What does normal life for us even look like? We are not actually sure and to be honest, is normal possible after planning your own child's funeral? We are in Radium, B.C., with my family and I find parts of myself are still here, but that I struggle to find the 'old Amy' from before Hope joined our family. I find myself laying on the couch and lazily watching the rest of my family doing things for myself or for Shawn and Sadie. I struggle to get up and do things at times and find myself tired. In the mornings Shawn and I usually snuggle with Sadie for a bit, but then send her to my parents or my sister to be taken care of while we sleep in. I feel badly at times, but also realize that we need the sleep right now and we should take advantage of having them all here.
In the midst of our sorrow and the pain of losing Hope, we also feel freedom. We have been in hospital or isolated at home for the last 13 months of our lives too. It feels weird to wake up late each morning and not have somewhere to be. It feels wrong to not rush to the hospital. It feels incredible to have Sadie with us all day and not send her off to be raised by someone else. I have spent more time with Shawn in the last week than I have in 13 months. In some ways we are a family again, yet our family is smaller than it was ever meant to be.
I find it too difficult to pick up my nephew. He is so much younger than Hope, but feels the same size in my arms and makes my heart ache too deeply. I hear myself refer to 'our girls' before I realize we only have one now. I say 'my kids' and realize it is no longer a plural statement. I don't know if these things will ever get easier.
On Tuesday before we left for Radium, Shawn and I went to the funeral home and picked up Hope's ashes. For the first time since August, we brought Hope into our home to stay. We had talked about spreading her ashes in different places and lots of other beautiful ideas. Now that Hope is back with us, we do not feel we are ready to let her go. One day we hope to spread her ashes somewhere beautiful, but for now we want to keep her with us. We may become that creepy family that carries her around for years, we don't care.
On our way out of the city, I managed to walk into the Children's Hospital to drop something off for the nurses on Hope's old unit. It was painful and I know I need more time before I can go back with Sadie to visit all of the amazing people there. It was good for me to get that "first time back" out of the way and to know that next time it won't be the first and I can go in knowing that it's ok.
We continue to feel so loved by all of those around us and are so blessed by our community. I often wish Ellen or Oprah were personal friends of mine so I could have them do wonderful things for all of the people that have selflessly served our family. I dread the day Shawn returns to work and yet I know we need to have a more normal routine. Until then, I cherish this time with my family and daily miss the feeling of Hope cuddled up in my arms and the sound of her voice when I walked into her room each morning. I miss her big blue eyes, I miss everything about her.