I had to go to Wilmington, NC to do some business today. It’s one of our family’s favorite cities and is about an hour from my house. After my business was done I had to wait until my daughter Stephanie got out of nursing school there at 12 and we were going to go out and eat. I had an hour to kill so I went to Independence Mall there. I have not been there since Kaitlyn and I last went last April when she was home for Easter just before she took her life.
I knew it would be painful, but I went in and walked all around. I saw the store Charlotte Russe that we went to so she could find some clothes to wear during orientation into 3rd year medical school. That was one of her favorite shops. I walked in there and I went to the back where the large stool type chairs were where I sat last year waiting for Kaitlyn to try on clothes. I could see her in my mind coming out of the dressing room with an arm full of clothes that she was going to buy. I saw the smile she had on her face in finding some things that she liked. I looked around and saw her shopping in my mind, just like that day.
I then went to the huge shoe store in the mall where she tried so hard in vain to find some shoes that she liked that were dressy. She had no luck because she didn’t really like any of them. I could see her so vividly, trying on shoes, walking around, looking at them. I see her in her tight legged blue jeans that revealed her calf muscles that she had accumulated while running and going to the gym. I commented on how nice they looked through her jeans. She said, “Oh Momma, is it too much?” I said no, they were just right and she looked healthy and good.
Before I could get out of each store I had an aching lump that felt like the size of a grapefruit in my throat. You know the kind that comes when you’re fighting the need to cry? But I made it out of there. But I saw visions of my child everywhere I went, the way she looked on that day we had together in April last year.
As I was walking around, the little kiddie train that goes all over the mall with children kept coming around. Each time it passed me it had a little blonde girl that looked right into my eyes, smiled and waved at me each time. I waved back and I remembered so long ago. She looked just like Kaitlyn did at that age minus the glasses.
I just had to go back there. I felt Kaitlyn there with me.