The grief was so hard to live with in the year after Ruthie Lou died and especially while waiting for her brother to be born healthy and living. All encompassing fog reared its ugly head over mine for 24 hours every, single day without fail. There was no escaping and I could not possibly see the sunshine through the storm.
I never imagined how returning to a normal life would feel. I couldn't imagine it, for this life after death was not a life that I had yet lived. The "normal" life before my daughter barely resembles our life now, but normal life has returned. The daily stresses, worries, laughter, joy and best of all, peace. It feels good to breathe the fresh air back into my lungs when for so long, I could hardly breathe at all.
And now, here we are again expecting another rainbow (baby). It brings up all the grief, the fear, the longing. It is again, a conscious choice to tend to my heart, to take care of my health. We live with one foot in holding waiting for baby, as the other moves forward in the life we now lead.
But this sacred time of growth also brings hope. The thought of chancing it all for more joy, more love. Can this baby be ours? Is this real? I love this life growing inside me already-that happened so fast! And it is terrifying. I want to wrap this little one up safely and keep him/her to myself until July arrives and then announce to the world, "baby is here, safe and alive!"
But alas, my belly gives me away. It continues to grow in magnitude and beauty and I cannot hide the joy that this baby has already brought to my life. I am a walking billboard for all baby questions, comments and advice. I smile, am gracious and grateful for offered joy but although my skin is thicker now, I am still scared. I want this baby so bad, it hurts.
So while my chest has tightened once again with grief surfacing amongst joy, I know that there is light through this fog. I need only put one foot in front of the other. I make the decision each day to lean into the innocent joy of others and hope with all hope that this is our second happy ending.
All while I wait to smell that fresh air again. Because this time, I know it's there.
Shortly after returning from the hospital to an empty house without my sweet girl, I went for a long distance bike ride on the open road alone. I was climbing a huge hill, the wind beating behind me and smelling the fresh Fall air, thinking of what my life had become. I was talking to Ruthie Lou as I rode, telling her of my undying love and asking her what I was supposed to do with a life that now held no meaning when the thought came, I must live for her. I must wake up each day, put my feet on the ground and greet each day as it is my last and make it the best it can be. I must be the person I always wanted to be, do the things that always held fear for me and truly live for her.
When Ruthie Lou died, life as I knew it ended. Relationships ended. My presumed future ended. Who I had been until that point ended. My innocence ended. But, my life did not end. I wanted it to end, but it didn't. I willed it to end, but it didn't.
As every child does, Ruthie Lou came into my life to make it better, sweeter, full of love and she did, while she was alive. She did not come here to ruin my life, but to see how truly beautiful life can be. I will never un-experience the joy I had when she was in my arms, I could never fall out of love with her. Even though she died, my love never will.
I live for her because she cannot.
I am a mama of three beautiful babes; two boys I have the honor of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.