We are in the midst of Ruthie Lou's month, day 24 of 33 to be exact. Because her life was so short, I can count her days in my head in just a matter of seconds. It has been four years, and undoubtedly it is easier to survive these days than they were in the beginning. Easier, not easy. I am often on the edge of emotions this month, I don't try to be but I am. I retreat, stick more to myself, analyze my life, and separate slightly from many around me. This month (her month) is not any more difficult than any other day(s) of the year but because I can instantly place myself four years earlier and know exactly where we were on each particular day, I livei n two alternate realities in August/September because these memories live so vividly today.
August 9, the day of her birth.
August August 13, the first time I held her
August 15, first time Chris holds her
August 19, private room at Kaiser
August 22, we get horrifying news
August 23, we have to tell our families
August 28, remove life support
August 29, we move to George Mark-first bath, walk outside, sunset, snuggle
August 30, professional family photos
September 2, warm tub time begins
September 3, Blessing Ceremony-family says their goodbyes
September 8, we begin our goodbyes
September 10, Ruthie Lou celebrates my birthday & births into the next world
September 11, we wake in a room without her, our life never the same
I can type that list in a matter of minutes, without looking at one of the hundreds of pages of writing or the thousands pf photos. If I were to consult those, I could give you a minute by minute of each day, and I have. Those days were sacred, scary, hopeful, stressful, heart-filled and heartbreaking, the most anxiety filled days of my existence. And I miss them.
It is not to say that this month is horrible, it is not. In fact the opposite at times. this month is SACRED. At any one time I can reminisce about our life in 2011 and be there in my mind. I can feel the excitment of hot tub day, getting Ruthie Lou ready, putting her much too large swimming diaper on her tiny little baby body. I can feel the joy of holding her in the warm water, her being handed to me and taught how to soothe her, in a way that we never could before. The Rock-A-Bye baby Beatles CD playing in the background with the soft soothing lights as Chris and I share Ruthie Lou and share the photographer duties.
And this, this is why the month still feels sacred because I can feel her still. As strongly as I allow. And this, this is also why working through grief can be so important to healing. The sadness of my daughter dying will never leave. The ache that her absence placed in our life will never be filled. I don't want to live in a life of pain without her, I want to be able to remember her with the joy of those past moments and speak of her openly. Because I have felt it all and because I continue to feel it, speak it and live it, I am able to also remember the joy of those moments, to live in the love and the loss, the sadness and joy, and know life is all of these things at the same time. It is the opposing forces that makes this life so beautiful, to be able to feel both and thrive in my life that continues on, while always loving honestly my daughter that lives on in my heart.
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.