It has been six month since you have been gone. Dad said to me the other day that it feels like it just happened yesterday. He is right. Even though we have managed to smile and find laughter, our hearts don't realize that time has passed. Our hearts still remember every single detail.
I saw a hummingbird in your garden on Monday and it made me extremely happy. Maybe God sent it for me to see, or maybe you did. Either way, I love the little signs that remind me of you. Missing you always...
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.
~ John 11:25-26
Aven's Easter Lily
Easter morn with lilies fair
Fills the church with perfumes rare,
As their clouds of incense rise,
Sweetest offerings to the skies.
Stately lilies pure and white
Flooding darkness with their light,
Bloom and sorrow drifts away,
On this holy hallow’d day.
Easter Lilies bending low
in the golden afterglow,
Bear a message from the sod
To the heavenly towers of God.
-Louise Lewin Matthews
An Easter Lily was delivered to Aven yesterday from Holly, Todd and Marly with a request that it be planted in her garden so that each year that it blooms, she will know that they are always thinking of her. D and I have the most amazing friends who somehow know when we need them the most. Before the delivery arrived I was just thinking how I should have had a one month old baby dressed in a pretty pink Easter dress with a bow taped to her head... and then the Lily arrived and made my heart smile.
While we were taking pictures around the church in Darmstadt, I walked up on D capturing a picture of Aven's name. I saw him fixing the letters, trying to get them to stand the way he wanted them too. It was pretty cute and very touching. It is one of the memories I will hold on to forever...
The Cologne Cathedral is one of the world's largest churches. The pictures we took don't even capture half of the size. This is a picture of what the cathedral looks like at night. Unfortunately, we didn't take the picture below and we didn't get to see it lit up at night but even in the day the awesomeness of it is indescribable.
Today was my first day at my new but old job. The reason I say new but old is that both D and myself worked at the agency that I am now employed with prior...and now I am there...well again. It is actually the agency that D and I met at and there are still many people that work there that know both D and myself prior to our world being shaken apart. We were newlyweds when we left there. Today, I was asked not once but three times the all ever dreaded question a person who has lost a child hates to answer... Do you have any children? The first two times I was asked this question it was by 2 people that I just met today for the very first time. I knew that I was not going to say "none".
D and I were faced with this question a couple of months after I had Aven and after the words came out of both of our mouths that we didn't have any children...well it made me feel awful and sad and like a liar. I vowed after that first incident that I would never deny that Aven existed. I don't want to spill my entire life story to a stranger but I can't just say "none" and I won't ever again say "none". To the 2 strangers that I met today, that I will see daily now at my new job, when they asked "Do you have any children?" ...my answer to them and to anyone that asks me from now on will be that "I don't have any living children". To the 3rd person that asked me this today, because she knew both D and myself I told her briefly about Aven.
I know every mother that has lost a child has their own way of how they handle this question and that there is no right or wrong way to go about it. I knew I was going to be asked this question at some point today so I braced myself for it. Maybe if I say it often enough...it won't catch in my throat when I say the words out loud next time. Saying them in my head and hearing them come out of my mouth to an actual person are a nice little welcome to your new life sort of moment... unreal.
I am back from Germany. I had so many things to say while away but no time and no Internet to be able to do so. Now that I am home, my mind is blank. Imagine that! Germany was fantastic. When you see tulips growing in the wild it is really hard to be in a bad or grouchy mood. D and I took many pictures of Aven's name. I know it makes me happy to be able to do something for her, a new picture that I can add to the baby book I will one day find the courage to put together. It made me even more content seeing D suggest and take pictures of Aven's name all on his own...possibly just for her or just to make me smile but either way I loved it! We did our usual trips to Darmstadt, Frankfurt and Reinheim and did manage to visit a new city to us, Cologne. D is still in Germany and will be back Wednesday. He has the laptop for ransom but once it is back in my possession I will add all fifty thousand pictures I took.
I feel like my ability to feel compassion for others has grown over the past few months. It is a strange and wonderful thing. I am naturally a selfish person. I am not sure if I am this way because I am a Leo or if because I am the eldest daughter and granddaughter but either way, that is who I am or who I was. I think twice about everything I do and say now and mostly how I behave and act towards others whether I know them or whether they are strangers that crossed my path. I know my daughter isn't here to physically witness it but I would like to think that what she can see of me now, that it is good and that she is proud. I want to be a good person. I want to be a better human being for her. I think when your spirit, body, mind and heart are completely ripped to shreds, trampled on and shattered it is much easier to feel other people's pain and to sort of understand what they are going through no matter how big or small their burdens are.
I drove through Starbucks today after my gym workout to get my usual Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte. If you haven't had one, it is like a hug in a drink. I love it. It makes me smile and I can appreciate the little tiny things that make me smile like that. I purchased my little latte but I also purchased the latte that the lady behind me had ordered. The Starbucks employee at the drive thru window asked me if I knew the woman and I just responded nope that I just wanted to buy her order in hopes that one day she would pass it along. I am hoping that random acts of kindness really do work and that it is contagious. I hope that if she finds life too burdensome right now that I at least made her smile and if her life is just fine and dandy I still hope I made her smile. For Aven....
You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.
Thoughts of Aven were in Las Vegas today. One of my friends took a moment to send this to me while on her birthday trip. Today was such a fantastic day. I know some may think it is odd that it makes me smile to see Aven's name everywhere or hear it being said but for some reason it does. I can't help but be happy. She existed and seeing her name is just my validation that it was so.
We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
My wonderful friend, Daniella, sent an unexpected surprise today. She and her mother are participating in the March of Dimes, March for babies walk. March of Dimes is an organization that supports research and programs to help mothers have full term pregnancies. She sent me a picture of what her shirt would look like. I am truly moved and in awe of the amazing people that D and I have in our lives. We are truly blessed..... For Aven Lucia, with Love...
After Aven, I didn't believe that I would ever have a day where I felt better or that I would ever experience joy again. I really thought that after we lost Aven that every day that passed would be a sad and dreary one. I couldn't see outside of my grief early on. The first few months after I delivered Aven, I used to ask D just about every day if I was going to be okay and if things were going to be okay. I didn't feel life was going to be okay. I didn't feel I was going to be okay. Every time I asked him, he always responded the same. He always reassured me that I would be happy again one day and that I really was going to be just fine. People told me that it would get better. Others that experienced this sort of pain promised me it would eventually get better and that the pain would always be there but not as raw as in the beginning. I can now say that they were right. I am starting to believe them. I still have my moments where it feels like it just happened yesterday but I also have my moments where I look back and know that I am healing. It is happening slowly but I know it is happening. It may take me years to get there and I may never really get there but I am okay with that. I really do smile now because I am happy. I am still amazed when I catch myself laughing or smiling because at one point I never thought I was going to laugh and smile again.
Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it. ~ Groucho Marx
I woke up this morning missing Aven terribly. Nothing triggered a memory and nothing out of the ordinary set it off. Aven just happened to be the first thing on my mind when my eyes opened. I know I will miss her every single day for the rest of my life but some days the void and ache is right on the surface and no matter what I do to distract myself I can't shake it. I just have to let it wash over me until it passes. I can honor her memory by at least not denying my feelings. I miss her.
For the most part I can talk myself out of any dark hole I have fallen into. You could call it survival mode or you could just call it my normalcy now. Life really isn't fair sometimes. I know I keep saying this but I have to. I have to remind myself of this over and over again when I get the wind knocked out of me. It will happen from time to time. Life will move along and people are still going to go about their happy little lives as they should be. Their world wasn't the one that came crashing down so therefore there is no reason for them to stop going about their day to day activities. They should live. They should celebrate. They should be happy otherwise what is the point of all of this...
I think sometimes the people that I was most closest to before all of this happened wish they could hide under a rock until I am back to whatever my normal self is going to be; once I eventually get there. Sometimes I too want to hide under a rock just so I don't have to be reminded of anything that I don't feel like being reminded about but unfortunately life doesn't work that way. Life moves forward. Friends and relationships that I have had for years will come and go now. I really didn't think it was possible to lose friends after losing a baby. Not my friends anyway...
Sure I have read the statistics that relationships, mainly marriages, suffer and sometimes end after a baby dies but the exact opposite happened for me and D. We held on to each other tightly because we were the only two that totally got each others pain and therefore can truly appreciate when we manage to laugh and smile together. Besides, statistics are crap. When you are on the losing end of a statistic and part of the percent of the group that failed...well your thought process on how you read those will forever be skewed. When the Dr or anyone tells me now that there is a 99 percent chance that things will work out next time my first thought will be well that is just freaking great because that means there is still 1 percent opportunity for failure. 1 percent is a lot when you are the 1 percent, and when it involves your heart those numbers won't and don't bring comfort.
I really wasn't aware that my friendships were going to suffer or that statistics had anything to do with them but low and behold...I see it happening. I won't even sit here and pretend that I am not at fault at all. I am. Sometimes I don't want to talk. Sometimes I just want to be. Sometimes being social requires a lot of energy from me. Sometimes it is easy breezy. Sometimes I can't wait to hang out. My poor friends really won't know what my mood will be like that day and I really can't blame some of them at all for just running the other way.
Maybe that reason season email that floats around every other month or so really is true. Some friends come into your life for a reason and only stay a season and some stay forever. I would like to hope that if someone I hold dear to me walks in my shoes one day in the future that I would be the friend that stayed forever.
Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Walk beside me and be my friend.
Glimpse: To obtain a brief, incomplete view. I debated for several days before I finally decided to begin writing this blog. I tossed the idea around with D during those days and if memory serves correct I think it was originally his idea. The factor that made me jump all in was that it was a way for me to let out the good, the bad, the dark and the hope from this grief journey D and I were both and are still enduring. When I started writing, I wrote just for D. I wanted him to know the thoughts I had of our daughter even if they made both of us cry. I have always written from the heart, my heart. I will continue to write exactly from that same place. The pieces and hodgepodge glimpses that I write here don't all necessary define who I am at all times of the day. They are a glimpse. A tiny peek into what my heart endures as each day passes along. Sometimes I endure that thought and feeling for a moment, sometimes for ten minutes and sometimes for the hour. I think there are some people that read my writings and think that I am a sad person all day every day and that I am allowing myself to be engulfed in my sorrow. I laugh. I cry. I am happy. I am sad. I am up. I am down. A glimpse. This moment is just a glimpse...
Be who you are and say what you feel
because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
I have tried to capture images of Aven's little garden on several occasions. Each picture I take never really seems to capture the beauty that D and I see in it. Either the clouds are not cooperating with me or the sun isn't. Each stone and flower that was laid and planted was with Aven in mind. My uncle continues to randomly stop by to plant new flowers or plants he has found. It makes me smile each time I walk out to the garden to see something new planted in the garden or to see a new flower blooming. Often times our two morning doves sit underneath the bench resting. They don't cooperate with me either and fly away but they belong to our garden now as they visit daily. The two morning doves were born about a year ago in a nest that sits in our very skinny Oak tree. I don't know a whole lot about doves but D managed to take a picture of the dove egg and some how also managed to capture a few weeks later the two baby doves that came from that one egg. It would be great if I could catch them resting under the bench but I am just not that talented a picture taker or that sneaky.
with a guest appearance by D and Lola
Whoever loves and understands a garden will find contentment
within. ~ Chinese Proverb