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These pictures popped up on my Facebook memories this morning & they have been on my mind all day. They’re some of my favorite pictures of us, taken on a hike to Harper’s Ferry five years ago.
It was a drive that we made on a whim, on a rare Sunday that Daddy had off, with perfect weather. Rather than just sit home, we chose to go on a little adventure. I chose a destination that Google suggested on a map & off we went.
Sometimes the best kind of adventures are the ones unplanned….this was one of those times.
They say pictures are worth a thousand words. It’s true. These pictures say it all.
I remember it all like it was yesterday. Walking the trails by the train tracks, crossing the bridges over the Shenandoah River, taking the shuttle bus tour to the battlegrounds & walking through the historic old town…
You girls got to even pet some horses too.
I remember the smiles. Feeling good about being out in nature. Excited about walking the trails to see what’s next; about not knowing where we would end up.
I remember how relieved we were to find that cute little restaurant with outdoor seating on top of a hill & finally being able to sit, drink & eat after all that walking.
I remember the beautiful view from the patio, overlooking the mountains & the trees…
Feeling for a moment that we were in a different place & time; another country, or perhaps even a different world. That for just that moment in time, we weren’t just hanging out in a quiet, little peaceful place only 40 minutes from home…
We were somewhere far, far away…Somewhere I wanted to maybe stay forever.
These are precious memories.
Looking at these pictures brings them back to me. Looking at the ones of you, brings you back to me…not in the way I want, but at least momentarily.
The black & white one especially because…
It wasn’t just a lucky shot. There was no posing or pretending.
It’s just you.
You, our beautiful sweet baby girl. In your purest, sweetest & most beautiful form. Our angel.
With that smile, that’s imprinted in our hearts & minds forever.
This picture, I had framed & sits in our living room everyday. Every time I walk by & see it, I am transported back to this day; this most perfect day.
I am reminded that our precious memories can never be taken away.
And knowing that I could go on for another day, it’s only because I know we’ll all be together again someday…somewhere far far away.
It will be again…another perfect day.
Love & miss you, with all my heart. Mommy
If you ever see these plates on the road, it’s me.
The mother of three beautiful girls; two in this world & one beyond the sea.
She sends us signs sometimes, to tell us she’s ok & that everything’s going to be alright.
Always on our weakest days, giving us strength to continue to fight.
In form of a rainbow, bird, cloud or butterfly; our Haileyfly.
Suddenly appearing in plain sight.
Just as delicate, beautiful, graceful & playful as our baby girl used to be.
Fluttering around, so free. So free.
We smile when we see a Haileyfly, because we feel her spirit near.
A sign of hope, that is so needed, that is so dear.
Never forgotten baby girl. We love you. ❤
Last New Year’s Eve:
“Woke up to the birds chirping outside my window, now the sun is out after 2 weeks of rain. This year was the worst year of my life but it’s taught me so many things. What I choose to take from it I want to share with all of you…the ones that have seen me at my worst and lifted me up from the darkest place: I know there is something better waiting for us at the end of this life. We are destined for certain things & we make choices on others. But this isn’t it, something more… awaits us…I know this because my baby’s given me so many signs & because I can feel her spirit around me, specially today. This is what keeps us going. So just remember that no matter how dark it gets, look for the light…and don’t forget to enjoy the sun after the rain. Wishing you all a healthy happy new year. Don’t be afraid to love & live passionately. We are just visitors here, passing through. Love you all 💜💜“
Today: New Year’s Eve 2016.
Much of what I wrote last year remains true.
We still receive our signs, in more subtle ways; but when we need them the most.
We still feel her beautiful spirit around us, because we include her in almost everything that we do. Every birthday, holiday & each & every milestone; she is there guiding us every step of the way. We keep her alive in our memory, in our hearts & in every breath.
This helps keep us alive, in that way too.
The difference however in the second year…is accepting that all this has be enough. Enough to sustain us. That there can’t & won’t ever be more.
Not just today or tomorrow, but for the rest our lives. Time has moved on for everyone else, but for us, she will stay 10 forever.
The longing takes over in the second year. Longing to turn back time, to have her back in our arms. Missing her to the point of madness.
So. Desperately. Missing. Her.
Her hugs, her voice, her laughter, her smile…
Relying on memories alone to bring her back, even if just momentarily. To see her in pictures, videos or in our dreams, can bring mostly joy now….instead of crushing pain.
I remember being haunted my some words a couple of bereaved moms once said to me in the beginning, “The second year will be worse.” I remember thinking…
How could it possibly get any worse?
Maybe not worse- just different.
The pain- transformed.
One reason is: acceptance. The process itself: excruciating.
First, to have to accept the loss of our beautiful daughter. Second, to accept the amount of unbearable pain that comes with it. Third, coming to terms with the realization that it’s never going away.
That it’s made a permanent home in the very core of our being.
By accepting it, we also now have to learn how to live with it.
Not just to exist….
But to really learn how to live with it.
In this totally different world. Being a totally different person. Living a life we never asked for.
It’s like being reborn & having to start all over. Slowly learning how to walk & talk again. First minute by minute, then hour by hour, day by day. Still now…day by day.
It’s so hard to learn how to walk again, when those big crashing waves of grief knock you down every chance they get. Again & again…
Destroying anything you thought you built in way of protection. So you again try & rebuild. Again & again.
The waves come as easily & fiercely in the second year. Triggered by the slightest memory, a vision, a song…a smell. It doesn’t take much.
You learn to swim a little better each time. You even learn how to float. Floating actually becomes essential.
Because: “The pain doesn’t lessen over time. We just learn how to carry it.”
All the carrying, the crashing, the rebuilding. It’s exhausting.
Sometimes all you can do, is float. But it’s better than sinking. Whatever you do, don’t sink. When it becomes a choice, you cannot sink.
The second year is a bit lonelier too.
By now, many expect us to be back to “normal”. Eager for us to get through it…some maybe even wanting us to get over it.
Others move on. Others forget.
Family & friends wish to have us back the way we used to be.
If only we could.
Losing a child & sibling is one of the most devastating tragedies any human could endure.
In the world of child loss, we not only mourn our past, present & future…we mourn ourselves. We realize early on that things will never again go back to the way they used to be.
Still & worse…in the second year.
It seems that patience & compassion is lost with the grieving after just a such a short time.
Society makes no exceptions.
There are limits on bereavement leave. There are social media limits too. No one wants or knows how to handle misery. It’s easier to live in our ‘pretend’ happy lives…
A friend got a new toaster? 100 likes
A friend is sad? Again? 10 likes…they just want attention.
But where there is bad, there is also good.
True friends. True family. These strong, loving & loyal ones. The ones that still stand by our side, holding our hands. The only ones that really matter. 💜
Without them, there would be no ‘us’.
The good that I’ve learned this second year is: that there is no expiration date on grief, because there is no expiration date on love. That “grief is just an extension of love.”
So if we talk about her, remember her & cry for her…it’s not because we haven’t accepted she’s gone.
It’s because we have.
Grief is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s brought us the gift of love & provided us with this remarkable strength we are so thankful for.
Even in our darkest days, we will continue to use it to hold each other up & to try to live life the best way we can, in Hailey’s honor.💜
In this second year- love still wins. 🦋
She may be gone from this Earth, but never from our my minds, never from our hearts.
“Accept the good. One day at a time.”
The pain of losing you
Makes it hard to breath
Makes it hard to sleep
Trying very hard
Not to harden underneath
Just miss my sunshine
That beautiful smile
For those warm hugs & kisses
I’d walk a million mile
Just promise me baby girl
To wait for me
If I can make it through
Wait for me on the other side
Behind those skies of blue
Promise me and I’ll promise you
In my arms you’ll be
Then hand in hand
We’ll fly the skies together
And swim through every sea
We’ll be together once again
For all eternity.