Compiled by Roy Oommen, Becca’s dad, and recited by Rev. Leslie Venable of Christ the King Moravian Church, Durham NC during the funeral service December 18, 2004, 11 am till noon
Rebecca Marie Oommen was born on October 7, 2002. She was named after two of her aunts who we hoped she would follow as role models: two strong, independent, and fearless women with big hearts and deep faith. Her mother and I may have given her birth name, but her sister provided her real name…Becca.
The first 2 years of a life are not particularly notable. But it is just enough time to start becoming who you are instead of just what you are. In her first 2 years she started to become Becca instead of just Rebecca Marie. Many of you may not have known Becca. She was really only herself around her family. This is who she was.
She liked to smell flowers. Especially the ones in her grandmother’s garden.
She liked wind. Her mother would often lift her up and she would try to catch it.
She didn’t care much for snow, but she loved rain. At the first sign of a shower, she would run to the window to watch.
She loved water, except in the ocean. She preferred fountains and baths.
She liked to watch fish, but she was fascinated with dogs. If you wanted to get her attention or make her stop crying, all you needed to do was point to a dog. To her, every bird was a duck, and all birds quacked. And she could show you how an elephant sounded.
She liked to dance, the faster the music the better. She liked to be spun around, and if she was upside down, well that was even better.
She liked swings, but loved slides. The taller the better.
She didn’t like pencils or crayons. She was a pen and marker person. If she didn’t have paper to write on, well, that was okay. An arm or leg or clothing or furniture was always available.
She liked daddy’s keys and couldn’t be fooled with substitutes.
She liked electronic stuff, especially if it had buttons that made noise. Cell phones were good. But computers were better. When a computer screen came on you should have heard her scream. She liked to sit in her grandfather’s lap and type on the computer keyboard with him.
She loved to laugh and loved to be tickled. She liked pillow fights. But really liked to be thrown into a pile of pillows or hide under them.
She like being chased, but if you got too close, she would turn around and run back into you.
She didn’t like food, but developed a taste for coffee and potato chips.
She liked to play with coins—a little too much. When we got our cd player fixed they found $3.50 in change jammed into it.
She could count to 8 but only when going down stairs. Her new favorite word was “funny.”
She learned to say “pease” and “kanku.” One of the memories that is the strongest is of her tapping on the refrigerator and saying “cheese pease”. Then she would run off at full speed around the counter and we would hear her from the other room say “kanku mommy.”
She could point out her body parts, especially her “belly belly.”
For comfort, she preferred the first 2 fingers of her right hand in her mouth while holding her right ear with her left hand. If your ear was available she would grab it. And if she was really scared or worried she would dig her fingernails into them.
She liked to snuggle her face into your neck while holding your ear. Sometimes I can still feel her breath and smell her there.
She was fast and coordinated. Her uncle Don thought we should enroll her in Bela Karolyi’s gynmnastics program.
She loved her chee and cha and knew she had them in the palm of her hand. I think she would have loved visiting her family in India.
She was competitive with her cousins Hannah and Alex. But I think she would have gotten along pretty well with cousin Zach. Or gotten him into some mischief when they were older.
She liked to mush face with mommy. She would grab her mommy’s ears and pull her close to rub eyelashes and noses together.
She loved to climb. The higher the better. Her daddy had great plans to take her trekking to the Himalayas one day.
She loved her sister. She wanted to do everything her sister did and followed her around all the time. She loved getting into her sisters stuff, especially her clothes. If you were around our house, you probably thought her real name was “Becca-No!”. We loved it all. One of the greatest compliments we ever received was that we had a loud fun house.
She was independent minded. You couldn’t force her to do anything. She had to do things on her own terms. She hated to be told no. I looked forward to the teenage years. The battles would have been epic.
She hated being held captive by seat belts, car seats, airplane seats, baby chairs, clothes… She just wanted to run free.
She was fearless when she knew her family was around. She loved being around her family.
This is how we remember her. This is who she was.
We always understood the probable outcome. She had so much to fight against. The type, size, location, and spread of the tumor all worked against her. The only thing she had going for her was her spirit and desire to live. And she wanted to live. And as long as she had fight in her, we had hope. But there are some things that a 2-year old can’t overcome, no matter how strong her spirit is. And some hurts a parent cannot kiss and make better or take away.
I know that she is far better now than she has been for the last month. Just before diagnosis, our laughing, happy, full of life girl had become sad-eyed, lethargic and joyless…and it broke our hearts to see her this way. And then it got worse. Now, she is no longer restrained by tubes or straps, and no longer held captive by her failing body.
And then there are the questions. Why did this happen? Why did she have to go through this? What was God’s purpose in this? Didn’t she have more to offer? Did we make the right choices for her? Questions that we’ll never know the answers to in this life. I don’t know if the answers would really matter because they wouldn’t bring her back. I just miss my little girl.
There are mornings that we wake up expecting her to run through the door into our bedroom. Other times we sit and wonder, Did this really happen? It is difficult for us to picture this world without her smiling face. She was amazing at 2, and would have been amazing at 12 or 18 or 28.
I know in time, the grief that we feel will be lessened. But our hearts will always ache for her…when we are walking and instinctively reach for a tiny hand that won’t be there…when a memory of her drifts into our thoughts …when we watch her sister playing alone and feel the loss of a special relationship…when the light in her grandmothers eyes is dimmed because she has lost her playmate…when our house is silent…when a milestone that she would have had is passed.
But that is okay. My fear is that in 15 or 20 years I will see pictures of this beautiful little girl but will forget how she talked, how she acted, how she made me feel. That I will remember Rebecca Marie but not Becca. I welcome the ache because it will remind us that we loved her so very much and she loved us…and that should never be forgotten. We were given a great and precious gift, if only for a short time. We were blessed.
I believe there is something far more than this life. And one day we will be re-united with all our loved ones.
I have dreamt of the moment when I will meet my little girl again. We will know each other immediately, and she will run into my arms. She will snuggle her face into my neck and hold my ear. And we will cry tears of joy. And the empty space inside of me will be filled.
We will dance and sing and it will be wonderful.
Then she will point to the mountains in the distance and say to me. “That’s where we’re going dad. It’s a long, hard climb, but the view is amazing.” Then she will look at me and cock her head to one side and say, “You look a little out of shape”, then smile that Becca smile of hers and say, “That’s okay. We’ll take it slow. We have plenty of time and a lot to catch up on.”