A full year has now gone by. It's hard to believe we've been without Hope for a year, yet it often feels like much longer. I remember so many details of May 21st, 2013. I know that when I walked into her room that morning, she was wearing a pink sleeper with a ballerina on it. She was awake, but didn't respond at all to seeing me. This never happened and I knew something was very wrong. I remember who my last visitor at the hospital was, and that we ate veggie burgers in the cafeteria for lunch while Hope had an echo. I remember coming back from lunch and seeing 3 cardiologists walking towards me. I instantly knew that they were arriving with bad news. They told me that Hope wasn't doing well and would need to go to Edmonton to see if we could put in an artificial heart to keep her alive until a new heart arrived. It wasn't long before they returned to say they were going to intubate her as well. I remember calling Shawn and asking him to come to the hospital. I remember the person in the parking lot that honked at me for waiting for Shawn, I was totally NOT in this man's way!
I will always remember and regret the fight that Shawn and I had driving back to the house so I could grab my clothes. Hope had already been loaded up to start her transfer and I needed to get up to Edmonton to meet her. I had so much anxiety about how she was doing and took it out on the wrong person, something I will forever regret. I remember arriving home, a friend was already there packing my things. I remember what I ate for dinner and who dropped it off. I threw it in a tupperware, jumped in the car and ate it as I drove. I didn't stop the entire way and was just driving into Edmonton when the Cardiologist called to say she was crashing and I may not make it in time.
I remember running into the hospital and being so frustrated that even in trauma, my lungs were still really crappy at running. I had to take the elevator up to ICU because I was out of breath. I ran down the hall as fast as I could when the doors opened and the doctor was waiting for me in the hallway. The staff were so sensitive and loving, but there was nothing they could do. I went numb instantly and was in shock.
I remember each person arriving after she was gone. My friends Graeme, Carissa and Katie walking into the room to sit with me as she took her final breaths. My mom arriving an hour later, Shawn and James rushing in 2 hours after. I still remember the looks on each one of their faces, heartbreak. I remember walking Hope to the morgue as Shawn held her, the security guard was walking so fast.
One year later we wanted to create new memories, happy ones. Our girls don't know how difficult May 21st is. Sadie was so excited to be on vacation, she was so happy. Shawn and I struggled to fall asleep on Tuesday night. Stella was up at 2am to eat, not her regular routine. As I crawled back into bed, Shawn curled up behind me. I knew he was struggling just as I was. Sadie ran up to our bed at 6:20am to announce that it was awake time. We informed her that it was still night time (at least in our house!) and she crawled in beside Shawn and went back to sleep. Stella didn't get the memo and woke up shortly after to begin the day. May 21st was going to be a long day, our girls were deciding that for us.
We had decided to spend the 21st at Three Valley Gap in BC. We enjoy being there and there are so many things to do with your kids. After breakfast we took Sadie to the Enchanted Forest. It was an incredible time and Sadie had a blast. Stella was not quite so excited, but she's more fond of crying than smiling these days. After a couple of hours there, we went into Revelstoke, BC to have lunch and walk around. It was a beautiful day and we ate outside in the sun. After lunch we began the drive back to Calgary. We stopped to see Emerald Lake and eat dinner in Canmore. It was a nice day with our little family and although Stella screamed for the last hour of the drive, we made some good memories.
This weekend I spent time with friends baking heart cookies and then decorating them. I plan to deliver these to the staff and families at the Children's Hospital. We wanted to make an annual tradition of something we would do to remember Hope. It was enjoyable and I look forward to continuing the tradition.
Missing Hope is difficult. The pain of losing her is still very real and can be overwhelming at times. One year later, I can honestly say that we have joy and laughter in our lives. We have peace in knowing that she is whole and healthy in Heaven. We are deeply looking forward to the day we'll be together again in Heaven, but choosing to not miss out on loving her sisters that are still here on earth until then. If I let the sorrow overcome me, I'll miss out on Sadie and Stella. That is something I know I would deeply regret.
Thank you for continuing to pray for our family. One last update to come before I finish blogging about our journey. Another sign that life continues, and we are moving forward, but never moving on. We will always love Hope, always miss her, and are never able to forget that.