Reminders of love

I was sorting through Christmas decorations this weekend, purging a bit because we’ve got too much. I came across both of these treasures that I haven’t seen in a few years because they were buried in Santa hats and ribbons. One is a note that was on a present for my husband the first Christmas after we moved to Seattle. He was having a hard time finding his way around, getting lost all the time, so the family and I got him a GPS for his car. He loved it. The note says, “We don’t know what we’d do if we ever lost you.” That was our last Christmas with him.

The second is a note Steven wrote to me 15 years ago at Christmas time, telling me how much he loved me and how Christmas was so wonderful now with our two girls. He told me I was amazing and beautiful and a great mom, and he told me how much he was looking forward to us watching our daughters grow up. He signed it “Your husband, Steve” as he always signed notes to me, which always made me smile.

I remember the first time I came across this letter in my decoration boxes. It brought me to my knees. Now I keep both of them in my Christmas bins so that I can pull out and sit with those memories each year. Sometimes they make me sad but usually they make me smile and feel warm because I’m so grateful for the love and the life we shared. I adore the ways in which he still manages to stay so present in our lives and the ways he reminds me that I am so worthy of love. ❤️

Grief pregnancy is not for the faint of heart

There is no part of being pregnant AFTER your husband dies that is not surreal. Everything to do with it is all kinds of crazy.

There is no part of being pregnant AFTER your husband dies that is not surreal. Everything to do with it is all kinds of crazy. The sharing the news with friends and family: weird. Shopping for maternity clothes and car seats: weird. Crying while looking at diapers and baby clothes: scary. Doctors appointments and blood work and pee tests: weird. It’s all too much really. It’s such a bizarre thing, having this happiness and goodness get in the way of your sadness. Because the sadness has to be there, you have to go thru it, there is no skipping it. So you are just stewing in this combined pit of emotion. It was exhausting.

Pregnancy in itself is exhausting, so to add on to it dealing with this gut wrenching loss and my two little girls – I was beyond tired. I can remember a few occasions, driving home with my girls at night and feeling my eyes so heavy that I was sure I wouldn’t make it without falling asleep. More than once I’d be at a red light and asked the girls to tell me when it turned green so I could rest for a few moments.

PbxhhhI was sure that I was pregnant with a boy from the get go. It made sense to me. And also, having already had 2 girls, it would be harder so of course it would be a boy, right? I brought the little girls with me to my 20 week ultrasound appointment. I’d already two but this was the biggie. This one would tell us if it was a boy or a girl. With my other two babies, I didn’t find out the sex. It drive my husband crazy not to know. He humored me on the first but with the second, he really wanted to know. And with the second they couldn’t tell – at every appointment her body was situated in such a way that they just had no idea. So this was my third time down this road and I was sure it was a boy but my girls were sure it was a girl. They were already planning and their plans did not include a boy.

The appointment that day felt extra weird – I was really worried that a problem was going to be discovered. I just couldn’t shake the feeling my entire pregnancy that something was going to go wrong. And I was really worried that the girls would be there for the news when they were jumping out of their skin to find out pink or blue. I had declined early testing because I just thought I couldn’t handle it if results came with tragic news. Now I was laying on the table rethinking that decision as my girls both held onto my hand.

All was fine. It was a normal, very healthy baby. And it was a girl. I asked them to recheck and check again because, damn was I sure it was a boy. But it was unmistakable. My sweet daughters laughed and hugged each other and were so very glad it was a girl. It felt good to see them so happy – about anything at all at the moment. But this baby felt like such a monumental thing in our lives and we were all in it together. Their happiness made it so much easier to bear.

And while I was listening to their laughter and I was looking at the ultrasound screen, a tear ran down my cheek that no one saw. I’ll never regret this baby being a girl. But just for a moment there, I felt sad. I felt like I lost another little piece of Steve. I had this image in my head of a dark and curly haired adorable boy that looked just like his dad, running circles around all of us and making us constantly think about him. That little boy wasn’t coming but it didn’t matter. The girl that took his place lit up our world in the most amazing way – and not constantly thinking of him wasn’t ever an option. I see the best of him everyday in all of his girls. His soul shines through all of us.

Soulshine – The Allman Brothers