Even in death, life goes on

Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express. ~Joseph Addison

I am perhaps lucky to have been quickly disadvantaged of any ambition with regards to my son. But this quote rings very true to me all the same, especially regarding a father’s love for his daughter.

It has been almost a week since Emma died. Everything has been so hard since. How does a little girl just forget to keep breathing?? It just breaks my heart so much when I think about it.

Our family has been lucky to have a lot of support in the past week however:

  • My wife’s dearest friend and her husband jumped to our aid from the first day and were invaluable. They helped make arrangements for us at the chapel where we held our memorial service while we were taking care of matters in Jacksonville, where Emma died. They babysat Ian for us when it was so hard just to drive from point A to point B without breaking down in tears. They helped take our mind off of trivial matters wherever possible, and even lent us clothes to wear as our stay became extended. (In my case, I flew down still wearing my uniform).
  • I received many condolences from my friends in the KDE project and condolences from people who didn’t know me at all but had found out about my plight. My wife and I were both deeply moved and we can’t say thank you enough.
  • Although I was away from my command, the Naval bases at Mayport and Kings Bay, and their subordinate commands provided invaluable assistance to aid me in taking care of affairs.
  • My former Commanding Officer and his wife opened their home to us and Ian at several points during the week, including one night when they were also trying to host their own visiting family.
  • Although I had been transferred away already, my shipmates from the submarine I served on (both currently assigned and transferred off but in the area) were there for me and my family. I know that even if I never step foot on a boat again, I’ll never have a better group of friends and mentors than I had on USS Maryland (Blue).
  • I can’t thank the members of my current division enough. When I was called at work I left in a hurry, knowing that the men in my division would take care of the notifications and paperwork. They made sure my house was looked after, that our pets were taken care of, and that my bosses were kept informed of what was going on so that I could focus my complete attention on my family, and myself.
  • Our family even had a visit from a teacher from the high school that my wife and I attended, who had pooled donations amongst the faculty there.
  • The funeral home where we organized matters were friendly and helpful to a fault, and were the only ones who finally allowed me to see my daughter (I found out she died on the phone, the last time I saw her was through the window of my wife’s car as they were heading out of town…)
  • I received many calls of support from both the family on my and my wife’s side, many of whom found a way to attend the memorial service for Emma even though it was organized and held on short notice. Those who couldn’t attend made sure to keep calling throughout the week to make sure we were receiving any help we needed.

I just wanted to say thanks for all of the support. I’ve been spending my time trying to celebrate and remember my daughter as best I know how. It’s hard when the simplest routines become the hardest, or when things that ordinarily wouldn’t merit a passing glance become potent reminders of the daughter I once held in my arms. Tasks once performed without a second thought seem so unimportant now, and other things are thrice as important as before.

Portrait of Emma prone, holding her head up
Emma Hope Pyne, Apr. 2, 2009 – Aug. 25, 2009