Thursday, January 5, 2012

Reflections of a year past and hope riding on a new beginning

     Lately, I've been reading some of my posts from the previous year.  Man, what a rough year it was, full of so many ups and downs.  A year of milestones, a year of survival...my first year without her.  I remember this time last year, just wanting to forget 2010, to leave it behind me like it never happened.
     It was definitely a roller coaster ride.  Normally I'm one who LOVES roller coasters, but not the emotional ones.  January passed quickly without too much change.  Then came the epic failure of February.  The birth of my nephew brought a range of emotions I wasn't ready to face.  I was so disappointed in myself for not being able to hold him or touch him. I could barely even look at him.  I missed out on a chance to meet a sweet little boy just beginning his life in this world.  I will always hate myself for that.  Although he's now at the age when he screams at strangers (and yes I'm considered a stranger due to distance, 3 hours is a long way to drive; I wish we lived closer together), we've had a pretty good run since he was born.  He's definitely my buddy...I love that little guy and I promise to always make it up to him. 



     As I struggled with my own emotions, I watched many of my BLM friends celebrate 1st birthdays and 1st angelversaries, knowing that Addie's would be here before I knew it.  I dreaded her birthday.  In the beginning I wonder if I could even make it a whole year without my daughter.  Thankfully, I have such a wonderful, supportive bunch of people around me and MANY things to help keep my mind off of the inevitable passing of August 27.  In March my Molly Bear came.  For those of you who don't know what Molly Bears are, they are bears hand stuffed to the weight of your child.  So I now posses an 11lb bear that I love to death.  It reminded me so much of what it was like to hold her; a wonderful gift I was so afraid I would forget.  Now, whenever I'm feeling sad or even just want to cuddle, I pick her up and am reminded of the little girl I never got the chance to meet.



     We got a chance to really get away in May.  I think we needed it;  I know for sure I needed it.  The weight of the past year was really getting to me.  My mental state was quickly returning to just after we lost her.  So, we took our first real vacation in almost 2 years.  We spent 7 days on a cruise ship, touring the Bahamas and southern Florida.  One of the best vacations I've ever been on.  I can't wait to do it again.  It was certainly a welcome break from real life.


     As her birthday drew closer, I worked feverishly to complete the set of 10 memory boxes I planned to donate to the hospital where she was born.  In February of this year I created On Her Wings, a nonprofit organization that would benefit families like my own.  Our first project was to begin the boxes.  We also raised money and took part in the local March of Dimes March for Babies.  Our team raised over $700 and walked 6 miles that day.  My mom and I met with hospital officials as the day drew closer.  I am amazed at how very receptive they were.  The Women and Children's department wants to do so much more and they want our help!  Addison's legacy will live on and I am so proud of that fact!  The 10 memory boxes were indeed completed and donated just after her birthday, on 30 August.  






     August 27th came as quietly as it left.  For the longest time I wanted to have a huge birthday celebration for her, but as the day drew close I realized that I didn't want to be surrounded by people.  I wanted to celebrate her life with the person who helped create her and only him.  I know, selfish right?  But I wasn't ready to face such an emotional day with others around.  So we decided to take a trip.  Shore plans were cancelled because of a hurricane, so we headed to the mountains of West Virgina, Canaan Valley to be exact.  On a cliff high above the Blackwater River, we wished our girl a happy birthday.  It was a much needed getaway, though not what we had planned.  It was time we needed together, just the 2 of us.  God I miss her...more than anything, I wish I could have met her on the outside; I would give anything to see her smile.






   With her birthday past, my mind began to wander.  I didn't have the memory boxes to keep me occupied, I no longer had my Illuminate class to keep me busy with pictures...and now the holidays were approaching.  I was scared at how I would react this year.  I HATED the holidays.  But this year...well, it was different.  I welcomed the holiday season, cooked and baked like mad and just plain enjoyed being with my family and friends.  I even hung her stocking this year.  It felt right; and, better yet, it looked right.  She belongs right there with the rest of us.


    I began a new project to help me keep my mind off of things.  Doubly, I'm hoping it helps me to improve my photography skills.  I've chosen to participate in Project 365 and I've made my theme "things that make me smile."  I hope that in doing this, I will force myself to look for things that I enjoy, things that I am thankful for every day, things that give me a reason to smile.  That's why Lighting the Way Through Grief has become my second home/blog.

     What a year it has been.  In a way I'm glad to see it go.  I survived the one milestone I never thought I could.  It's been rough, dealing with her birthday while trying for a rainbow, but we made it through.  And, 2012 promises to be a wonderful year...

     I was and still am somewhat hesitant to reveal this.  But, a wonderful friend convinced me otherwise.  Thank you, Melissa, for giving me the courage.  Despite the fact that I know anything can happen, here goes...



 After what seemed like an eternity of trying, and reading about all of my friends announcing new pregnancies, I can finally say we are expecting a RAINBOW!  These are the first u/s pics, taken on December 20.  Today, I am almost 10 weeks.  The phrase "cautiously expecting" doesn't even describe what I'm feeling right now.  Some days, I feel so disconnected, like it's not real.  Almost as if I'm too afraid to get attached to this baby.  Other days, I'm ecstatic.  Those days tend to outnumber the others, thankfully.  The baby will be delivered around the middle of July, but the EDD is August 4.  We told our families on Christmas Eve.  Actually, we "revealed" to our families.  For P's side, we wrapped up a onsie and t-shirt for our nephews to unwrap.  For my family, I was wearing a "Bun in the Oven" t-shirt under my sweatshirt and revealed at the most opportune time.  Both plans seemed to work really well.  We definitely made a lot of people cry.  I toyed around with starting a new blog, and I did, at one point, write on a private blog.  But, this baby is a much a part of our lives as Addie.  And this blog is about my journey to live again after a broken heart.  Addie will always be a part of our lives.  Besides, 3 blogs is enough for now!

     2012 begins, full of hope, for my family.  I wish everyone else out there in blog land the same kind of hope!



20 comments:

Molly said...

You just brought tears to my eyes! So happy for you!!! Wishing you all the best!!

Sarah Erwin said...

Mary! What a BLESSING!! I'm so happy for you and will be praying for you and your little one!

Natasha said...

Congrats again Mary! So very happy for you guys and I'm definitely saying lots of prayers!

My New Normal said...

Congrats! That's wonderful news.

paula said...

congratulations!!

Amy L. said...

Beautiful post. Congratulations on conceiving your rainbow! I feel so lucky to have you and other women walking this path ahead of me, showing me how the emotions can ebb and flow and how hope can really work its way in. Hugs to you!

Tiffany said...

When I saw your blog post just now, I was hoping this announcement was at the end of it! Congrats! So happy for you guys! And what a great Christmas present for your families!!

Mandy said...

Congratulations! I know you have been waiting so long for this and I have been waiting for it to happen for you so I am sooooo happy to read this news!! I pray that your pregnancy goes by quickly and drama-free. Hope you are feeling well-ish :)

Addi's mom said...

Wonderful news! So happy that Addie is going to have a little sister or brother. Pregnancy after loss is so hard, but I know that ttc phase takes such a hard toll. Wishing you some peaceful days ahead!

Melissa said...

It is hard to look at where we've been isn't it? But also hopeful to know that we've made it through too. And while our grief journey missing our babies will likely never be over, I am glad you can find some slivers of hope too. I look forward to welcoming our rainbows together this summer, and travelling through this journey of pregnancy after a loss together. =) I'm glad you decided to break the news.

Sherri said...

YES! I'm truly so happy for you! Hoping everything pregnancy wise goes quickly and smoothly!!!!!!
Huge Hugs!!!!!!

Deanna said...

What wonderful news! Sending lots of prayers. I am so happy for you, congratulations!!! ((hugs))

Shell said...

Mary, congrats and so happy for you!

Crystal Theresa said...

i am catching up on blogs and just read your wonderful news. congratulations, sweetie! are you on facebook? there is private group there that is so helpful. some of the ladies there will be familiar to you ;). <3

Becky said...

What a great way to start off the new year. I know pregnancy after loss is not easy, even a scary road to venture down, but we are all here to support you. Congrats!

Sarita Boyette said...

Oh, Mary, what wonderful news! When I looked at your blog just now, I saw "Rainbow Diaries" at the top and I wondered what good news you might be announcing! My thoughts and prayers will be with you as you travel this journey with your rainbow baby. Addie will be a big sister - what joyous news! xoxo

Stefanie said...

Holy Cow! Congratulations Mary! I am so excited for you. Sending you many prayers and love!

Priscilla said...

I'm super late on this, but CONGRATS!!!! I'm so excited and hopeful for you! Can't wait to see what this year holds for you! :)

Hannah Rose said...

Congratulations! So happy for you :)

I have been to Canaan valley several times skiing with family. I love it there, so beautiful.

I love the boxes you created for the hospital. I am working on the same thing in honor of my daughter, Lily Katherine's second birthday coming on March 16.

I didn't want to be around lots of people on her first birthday and don't plan on it this year either.

I'd love to have you follow my blog as well: www.roseandherlily.blogspot.com

NewYearMum said...

Congratulations... wonderful news :)) So happy for you :)) You've done so many amazing things this year... and so many wonderful things in Addison's name... you are an inspiration and love your photos too :)) Love to you always xoxo

 
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