2 Years

Two years ago today, we welcomed a little piece of Heaven into our hearts and lives.  We are forever changed.  We are forever better because of Zoe.

I look at myself in these pictures and my heart hurts for the young mother that I see and the journey she is about to experience.  I see the hope and fear in her eyes and want to tell her that she is stronger than she knows.  That she is about to witness miracles, tender mercies and the greatest eternal lesson.  I want to shake her and warn her of the excruciating pain that she is about to feel.  But most of all, I want to tell her to never give up.  Always trust in Him and you will get through another day.

As a grieving parent, birthdays seem to be more difficult than the anniversary of death. The finality of her passing is easier to comprehend because we were there. We saw her slipping away and grow weaker until her body could handle no more. Birthdays are not that way. There is a layer of grief over what could have been and what will never be. It is for that reason that I think this 2nd birthday has been such a test of faith. 

I woke up today with more joy and enthusiasm than I have in the passed couple weeks. I immediately felt a near tangible break in the fog. My heart was full of gratitude and relief to celebrate with the ones I love most. 

Londyn was so excited to wear all things red, including the necklace her Auntie Steph made with Zoe's picture on it. She also decided to take her photo album and elephant Gracie (whom she has grown very attached to as of late) to show and tell at school.

When we picked her up from school, she showed us a chalk drawing of Zoe's headstone that she made. 

After school we went to Red Robin, one of the two restaurants that we went to with Zoe. We even sat at the same table.

Following lunch we released balloons and sang Happy Birthday at the cemetery. 

This day is so beautiful that I can practically feel her smile through the sunshine.  It has truly been a Zoe day.  Perfect in every way.

Happy Birthday sweet angel.


The Fog

Take a moment to recall the last time you drove on a thick and foggy morning.  For my fellow Oregonians, this is what most every morning looks like to us.  Driving in the fog can be undependable and weary at times.  There are breaks in the fog, when the road looks clear... and others where you're white knuckling the steering wheel and just doing your best to keep your eyes on the dotted line.  As I was driving Lulu to preschool this morning, I found myself in this very fog... physically, mentally and emotionally.  

This past week has been really tough... like can't get out of bed tough.  I am overwhelmed.  I am sad, frustrated and overwhelmed.  I am grieving.  

The days have become longer and more difficult as Zoe's 2nd birthday approaches this Friday, April 11th.  It just doesn't get easier, does it?  I can't help but think of what it would be like if she were still here.  My 2 and 5 year old daughters would be in matching Easter dresses and doing egg hunts together.  There would be two filled baskets on Easter morning, instead of just one.  My heart wouldn't know this continuous ache and I would feel "normal."  

Last Friday, I just couldn't do it anymore.  I couldn't pretend like everything was okay.  I didn't want to pretend like I could do it all any longer.  I stayed in bed catching up on my shows, crying and torturing myself with pictures of Zoe.  Andrew got Lulu to school and brought me treats.  He had a massage scheduled that day for himself and even called to have it transferred over to me.  At least that got me to take a shower.  After one of the best massages I've ever had, I couldn't help but crawl back into bed for more shows, crying and pictures.  This whole time, Andrew never once tried to fix me.  He just let me be me without feeling completely crazy and out of control.  

Later that evening, we visited Zoe and replaced the Valentine's Day decor with Easter decorations that my mom had left for Zoe before going on their mission to Guatemala.  It made me feel better to see all of the beautiful Spring colors and sun shining brightly.  It was there that I started to feel a break in the fog.  

Griefs journey never ends.  It continues to humble and teach me that I cannot do it alone and that I don't ever have to.  Listening to General Conference this past weekend could not have come at a more needed time.  The messages from our Prophet and Apostles fed my soul with the hope and encouragement that I needed.  

The fog is still grey but I'm taking it one morning at a time...