My five year old daughter was crushed to death by an earth moving tractor . . . .driven by her own father. Her father and I had been fighting, duking it out in family court. Family court had decided it was in “the best interest of the child” to spend time with her father during a basic visitation schedule even though I pleaded my concern for her safety. Parental visits are called “periods of responsibility” and it was during this so-called “responsibility” that her father failed miserably. He took her to the jobsite of his house under construction where heavy equipment was in operation while she played with another 5 year old. Someone was supposed to be watching the kids. Nobody was. The police officer matter of factly said that she was only unattended for two minutes.

If you time two minutes on a clock with a second hand it is a very . . . long . . . time.

My knowing that my daughter was not safe was proven in the worst way. I fought to protect my child to no avail in family court as the case got lost in the pile with all of the other feuding couples. Now the greatest loss is mine. I try to make sense of this heap of grief I am left with.

Her father had planted the seed and I had grown a beautiful flower. Rose bud formed, turned it’s head toward the sun, petals just beginning to open . . . and, before she had the chance to fully bloom, my little flower got picked. Removed from the earth with force.

There is something unspoken and haunting that must be the reckoning of the scales when someone is responsible for taking someone else’s life away especially after making it so they had a chance at life in the first place.

Mine is the biggest nightmare for a Mother to face. It is unbearable.

My dreams stopped. Completely. Black veil pulled shut. A shade kept the room dark so I could sleep, yet I couldn’t. Afraid to go to sleep because when I woke I’d realize that this nightmare was not a dream.

The tears start at the horror of it. A being embodied in a form so precious and soft, graceful and pretty being mauled by something so hard and heavy and abrupt that chewed her up in jaws of steel. The tears start at the thought that her sweet head rolled and was crushed in dirt and mixed with her own blood. And, after her soul departed her flawless luminous skin turned to a dense grey cold plastic.

It was several days after the incident that I saw the rigid broken body that had once been my child. It was a rude awakening to the fact that the nightmare was real. After scanning the extent of the damage and the layers the wrong shade of “make up” tried to conceal, I turned to make my exit. Lift foot, bend knee, try to run . . . but knees don’t work and I collapsed in a heap on the floor wailing, crying for my own Mama.

“That’s not my baby !!! That’s not my baby!!!!!!! That’s not my Baaaabbbbbeeeeeee!!!!!! My own Mama got down on the floor and spooned me and held me like I was still her own baby.

Without her breath of Soul and her beating heart that body was nothing but a bag of bruised and broken bones in my daughter’s favorite royal blue velvet dress and her prettiest black suede fancy shoes.

The house that was our home is now empty and its contents have been sold or given away and the majority of the leftover items are now in storage.

In storage are the things I do not know what to do with. I do not know what to do with the contents of the storage unit or the thoughts and memories in my mind and heart.

In storage in a small lathed mahogany urn about ten inches high her ashes are housed. Half of them gone with her father in his matching container. With joint custody, even ashes are shared.

After the attendant had carefully raked the ashes from the incinerator, I gently fingered the bones and dust in fascination. In a Tibetan prayer bowl I saved some teeth, some porous joint bones that look like sponge shells reminiscent of the sea and also, as if from the ocean, the thin pink and cream petals of what was left of her cranium.

I covered these bones with delicate dried pink rose petals and was amazed and marveled at the fragile similarity of each. Both seem to be deteriorating in front of my eyes. Or maybe it is the tears that are making things blurry. I see both are true.

Malea Elizabeth. Her name means balance. She carried it well. Pride would swell in my chest as she lifted hers wide and open. She would prance with the strength and grace of a gazelle. Solid yet poised. Everyone saw it. The gift of the dancer. I cannot help but wonder what a few more years could have added to the length of her beautiful legs and what sort of spin she could twist on a pirouette.

I walk a tight rope, a high wire. Poised on a very thin balance beam I attempt to let go of the past, to stay in the moment and not concern myself too much with the future.

Since the instant of her death, I prefer quiet. Perhaps this is my attempt at being able to hear her in case she is trying to reach me. Maybe in silence I can extract some meaning from heaven while I am still on earth.

It wasn’t until the instant of her death that I no longer take for granted that I am alive. I am completely and utterly aware of how alive I AM. Who would have thought I would have delivered Malea for her to turn around and deliver me?

My dreams have returned and sometimes they are sweet with hugs and swings and smiles and the kiss of her little voice exclaiming the big message of “I love you, Mama”

So real, visceral more than astral, there is a presence when she comes that is indescribable. I am stunned while scanning what’s left of my mental faculties to find the words . . .these experiences are in a different part of my brain.

It is a place in my brain that meets my consciousness. This is my temple. Malea visits my temple. There is a softness and a light here unlike any other place I have known. My soul resides in this temple and her soul visits me there.

When she reaches for me in this place, all of the hairs on my arm fuzz up and she feels velvety like down on a baby chick or the softest fur on a kitten.

When she smiles the whole sky lights up with her radiance. Her voice sings a sweet song that only my soul can translate.

When I wake from these dreams it is hard to get up. If I could I would go back to sleep and never wake up if only I could be with her. Waking up and not having her still with me is the hardest part. I wonder which part is really the dream.

Yet she resides in my soul temple where she swings and flies. Weightless in Soul. She waits timelessly and IS there for me . . . always.



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Joy Dyanne

Joy Dyanne


Joy is a Somatic Grief Specialist & Grieving Awareness Educator. She helps heal hearts with the arts, transforming pain into compost for Post Traumatic Growth.