It seemed fitting to start writing again today, one month after my last entry. I don't have a good reason for the absence. At first I didn't have the desire, then life was busy and we were at the cottage with no internet.
Lots has happened in only 4 weeks. Shawn and I have had the freedom to dream once again. In July, we went on a road trip with some friends and spent time in Tofino, Victoria and Vancouver. This used to be an annual tradition, but last year this trip was not an option for us. Shawn was elated to be back in the water surfing with his brother and seeing him there was a blessing for me, he was happy.
During our stay in Tofino, my mom called to let me know that my Nannie (her mom) was not doing well. On July 16th, my 97 year old Nannie went to be with Jesus, and meet Hope for the very first time. I was honestly jealous of a godly woman going to be with Jesus and feel no more pain. I look forward to that day and pray that I will have a legacy like my Nannie did. She loved Jesus entirely and it showed in her life. I like to picture Hope getting to know her and having her love on Hope like she did on me as a small child. Losing my Nannie was difficult. I had longed to come and see her, fearing she would not live for too much longer. Nannie died less than 2 weeks before I would have finally been able to see her after 2 years of not being able to. That was painful and I felt frustrated that God would take her now, yet I don't blame her for wanting to go.
Shawn and I debated about what to do. I desperately wanted to be at the funeral. I wanted to be with my mom as well. Sadly, I was not in a strong enough place emotionally. Shawn and I both agreed that being in a funeral home, next to a casket and in the face of death so quickly would likely be damaging to my grief journey and only make it more painful. I missed the funeral I swore I never would.
On July 25th, Sadie and I flew to Ontario for a vacation and some time with family. I was able to see my grandparents (my dad's parents) for the first time in 2 years. I especially cherished this time after losing Nannie. Then, on July 26th, we had a celebration of Hope's life. It was a night I had pictured in my mind a million times. I longed for the day that Hope would finally be stable enough to come to Ontario and meet the friends, family and strangers alike that had been praying for her. So many people that we cared about and longed to introduce our little miracle to. Flying to Ontario with only one little girl was not easy, one hand remained empty. This entire trip has been a mixture of beauty and pain as a result. I'm so happy to be able to come again, yet pained by the fact that it is her absence and not healing that brought us here.
On July 26th, people shared their hearts and their experience of walking alongside us in our journey with Hope. It was encouraging and a reminder that her legacy continues and is not over. One little girl, that never spoke a word, continues to impact this world. Nothing could make a mother more proud.
Shawn joined us in early August and we spent time at the cottage with my family. It was another place I had always wanted to bring Hope and it came with tears. I find most of my tears are shed on pillow cases and shower tiles. Sometimes I keep it together for Sadie, but often I would just rather grieve alone. I rarely fall asleep with dry eyes.
Tomorrow our time away comes to an end and we return to Calgary. Although it is always nice to be home, I always find it difficult to return. There's the first time I see her room again, the first time I step in and look through her drawers and her closet. There's the reality that one day I'll have to put it all away, but the fantasy that I can leave it like it is forever.
On Wednesday, I will be speaking to a group of women about our journey with Hope. I know that God has taught us a lot over the last year and a half and that we should share it. In that way I look forward to it. At the same time, whenever I sit down and work on what I should say, I feel overwhelmed. I would need a week with these women to truly express what I have learned about God. I am forever changed, never to be the same. How can you express that in only an hour? Would you pray for me as I prepare, that God would have me share only what is on His heart?
Thank you for continuing to care and for continuing to pray for our family. Even when we are silent. Although my words here have been few, I've finally found it easy to pray again. I miss Hope terribly, it feels more painful on certain days, but I continue to love the Lord and find my strength in him.