It was 2 years ago today that Hope was diagnosed with HLHS and our lives were changed forever. It's hard to believe it's been that long, it truly feels much longer. I sit at almost the same place in a new pregnancy, just 3 weeks ahead of where I was with Hope, and carrying another girl.
Sadie has been very excited about Christmas this year and putting on a lot of pressure to decorate. After Shawn carried the boxes up from the basement I began going through everything completely oblivious to the emotions that lay inside those boxes. Our stocking holder is down a stocking this year and it remains in the box. Our tree carries a couple of ornaments with Hope's name and one that represents her first and only Christmas here on earth. I was thinking yesterday how beautiful it is to know that she celebrated Jesus' birth once on earth and will now forever celebrate him face to face. I forgot how much the holidays are full of decorations with her name and how easily my mind goes to her.
In the last 24 hours I attended 3 Christmas craft sales. I absolutely love wandering through Christmas craft sales each year. This year I find myself leaving not with Christmas themed goods, but with anything that has a heart. I am so drawn to the things that remind me of her and love to put hearts on Sadie and I know I'll love putting them on the new baby as well.
Some things are still too difficult for me. The thought of putting a family photo in a Christmas card is too much this year. I don't want a photo without her in it, but knowing that she's been gone since May makes it obvious that our photo would be very outdated. Next year I hope to be more comfortable with our family of 4, always knowing it was meant to be a family of 5. Sadie's school asked for a family photo to put up on our their bulletin board. Knowing Sadie would never bother going to look at it, I decided not to send one in. I couldn't decide whether to send one with Hope or without. I look forward to the passing of time in that way, one day it won't make sense to send a photo with her in it any longer.
Sadie has taken to informing random strangers that her sister died. It creates some interesting conversations, but her desire to talk about her sister is so innocent and beautiful that I embrace the awkwardness and just try to make the shocked stranger more comfortable.
I think a lot about the families that will spend this Christmas in the hospital and my heart breaks for them. I think the hardest thing last year, was knowing that everybody is excited and happy. It's weird to walk around in a world pumped with joy for a holiday when you feel completely exhausted, emotionally empty and not interested in anything festive. It does force you to look beyond the hype of the holiday and back to the reason we were meant to celebrate anyway! I'm trying to balance how to raise Sadie to be excited about the birth of our Saviour and not just the new toothpaste in her stocking.
November 21st will mark 6 months without Hope. It's hard to believe that half of a year has already passed by. I dread facing another 21st and yet look forward to another one being gone. We have our Bible study that night and with timing I may have to force myself to cook dinner on the 21st once again. I know that we need to continue living, but that one day a month I like to allow myself to let the pain of her loss set in and truly grieve. Perhaps we better order a pizza!
Monday morning I'll have the echo done on the new baby's heart. I feel confident that everything is okay, but will be more relaxed when it's completed. Thank you for continuing to pray for our family and this little one that continues to grow.