I knew this time of year would be hard. I have been dreading it for almost a year now. This time last year, we were doing much of the same things. The kids were involved in spring softball and baseball. I had just had the exact same exchange student event that I went to last weekend, and I was anxiously anticipating the arrival of our 5th baby. I want so much to look forward to celebrating his first birthday on Saturday with him. I want to be anxious for memories and pictures. But, to be honest, memories hurt and I can't take pictures anymore. I want life to be on hold. I want time to stop moving. How can it still move and life go on without my little bit in this world? I am in a dark place this week. The weight of grief is so very heavy.
My grief counselor says that we can let the grief win, or we can take positive steps to reclaim all it has taken from us. No, we can't get her back, but we can move forward in ways that are honoring to her. That is what we are trying to do. When the grief first comes, it feels like that to do anything would be betraying her. If you haven't lost a child, that might not make sense, but that is how it feels. If feels like if I go to the store without her, I have betrayed her because I am operating as if she didn't exist. If I go to a birthday party, then I am betraying her because I am participating in a celebration when she isn't here. I know that all sounds a little crazy, but that is my reality. I have spent almost a year battling those feelings, a year reminding myself that the betrayal is not in positive things, but in negative. It would be betrayal to shut down and wither away. That would be easy, but not honoring. That we miss her is a given. That we would give anything to have her back is a given. That we don't want to go on without her is a given. But the brutal, disgusting, excruciating truth is that we have to. It doesn't matter how much I lay in bed and beg God to give her back--and I have---that reality doesn't exist anymore. From this point on, I have to chose to make choices that are positive and honoring.
So with that in mind, we move forward with adopting and offering life to 2 sweet little ones. We celebrate our little Eli who has carried me so much more through this year than I have carried him. We pray for a way to be made to go and speak in DC about rear visibility standards. We make a difference in the world. Death will not win. Abigail will always remain a part of our family. I will forever tell her story and tell strangers about her. I will never answer the question how many kids do you have and leave her out just because that is the easy path. But I will also keep moving, especially when I don't want to. You took my heart with you baby girl, but I will LIVE until the day I get to be with you again.
So please, my sweet readers, pray for me this weekend. I have never met many of you, but just knowing you are there helps. I feel your strength behind me when I hit these dark patches. I will need every ounce of that to smile on my son's birthday and not collapse for wanting his sister to watch her baby eat his first cake, to not collapse with the weight of beautiful memories of last March 5th that will never be again.
And to you my sweet Eli. Mommy loves you so so much. I wish I could just simply celebrate you, but everything in life is so complicated and emotional now. I love you so incredibly much. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter blessing that you my youngest. Your smile and your ever present giggle warm my broken heart. I dread this next year with you, but I pray everyday for the strength to enjoy it too.