Haddie Bo Bo,
As the year comes to a close, I think it’s natural to find yourself reflecting. I remember writing a post last year about still being “stuck” in some areas of my life because of my grief. While I would like to sit here and tell you that I moved forward in all of these areas I cannot. But I can tell you that I took steps forward, some backwards, but forward again and I can say that I am in a better place now.
Today we drove home from Emily and Aaron’s house in the dark and it was a winter wonderland. For some reason this made me think about your funeral. Looking back and remembering that day is really the oddest feeling. I cannot believe I lived through it and survived it. But so many people carried us through. Thinking back to the people who have come in and out of lives and still showed up. We lived life with them for a season, we don’t see them now, but we still love them. Thinking of those people that showed up for us, in our tragedy, I felt bad. I feel bad. That they had to come (because they wanted to) to a funeral for a beautiful little girl, that should still be alive. That they had to see our pain, our rawest moments. Trust me they were NOT pretty. It strange to think that people that have maybe only seen us in our professional world, or acquaintance world, or just our fun hang out world, had in that moment been thrust into this moment of deep feeling, deep emotions, uncontrollable grief. Now here they are at our daughter’s funeral, watching us weep, probably trying to imagine what it’s like and that SUCKS.
I still cannot believe that we walked behind your casket into a room filled with people that came to support us. It is so surreal. I remember walking in and not being able to look out and see everyone. I was scared to make eye contact, because I didn’t want them to have to see me. Does that make sense? I see pictures of me and I don’t recognize myself. How did I get up out of bed, dress myself, and stand there next to your coffin for two hours.
I am going to try to type out these thoughts not knowing if they will make sense. But here it goes…. How did God choose you to die? I remember the moment so clear, “The police were called out to your day care today and your daughter has passed away.” For a split second we didn’t know which daughter, so we screamed, “Which one?!” Hearing your name, “Hadley” was soul crushing, devasting, the worst feeling ever. But it would have been that way if they said, “Eloise or Fitz”. So I find myself wondering why you? This was God’s plan for you? You fulfilled your purpose in your short 9 months of life? Were you born just to die?
This year I followed the journey of a girl, who died from cancer. Her story is completely different than ours and I cannot imagine the pain of watching your child suffer and them taking their last breath. After she passed, my heart ached for her family. I knew what the activities of the next few days would hold for them and it is just awful. I hated it for them. I hated it for me. There were times that I would reach out because I wanted to, but I had no “words of wisdom”. Just because my child died too does not make me an expert. You still have no words to say, no advice, just a common understanding that it sucks, and your life has changed forever. I think that as a fellow grieving parent I found I had even less to say. I just encouraged them to be kind to themselves and whatever they are feeling, whenever they are feeling it, is ok. They don’t have to explain themselves to anyone. Many times, I don’t have the words to explain myself even if I tried.
Haddie, you have not been forgotten or missed less this year. We had a good Christmas, which I didn’t think was possible. It doesn’t mean we missed you less, or that we hurt less. It is truly just our normal, sad and happy, all woven together. I have come to realized that being happy isn’t betraying you and being sad isn’t taking away from Eloise and Fitz. This is OUR life and if we are laughing one minute and crying the next that is ok. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. God never said we will have an easy life when we chose to follow Him. He never promised us a life filled with happiness. I am learning (not there yet) that it’s ok to be happy, it’s ok to be sad, even at the same time.
I love you Haddie,