It seemed, this year, that as soon as the clock struck August 1st, my heart grew heavy. August. The month Bella was born. The month that Bella died. It has definitely been a long month as I watch the calendar inch closer and closer to her birthday. There are conflicting emotions fighting for my attention. There is a sadness (obviously) as I miss my baby girl. There is a sense of joy as I reflect back on our journey and look at the place where God has led us. There is also a strange sense of dread this year. I don't remember having this feeling on her last two birthdays. It is a sense of urgency that "Her Day" be remembered well. It is a sense of dread that I do not know what that needs to look like. I am afraid that if she is not thoroughly celebrated on August 30th, that we are doing her an injustice of some sort. This year is difficult in particular because it falls on Labor Day weekend. A weekend that has always been special to my extended family. There are festivities involving parades and rodeos and swimming with the cousins. So how do we celebrate Bella in the midst of all of that? I know that this is just the first year that our schedules have not been clear on her birthday. I'm sure there will be many other obstacles throughout the years. But this year, it is heavy on my heart.
The plan we have come up with is to go to breakfast as a family to reflect and celebrate our daughter--our sister. Our breakfast will be followed by our annual Bella cupcakes. And then we will load up and head to my parents for Labor Day. After a ridiculously busy week, I look forward to a couple hours in the car with my husband where we actually have a chance to talk. And remember.
I felt like it was important to share my true feelings this year, because I am learning that this grief is tricky. Time does not heal. Time might change things a little bit. Time might make things a little more bearable on a daily basis. But time does not heal. God, however, does heal. Yes, my heart and my emotions are a little more raw during the month of August. But God heals.
The main reason I wanted to write a blog post after two years without posting, is to offer hope. I hope that if you are in a similar situation as we were three years ago and you run across this blog, that you can see that our story did not end on August 30th 2011. The author of our story has written a narrative even more amazing than I could have imagined. Heartache, yes. Sadness, yes. But Joy that overflows my cup. Blessings upon Blessings.
Almost exactly on Bella's first birthday, we found out that I was pregnant. It was not unexpected, as we had been trying for a couple of months, but after losing a baby, there is a certain amount of panic that sets in when the tests comes back positive. We relied heavily on God for peace throughout my pregnancy. It was uneventful as pregnancy goes, but the anxiety was just below the surface. When the day of my scheduled c-section arrived, we went back to the exact same OR, the exact same doctors and even some of the same nurses as when we had Bella. The outcome this time was blessedly different. We were delighted that day to find out that God had blessed us with another baby girl. My sweet Ramey Breann. There is no tiny hint of an idea that a new baby replaces a baby lost. But, oh the joy that Miss Ramey brings to our lives. She is now almost 16 months old. And she thinks she is three! She is fiercely independent and has decided that she no longer needs/wants/will tolerate her highchair. She refuses anything "babyish." One time I made the mistake of filling a Snack Trap with goldfish for her and plastic baggies with goldfish for her big siblings. At 14 months, she threw the snack trap on the ground, gave me a dirty look, marched into the kitchen, and marched back to me with a ziplock in her hand. She wanted to big like the big kids! Oh Lordy. Such a perfect mix of sweet and sassy. She is our cuddliest baby by far. She is the perfect completion to our family.
I know that hope following a loss may not always come in the form of a new baby. But there is hope. Seek the Lord for Hope and Peace. For there is none except from him.
(above photos by Three Blessings Photography)