Envy

I’ve been struggling to write here since finding out I am pregnant. Not because I have a lack of thoughts or feelings, but because I always saw this as Everlee’s sacred space. I have been feeling that writing here about being pregnant was somehow me moving on and leaving her behind. However, after much consideration I have realized that Everlee becoming a big sister is every bit as much about her as it is about the baby growing in my tummy.  No matter how many other children I go on to have, I am, and always will be Everlee’s mom. 

I am going to try my hardest to spend some of my very long days writing here about my experience with pregnancy after stillbirth. 

I’ve been sentenced to bed rest since 18 weeks. I am now 23. There is nothing pressing wrong, it’s more of a preventative measure to protect me from slowly rising blood pressure, and my own anxiety. I have a nurse that calls me every day, and visits every 3 days. They do all of he normal pre-natal visit sort of things – urine dip, blood pressure check, fetal heart rate. Can I tell you how reassuring it is that I get to hear that steady clack-clack-clack of the heartbeat every few days? Still nerve wracking every time, but it gives me some peace. I’m also seeing my OBGYN once a week, and getting bi-weekly ultrasounds/biophysicals. As nervous as I am about everything, I honestly couldn’t be more grateful for the world class health care I am getting. (and in reading some of my american friends‘ blogs, may I also say how thankful I am for the Canadian health care system?) After 5 weeks of bed rest – and almost 3 months to go I’m at a oint now whwere I can’t tell you what the weather has been like, or how much gas costs right now, but I can tell you who was arrested in last night’s episode of cops, and how many hours it is until my next doctors appointment. 

 It has been a long 5 weeks, but I have been able to fill my days and occupy my time. I have some wonderful people who have helped me in doing that. To all of those who taken the time to visit me (sometimes with puppies!!), call, text, facebook, tweet.. thank you! You’ve helped the days pass more quickly, and gave me the strength I need some days to get through and mark another x on the calendar. You’re amazing. 

But what happens when the fear creeps in? What happens when you have so much joy, you become afraid you’re not supposed to grieve anymore? Quite frankly the journey is wearing me out. The ups and downs, twists and turns and then it all stops and spins again. This portion of the journey to becoming a mom of two seems to just spiral out of control sometimes – all while rarely leaving my couch. Everyone is having first birthdays that I just sit on the outskirts of – never forgetting the first birthday we never got to have. I am trying so hard to basque in the brightness and the joy of this pregnancy, but sometimes the fear just takes over, and 5 minutes without a kick in the belly makes me want to run screaming to the case room just to check. 

The bed rest is catching up to me. I can’t go to meetings, or out with friends. I have entirely too much time on my hands. You would think I would write more, but I have built walls around this pregnancy. I’m so focused on getting this baby here safely, I have had to block out some of my grieving. But then, the guilt of realizing I’m not grieving as much seems to make the pain that much more intense when I let my guard own. But then I have to box it up and put it away again because I know I have to focus on this pregnancy and this baby. 

It’s a vicious cycle that is leaving me breathless and a little stir crazy. This is part of a double sided journey. And it makes me envious of all of those other women I know that are blissfully pregnant, and unaware of all of the horrors that I know. How I long for those days of innocence when I didn’t feel like I was jinxing something to want to hang a picture on the nursery wall or post a picture of my growing belly for all to see on facebook.  I hope this pregnant lasts at least 13 more weeks, but at the same time I hope they go by as quickly as possible and that I can embrace both of my children; this baby in my arms and Everlee in my heart. 

Happy Birthday Everlee

There are no frilly pink tutus. No birthday parties. No cake smash photos. No gummy smiles with chicklet teeth. Just me, sitting here on my couch with a swollen belly and swollen eyes. This isn’t the same kind of first birthday that other children have, but it’s a birthday none the less. 4 shots of morphine, 4 doses of Ativan, an epidural, 4 minutes of pushing and 16 hours of labour. At 1:16pm on February 13th, 2013 I heard the words, now tainted and sour, that I had waited almost nine months to hear – its a girl. My beautiful Everlee Rose was born sleeping, much too perfect for this cruel world. And today, as bitter as it is, and as heavy as my heart is, is her first birthday.

I see the vast expanse of my life without you and wonder how I have found the stamina to live on. I lay down at the end of each day and mindlessly hum the lullaby I sang while I carried you. I wake the next morning and brace for another day without you. And as slow as the days seem to crawl, a year has passed in the blink of an eye.

I feel the anguish. I shout and I scream because I miss my daughter so much. I wail, I cry, I emote. I feel the pain until it subsides. Once it does I am able to revel in how beautiful she was. I am able to remember how wonderful it was to carry her inside me for 9 months. None of us are guaranteed or owed a long life. Knowing this makes me appreciate my own life to a degree I never could before I lost her. Every single moment with her was special. Her entire life she was inside of me, being nurtured and loved. She was conceived, lived and died within my body, I was her world, I was with her every second of her existence and I am endlessly honoured. I see the beauty in it. But god damn it, I miss her and it’s so unfair and tragic that she isn’t here to smash buttercream icing through her chubby fingers.

So many people have told me they admire my strength. I brushed that off for a long time, saying I’m not strong, merely that I was forced to cope and survive. I see things differently now. I look back on my blogs from a year ago. I see a broken sad, rumpled little girl who was unsure how she would ever stand on her own again. I see someone who could only measure the success of a day in whether she had thrown herself from a bridge, or not.

I am strong. I am stronger than I ever thought possible. Not because I wanted to be, of course. But because I had to be. As I’ve said before, many people attribute their strength to God. I do not. I attribute my strength to me and my love and adoration for my daughter. It comes from my ability to endure. It’s heightened by my capacity to accept what is despite my lack of understanding of why. It’s present in the way I continually strive to grow and evolve. It’s the human spirit. My strength resides within me and is enhanced by me. I’m no longer ashamed to take credit for it. There are certainly outside sources as well. I gain strength from my husband. I gain it from my friends and family who are still standing by me, holding my hand, showing they care. I gain strength in the love I have found (more than anything). I gain it from fellow bereaved parents who continually inspire and encourage me. I gain it through appreciating and participating in life, one she never got to have. And that’s how I honour her littleli fe and I keep her memory alive. My strength is her legacy. I want to be someone she would be proud to call mommy. That’s my birthday gift to her.

I’ve struggled over the past year with the fact that I don’t get to share my daughter in the way that other parents do. Often, outside of my blog, people find it awkward and uncomfortable when I talk about my daughter. I don’t get to show off her picture. That has killed me.
But today, on her first birthday, I am throwing those thoughts aside. My little girl is beautiful and loved and adored. And people deserve to see her the way we do. There is nothing wrong with her, she’s perfect. Sleeping and perfect, and I am not ashamed of her, So here she is. My beautiful daughter on her first birthday. Her mom’s eyes. Her dad’s nose. And the sweetest, teensiest little lips. All 5lbs and 1oz of perfection. Sleep sweet my beautiful child. Mommy loves you. Happy birthday.

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Where I Am Right Now – 11 Months Later

The flashbacks are like a movie playing in my mind most days. 3D has nothing on my memories. I’m taken straight back to February.  11 short months ago. I remember what the cramps felt like. I remember curling into a ball in my bed begging the pain to stop. I remember my best friend calling and telling me that she thought I was in labour. I remember the look on the doctor’s face. I remember the look on my dad’s face when I got off the elevator after the ultrasound confirmed my worst nightmare (the thought is bringing tears to my eyes as I write this).  I remember wailing for her, and apologizing to everyone for being unable to do what a mother is supposed to. I remember not wanting to tell anyone what had happened. I remember holding her tiny 5lb1oz body for the first and last time. I remember them wheeling her crib out of the room, knowing I would never hold her again.

11 months seems like it has passed in the blink of an eye, and crawled by, all at the same time.

When I found out I was pregnant again, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy nine months. Between worrying about people’s reactions (because contrary to a lot of opinion, this pregnancy won’t ‘fix’ me) and constant concern over what’s happening inside of my stretching stomach, it’s been extraordinarily draining and stressful. And I still have 21 weeks to go.

People tell me it’s going to be ok. They’re trying to be reassuring; they tell me to think positive. But it doesn’t help. I got a lot of “this Christmas will be hard, but next Christmas will be different”. But how do they know? It’s hard for my mind not to wander to that dark place. Because in my experience, when I’m pregnant,  the baby dies. I don’t know what a happy ending feels like.

Everlee is a big sister. These words make me weak in my knees. So many emotions. More than I am able to express in any sort of tangible way. I am so excited. But I am so incredibly scared. What if it happens again? What if something goes wrong? What if people forget about Everlee? That’s the big one – The fear that I haven’t been able to put into words. That’s the reason I haven’t been able to write much. My excitement is overwhelming, but my heart aches from missing my little girl.

While there are no guarantees, no promises, I know this baby is a gift – My very own rainbow. My rainbow that deserves its own excitement, of hopes and dreams.  I have been repressing all of my excitement out of fear. This baby deserves better than that, and that’s not how I want to remember Everlee either, with fear. Not everyone gets a rainbow, and I have to be thankful for that, thankful that my little girl gets to be a big sister.

Happy 11 month birthday, beautiful little girl. 

Fireworks and Rainbows

The worst year of my life is over. A new year has begun and I find myself in a very similar position that I was this time last year: pregnant. 13 and a half weeks pregnant to be exact. Over the moon happy, and more scared than I have ever been in my life.

I have been avoiding my blog since I found out, because I have been so scared to openly admit to the world (and myself) that Everlee’s little brother or sister is nestled quietly in my belly. But with a new year comes new hope. After every great storm, there is a rainbow. I am so grateful to be pregnant with my rainbow baby.

I’ve never had holiday season like this one. So grateful for the baby I’m carrying, and longing for the one that was living inside of me a year ago. Celebrating this baby that I am getting closer to bringing home, while still mourning the one I’ve lost. I’ve never had a Christmas that made me cry tears of joy and sorrow simultaneously. I didn’t realize how much sadness such a beautiful Christmas gift would bring.

2013 was hell in its most pure and raw form. But I am so thankful for your love, your kindness, and above all else your beautiful spirits that have allowed me to find my own spirit that I had so feared I lost in the beginning of 2013. In the greatest sadness, I found the greatest love. I’ll never forget the lessons 2013 has taught me, but I am not sad to see the year go.

2014 will bring many doctors appointments, lots of bed rest, a lot of anxiety and hopefully in June, a little healthy and alive brother or sister for my darling little girl.

Happy new year everyone. Cross your fingers and your toes and raise a glass. Here’s to hopefully happier days ahead.

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Growing Gills

Although I’ve been sleeping more in the last few months since I returned to work, a peaceful sleep still evades me. In the darkness of the nights when I can’t sleep I am consistently haunted by images of that day and that night.

The doctor squeezing my leg and saying “it means your baby died”.

The look on my dad’s face as I got off the elevator after coming from the ultrasound room and screaming at my family not to touch me.

When my in-laws finally arrived and how no one could find any words.

Throwing up from all of the morphine

But none, none of those memories haunt me so much as when I had to lay her in her crib and watch her being wheeled away from me, knowing that I had held my daughter for every second of her life, and that I would never hold her tiny little body ever again. And no matter how hard I try, nothing will ever fill my arms quite the way that she did.

I’ve learned to let the happiness in. I’ve learned that it’s ok to laugh and feel good and feel love again. It’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I can recognize that allowing myself to be happy doesn’t mean I love or miss Everlee any less. I’m also starting to accept the fact that some people will never be ok with me talking about her. That won’t stop me from speaking about her though. She’s my daughter and she’s a huge part of my life and who I am. I will never apologize for that.

Choosing to move a step forward in your grief is such a personal, such an individual thing. It comes on its own time line, with its own rules. When you chose to get out of the habit of talking of your grief, your dead child, its a hard thing to understand.

How do you come back from this type of thing?

You don’t—but you won’t always suffocate on your own sorrow. You will become something else. You will grow gills, and you will breathe in an entirely new way.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s been a hard few weeks. I’ve been avoiding writing here for the last little while because I had felt I was making such strides forward to making this a place of positive reflection. But these last few weeks have really taken a toll on me emotionally. I am so incredibly lucky to have so much love and support from people who make me smile and make me feel loved even when it’s so difficult to love myself.  You know who you are.

So what happened?

Well  firstly, I guess, my dog died. I had had Cabot since I was 11 years old. He was 17 and he was the best dog I could have asked for. I’ve been trying to be rational in my grief over him, trying to keep in mind, he was 17 and lived an amazingly spoiled life for a little doggy.  But it’s like when your 107 year old great grandparent dies – you’re sad for completely selfish reasons, because you’ll miss them and because your life is missing something without them here.  I’ll miss my little buddy’s slobbery kisses, his pissing because he’s so excited and his ability to hear a cheese slice being opened from down the block.

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Secondly, a very dear friend of mine was very badly injured and has been in ICU for weeks. Because of the circumstance, I have had to keep my distance and I know very little about what’s going on with him, and I don’t know when (or even if) I will be able to see him anytime soon. I worry myself sick over how he is, and if they’ll find who’s responsible for hurting him.

Then there’s the holidays looming. I think about the plans I had for this season, the gifts I tucked away last year. The “Parent-to-be” ornament that’s in one of the Christmas boxes that I know is going to send me into an anxiety attack when I find it. I think about all of my friends who will be celebrating babies first Christmas, and all of those happy pictures I’m going to have to see, and feel conflicted about.  Babies first Christmas clothes. Pictures with Santa. Baby bumps in front of a glowing Christmas tree. I want to be happy for them, but more than that, I want to throw up.  And I think about the fake smile I’m going to have to wear because this is the merriest eff-ing season of them all and it’s expected that I be happy, even when I’m sad. And quite honestly, I’m emotionally exhausted just thinking about it.

I used to be a Christmas person. But this year will be different. Very different. I am filled with equal mixtures of dread and determination to get through this holiday without coming completely unglued with grief.  The thought of it suffocates me.  It’s so hard to know that there are so many people like me suffering silently, putting on happy faces, tears in our eyes remembering our lost babies. I’m so ready for Christmas to be over. I have the biggest lump in my throat right now, I just want to throw up all of this sadness and start over. This is so utterly heart wrenching sometimes I wonder if I can wake up another day and do it again.

Before my daughter died, I had always imagined that child-loss must feel like a guillotine… bang!! Your head rolls off, blood spurts out of your neck hole and that’s that. You are a goner. It’s not that easy or quick. It eats you from the inside out, twisting your bones, wrenching your muscles, straining your nervous system and turning your skin into papery thin wrap. It’s waking up one day, deep in a hole with no flashlight. You hear a hundred and fifty-two voices at once. You feel like you need to outrun them. Hurry. You bump into everything, and your energy gauge is empty before you’ve even left the house. But you have to keep going, and not let everyone know just how tangled in the mind you are. And life keeps moving forward. You smile, and you stand under the mistletoe.

Merry Christmas.

Recognized.

This will be short.

Five months ago I wrote this entry where I asked the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to begin recognizing the life of children born still with a stillbirth certificate.

This week I got a call from Service NL and was told that systematic changes have taken place, all because of my letter. And on Wednesday I picked this up:

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Thank you to Minister McGrath and Minister Crummell and especially to Ken Mullally at vital statistics for making this possible and helping to prevent families from jumping through hoops like I did at the hardest point in my life. I am so proud of my little Everlee for continuing to change the world. Her little life speaks volumes every day.

Choosing Happiness

I’ve spent a lot of time punishing myself.  When your baby dies it’s hard to see beyond the fact that you feel like a failure as a parent, and a human being.  As a mother, my only job was to keep my baby safe and alive. And I failed. Was it my fault? No. I know that. But the overwhelming sense of guilt sometimes causes me to punish myself for feeling anything but incredible sadness.

It’s hard for anyone who hasn’t walked in my shoes to imagine. The only  way I can possibly draw some parallel for those with living children is to imagine a time something has happened to your child – a bumped head or a scarped knee- because you maybe turned your back for a second. Imagine that guilt. Imagine how you questioned in that instant “if only I hadn’t turned my back for a second?”. Imagine that times about eight hundred million. I will always question what I could have done differently to save her, and I will always feel guilty that I am the one that lived while she was the one that died. It’s a mother’s guilt.

I’ve been trying very hard for the last little while to wake up and choose to be happy that day. Happiness has to be a choice for me.  I don’t just wake up feeling that way. I wake up every day with a feeling of emptiness, and that looming sense that something is missing. I honestly believe that every day for the rest of my life will have that hole in it. I will always wake up feeling sad and confused and empty Therefore, I have to make the conscious choice that despite everything that is missing, it’s still OK to feel happiness.  I deserve to be happy.  Worrying and punishing myself will never change the outcome of what has happened.  I have to start treating the world better than it has treated me, or I will never have a good day again.

These last two months I feel like I have turned a corner on my grief.

I still have awful days. I didn’t anticipate how hard Halloween would be. It makes me fear Christmas. I sat on my couch, home alone on Halloween night, begging to the universe not to send any more trick-or-treaters to my door. I cried my heart out over a “my first Halloween” sleeper that I had bought last year. I hugged it to my chest and cried. I cried because I should have been out with Everlee in her octopus costume. I cried for all of my lost dreams.

But those days are becoming farther between. I’m choosing every day to find some happiness, and to feel the love that I am so lucky to have found in my life.  I can’t believe that when things change I will be happy, instead now I am trying to believe that when I am happy things will change. I have found a place where I accept that I can be happy, and be still be sad and be grieving at the same time.  I don’t need to feel guilty when I laugh, or when I love. It’s not betraying my daughter to find happiness in my life.

Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day. 

28 Lessons in 28 years

For as long as I can remember, my birthday has been my favourite day. I’ve always been the kind of person who craves being the centre of attention, so it’s only natural that a day focused solely on the celebration of me would be my most favourite holiday (yeah, it’s a holiday in my mind). When I turned 27 last year I lamented on how my birthday would never be the same again. I remember Darcy telling me that the day would no longer be all about me anymore, that next year I would be a mom, and the day would inevitably be about doing something with our child.

How little we knew.

Yesterday was incredible. The best day I’ve had since last year, easily. Darcy gave me at new smart TV for my birthday (I can finally watch the news and On Point! It has an antenna so I can pick up CBC). I got two bouquets of flowers, a bottle of champagne, a bottle of wine and a Starbucks card at work. A very dear friend took me out to lunch, I went to the works for supper and an amazing friend called into the restaurant and picked up the tab (so incredibly sweet!!) , Got to talk to my family in Ontario and my God baby and her brother (and their lovely momma) and ended the evening with some champagne. It was just an amazing amazing day. THANK YOU to everyone who took time out of their day to help make my day so special. I am so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life.

I’ve always liked to reflect on things that a new year of life has taught me, and this year, more than most, I have learned some of the harshest lessons that reality has to offer.  But, I have had 28 years to learn all kinds of valuable life lessons, and in the spirit of beginning another trip around the sun, here are 28 things I have learned at 28.

 

  1. Happiness is a choice. The past will hurt you if you choose to let it. You can grow stronger from pain if you don’t let it destroy you.  This has become my everyday reality for the last 9 months. I constantly have to remind myself that I can choose to be happy. That I have to take everything as a bump that will make me stronger. Even in my sadness I can find moments of happy and it’s one of the hardest things that I have ever done. 
  2. When you change it doesn’t mean others are changing with you.  I have been blessed to have some of the most amazing people in my life. The saddest part about growing apart is that people seldom do it at the same time. For various reasons people come and go in life, but what’s important is never forgetting what those people taught you.
  3. If you love someone, tell them. You never know when it might be your last chance. Love without fear. Your heart won’t lie to you. 
  4. You can never take too many pictures. Someday you’ll long to have evidence of those memories you hold dear. There are periods of my life that I wish I had more pictures of, even now. My time in England, high school, my pregnancy. Take the time to stop and smile. You’re beautiful. 
  5. Never let making a living get in the way of making a life.  A lesson taught to me early in my university life by the incredible Tom Brophy.  I am not my job. 
  6. Learn when to say, “no”. If you are always agreeable, people will take advantage of you.  Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person, sometimes it just makes you a realistic one. 
  7. Stay true to your friends ALWAYS.  They’ll save your life in more ways than one. 
  8. Some people are jerks.  They’re not worth your time so don’t waste your breathe. Sometimes you have to give up on people. Not because you don’t care, but usually because they don’t.  
  9. Always wear incredible underwear. Even if you’re the only one who will see it that day. Good underwear make you feel like you can take on the world. 
  10. Don’t let comparing yourself to other people steal your joy.  I am not anyone else. They haven’t walked in my shoes. We haven’t had the same experiences. I will never be them. They will never be me. 
  11. Try not to be so hard on yourself. If someone talked about you the way you talked about yourself, would you be friends with them?
  12. Care about your appearance. This might go against every other “life lesson” list that you have ever read, but it’s completely ok to take pride in how you look. Do your hair, put on your makeup, and always dress up instead of dressing down. You’d be amazed what it does for your confidence, and you’ll never know who you’ll impress that day (especially yourself!) 
  13. Never let anyone borrow money. Give it away if you must, but don’t expect it back. Too many friendships have been sacrificed to unpaid debts. 
  14. Be thankful more often. Saying thank you, and honestly meaning it, is one of the most important interactions you can have with another person. 
  15. You don’t need everyone to like you. If everyone likes you, you’re doing something wrong. 
  16. Believe in something.  God, science, humanity, yourself; we all need something to believe in.
  17. Bad things happen to good people. Believing anything else will cause you to lose faith in the world. Everyone has their own pain. It’s what you do with the pain that matters
  18. Take time to step out of your comfort zone. That’s where you’ll shine the most. 
  19. Speak when you’re angry and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret. Calm down. Think before you speak. 
  20. Sometimes people thousands of miles away from you can make you feel better than somebody right beside you. You know who you are.  Some of the best and most amazing people I know are the ones I have spent the least amount of physical time with.  Sharing physical space with you is amazing, but it’s not needed to make you the most incredible friends. 
  21. No relationship is ever a waste of time.  I have been in some REALLY shitty relationships.  I don’t regret any of them. They taught me exactly what I needed to know at that moment. I could have been spared the pain and heartache, but I will forever be indebted for those lessons. They have made me the fiercely loyal and assertive person I have become.
  22. Winnie the Pooh holds many secrets to life. Seriously. The bear is WISE. 
  23. Open communication is key. If you have a problem with someone, tell them. Don’t shy away from confrontation. Passive-aggressiveness will get you nowhere. 
  24. Friendship is not a conditional thing. If you’re my friend, be my friend, do not be my friend under certain circumstances. If you decide to do that, you were my never my friend to begin with and I do not need you in my life.
  25. Just because is the best reason to do something nice for someone else. 
  26. Words to live by:  Picture yourself as a cup and Love as water. First you must fill the cup completely and it will overflow and spread around you. If you just spill it everywhere, you’re left empty. A dear friend taught me this when I was 15 and it literally saved my life.
  27. Beauty comes in all sizes.  Not just a size 5, or 12, or 16 or 22. ALL  SIZES.  Scales belong on a  fish. Health. Health is what’s important. If you’re not healthy you’ve got nothing.
  28.  Love yourself. Above all else. Love yourself. 

 

 

 

 

 

Lies

When she died I had a choice.  I could give up or I could go forward.  For a moment the choice was absolutely clear.  When I was told that she was dead,  in that moment,  I could have followed her along directly.  A leap off the building.  A knife.  The wall and my head. But then right away thoughts of family and friends flooded my brain.  I had to be strong because this situation was already going to screw everything up forever and I couldn’t also double down and make it worse.

So for many, many months, not killing myself was the baseline I had established as “doing pretty good.”   Plus, when you start there, getting out of bed is like successfully climbing Mt. Everest.  I gave myself accolades for simply going outside for a little while.  But those impulses kept growing, kept beating in my heart, kept pushing me forward.  I learned to lie. “I’m ok”.  I learned to breathe again.  And yet I’m still not sure I can reconcile what my life should be versus what it is today, right here. Everything is always coming next, and it is the incredible human spirit that allows us to face the day and tell the lies and forge the hope we have no right to expect and yet we do.

I’m used to the lies by now.  They are common and easy to say.  I say them for the sake of other people, but also for myself.  I have to lie so that I’m not always the one that sucks the air out of a room, even if that room is the entire outdoors on a glorious fall day and someone has questions about me, about my life, about how I’m doing.  There is no point in ruining every idle conversation and friendly chatter with truth about my dead daughter, Everlee.

You’re welcome everyone that I have spared the honest recounting of my recent life.  It is the absolute least I can do, and it cuts me with a slice of sadness every time I do it.  Eight months since she died and it is still recent to me.  Because it is not so much that time has healed my wounds as much as it is that the wounds themselves are the very nature, the very fabric, of my everyday existence.  I miss Everlee as a matter of course, just like breathing, just like moving my body, like blinking, like the beat of my heart.

I am still amazed to have learned that a heart can remain beating when it feels like only dust and awful and the endless void inside.  I am compelled to go forward, no matter the pain of my past.  If anything, her lost life is a fuel for me to live twice as hard, twice as present, twice as calm as I ever would have before. 

This weekend I celebrated my 28th birthday. (My birthday is actually next Monday, but for scheduling purposes I held my celebration this weekend). My birthday has always been my favourite day. I remember having to scale back my celebrations last year because I was beginning to get to that stage in pregnancy where going out just wasn’t a wise choice. I remember thinking at the time that maybe for my 28th birthday the baby, Everlee, could have her first sleepover to that we could have a party at the house once again.

How silly. I had no right to expect that to happen.

I was truly on the fence about whether I wanted to celebrate this year. It seems to me that I don’t have much to celebrate most days. But I had to push forward. I am so glad that I did. I am constantly reminded at every turn, that despite how incredibly tragic my life has been at this juncture, I have also been incredibly blessed with people who stand by me, people who will take the time to lift me up when I can barely life my head to look at the world. I had an amazing night. With amazing people.

Am I ok? No. I don’t know when I’ll be able to say “I’m ok” and mean it when people ask me how I am. But those little lies get me through that minute, that hour, that day. Convincing other people is easy. And maybe if I have enough of those little moments of good, soon I’ll start to believe the lies too. And maybe someday soon they’ll become my truth again.

Thank you everyone for making this weekend something truly special for me.