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!