that there’s no getting over Ana’s death, not for me. She is a part of my heart forever.
In July 2016, when we got the results of my 15-year-old daughter’s CT scan, my friend Babs introduced me to a new term: “anticipatory grief.” The scan showed that tumors in Ana’s lungs were noticeably larger than they’d been three months earlier, and masses in her abdomen had multiplied.