From my journal written on January 9, 2007:
She arrived in winter, 19 winters ago. She left in winter. Snow was on the ground and winter storms gave way to sunshine when she left, as if knowing it was time to leave. How quickly those 19 winters were spent, sneaking away when I wasn't looking. Didn't I have all the time in the world? I thought so when I held her for the first time. I acted as if she'd always be there. Now she is gone and a strange silence reigns.
She was always noisy and often disrespectful. She took my things without asking and was not very good about returning them. Her room was always a mess. Always. I would wait until she wanted to go with her friends to get the leverage needed to have her to clean her room . "Yes, of course you can go...after you clean your room." This was an ongoing conversation.
Now, it's too quiet. Her abandoned room is always clean because she's no longer around to mess it up. She cleaned it just before she left...without being asked, as if I wouldn't let her go to college with a dirty room.