Monday, October 22, 2012
Saturday, October 20, 2012......It was the date of our first born, Gracie's first birthday. The day had birthday balloons, family, a birthday meal, and a birthday cake all included in it.....what was missing from our site.....our beloved birthday girl, Gracie. Some may think it's odd to have a birthday celebration for someone who isn't here on earth with us, but not when you are the parents to a precious little girl that holds tight to their heart strings. Gracie may not have been there in person, but all that was there knew her spirit was with us all day long. It may have been the sense of calmness and peace we felt when we first opened our eyes to a day that we had longed awaited for. Maybe it was the sense of happiness and the giggles from Gracie's "sister" Alex as we decorated her cake Saturday afternoon that let us know she was surrounding us. Maybe it was the fact that when we released balloons by her grave side that they drifted north towards our farm....like she was telling us to go home and celebrate and not dwell by her grave site as we did almost a year ago at her funeral. No matter where we looked and what we did that day, it was just as something....someone was holding you in a comforting embrace. People can believe what they want about death and what happens after the fact, but I truly believe our loved ones bring us comfort and peace from the other side....to help us get through every day. Jeff and I talked about all the details of that day......we looked at the clock in the living room and noted the times when they took me to the OR for my c-section, when she was born, and talked of her smiles, her yawns, her beautiful, alert eyes, her chubby arms and legs, her little ears and her long fingers and toes. We then talked about what the past year has brought us....all the ups and downs and twists and turns......and we wondered how in the world we are still even remotely sane. We have changed so much.....we have developed into new people...people that our old friends may have accepted or may be confused by...either way, we are who we are. We've had to struggle to figure out where we fit in this world when our worlds stopped and the rest of the world kept spinning at super sonic speeds. Somehow we did it.....we did it together. The death of a child forever changes your relationship with your spouse. We look at each other differently....with more love and respect then we could ever imagine. I always knew my husband was a strong and stoic man, but the levels of his strength are more amazing than any could imagine. When I think of his strong face when he carried his daughters casket to her final resting place, that picture is forever burned in my mind....a face that showed sorrow, grief, love and emense pride. This life changing event was the first time I had ever seen my husband cry....and he was able to cry with me. We grieved together and loved together and came out the other side together as a united and strong front. I have no doubt that Gracie saw us through all those very difficult days. She is talked about every day at our house. Her pictures hang prominently on our fridge, living room and bedroom walls. Jeff has a picture of her in his shop so she is never far from his mind or sight. I have pictures of her on my computer slide show at work and her pictures grace my walls at work as well. I don't grow tired of looking at them and they never get old to me. Every time I look at her pictures it takes me back to those hours and minutes that we spent with her....the most precious minutes of our lives. We won't ever get that time back, so we are so grateful for the pictures we have so we can remember everything about that day. As her first birthday grew closer and closer we couldn't help but think about all we had missed out on this last year...all those baby milestones that so many parents get to experience with their children. We are at peace with what life has brought us, but I feel it is only human to think of all the "what if's" there are.....what if Gracie would have lived...what would she look like....what would she be like....and so on. I think we will always think that way and I guess one day our questions will all be answered when we are reunited with our daughter on the other side. For now....we go about our days remembering our precious little girl. We celebrate her life and all the blessings she has brought us and all the blessings she will continue to bring us. Happy Birthday baby girl....Mommy and Daddy love you so much.