I feel so alone without Elizabeth. She was always with me. She accompanied me on all my errands: grocery store, bank, and post office. She helped me with my chores: she got down on her little hands and knees and imitated ma-ma cleaning the floor. She would open and close the dryer and dishwasher door. Between chores I would read books to her, we would have a tea party or play with her dolls or swing. Then we would snuggle close, and I would rock her and kiss her and put her down to sleep. She was part of everything I did, my best little friend. I miss her. I wish she was here.
My name is Vira Cover. I now watch a video of sweet Elizabeth. I laugh with joy at her innocent, uninhibited personality. And I laugh for just a moment, Elizabeth is with me. There is no fever, no cough, no lethargy, no FLU. There is no grave to dig, or stone to carve.
There is Elizabeth - and Elizabeth is dancing.
But when the video stops, so does the laughter. And I resume my slow walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I remember the feeling of her cold angelic face, I remember her breathlessness.
The black bag of sorrow is hard to bear. It's hard to bear because not everyone understands my grief. They did at first. They did at the funeral. They did at the graveside. "It is God's will," people say. I just can't reconcile that statement with a child's death. They don't go together. God wills life, sunshine, and gentle breezes. God wills majestic mountains and fields of wildflowers. God wills satisfying sex and melodious music. God wills exuberant praise, abundant Thanksgiving, and heartfelt petition. God does not will death, destruction, and disease.
So my grief lingers.
As silently as a cloud slides between me and the afternoon sun, memories drift between me and joy, leaving me in a chilly shadow.
Just the sight of her favorite toy or verse of the song she loved, her blond-blond hair, bright blue eyes and warm embrace, and I say good-bye all over again.
The reactions of grief are not like recipes, with given ingredients and certain results.
My grief lingers because I am dealing with more than memories - I am dealing with unlived tomorrows. I'm not just battling sorrow - I'm battling disappointment.
I am also battling anger.
It may be on the surface. It may be subterranean. It may be a flame. It may be a blowtorch.
But anger lives in sorrows house. Anger at my self. Anger at life. Anger that takes the form of a three-letter question - WHY? Why Elizabeth? Why the other 150+ children. God heard me, answered me, and gave me hope - The Elizabeth Terese Cover Foundation For Influenza Research & Vaccination.
Elizabeth was just 23 months old when INFLUENZA struck her and took her life on December 1, 2003. This horrible virus took 150+ children in the 2003-2004 Influenza season.
Our doctors, health care workers, public officials, parents, everyone in general need to take Influenza much, much more seriously.
Doctors - God gave you the most precious gift - the gift of healing - please use it wisely.
PARENTS - PEOPLE take your health care into your own hands. Be aware, educate yourselves and listen. Listen to those of us who have gone through this tragedy. Don't turn a deaf ear.
Children as young as 6 months old should be vaccinated. And remember vaccines are safe.
In the event your child developes flu-like symptoms - take him or her in immediately. Demand a test - demand tamiflu. Tamiflu is a product if administered within 1-3 days of when the symptoms first appear it will calm the intensity of the virus.
Those of you who are familiar with my Daughters' Foundation - are aware that a beautiful white dove symbolizes our goal.
Elizabeth shared the following poem with us as she made her flight into HEAVEN and she would now like to share The Dove Awaits with all of you.
Now I lay me down to rest
President Bush has asked Congress to allocate $7.1 billion to fund his administration's bird flu plan. Please help us pass this plan.
It's a horrifying experience to have your child die in your arms. Please senators and public officials - please pass this bill.
Please - let's work together so that we may prevent an enourmous tradgedy from happening. Please refer back to the PANDEMIC of 1918. Please take a moment to imagine if that was to happen today.
Vira Cover is available for sharing Elizabeth's story. Please contact @ e-mail address.
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