Katherine Jackson

KATHERINE LEIGH "KATIE" JACKSON AUG 8, 1985-FEB. 6, 1997 An anniversary of incomprehensible sorrow turns 16 today. Bittersweet 16 thrums in the background, the ceaseless soundtrack of our lives. Time does not heal, exactly, but it dulls the agony. We are no longer unaccustomed to Katie's absence, although, like amputees, we know the phenomenon of the phantom limb. Katie is the phantom daughter. Even now, we reach for her, look for her, call her name. Sixteen years later could it possibly be so long? her powerful presence endures. Memories make time travelers of us all, and in ours, Katie is here, giggling, dancing, singing, beaming, hugging, wondering. Every new day an amazement, dreams chased in flashing waves of copper crashing across her ballerina's shoulders, keeping a graceful rhythm known only to her. It is as Tennessee Williams said: "In memory, everything seems to happen to music." But now, stillness prevails. Hard reality crowds memory, where joy abides. Katie, forever just 11, is frozen in amber, a lifetime of boxes gone unticked. College. Europe. The Broadway Dream. Our Katie, brimming with cheer and ambition has gone from us into the arms of the Savior, where all wisdom is revealed, every comfort embraced, every glory achieved. Left behind, we are selfishly miserable in our melancholy, comforted only in the knowledge that each day brings us closer to the moment of divine reunion. Until then, Godspeed, Angel Katie. Love, Mom, Dad, Elizabeth and Christopher

Published in TBO.com on Feb. 6, 2013