Friday, October 17, 2014

Happy Purple

This morning I decided to walk over to Office Max after Lily's dentist appointment with Lily and Drew.  I was on the hunt for a cheap phone cover for my new phone.  My old phone was bugging out on me.  The ringer had stopped working over a year ago and recently when I would make a phone call this odd loud noise would come from it and it would no longer work.  I was digging my heals hard on the idea of buying a new one!!  Well I did and now I needed a cover to protect it.  Office Max has a great clearance section on phone covers at really great prices.

As I walked into the store I was getting nervous that I wouldn't find one that I liked.  My last one was pink and I was in the mood for a change.  I like the simple jelly ones.  I like the way they feel.  So I said a little prayer to Abby.  "Abby, please help me find one that I like that is cheap"!

I walked slowly down the clearance aisle with Lily jumping and playing with Drew and came to the phone section and was relieved that there were several left.  I picked up several that were for my phone type. A green one.  A black one.  I kept looking because they didn't WOW me.  Then I found a purple one.  I said to myself "hmmm, I like purple". There was no price tag on it but I knew it was clearance because the outer package was opened and I was prepared to bargain if I needed to!  So I picked it up and purchased it.  A whopping six bucks!  Score! I was so pleased with my cover and my deal.  I don't know why but I love a good deal!!

When I got the kids settled in the car, I opened the package to put it on the phone.  Then I stopped and looked at it.  I didn't realize it was purple!?!  I mean, I knew....but when I was in the store I didn't connect with it.  Duhhhh!!!

Whenever Roberto or I ask for a sign she speaks through purple or rainbows!!  Purple clothes, purple balloons, purple covers!  Purple, purple, purple!  My daughter was with me at that exact moment!  It felt wonderfully peaceful.  I was soo excited I just had to share!

Have a Happy Purple Day!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Back to School

School is back in session!  Such a happy time for the kids.  Andrew is not so happy but I'm sure he will adjust.  (His brother and sisters keep him quite entertained!).  He is a smiling happy 8 month old boy who doesn't stop.  His mind is ahead of his body! I feel like he is crawling out of his skin ready to chase his siblings but can't because his body hasn't caught up to his brain yet!  Here in this picture I opened the dishwasher and in two seconds flat he scooted over in his walker to check things out!  Oh my!!  

Lily is going to preschool this year.  Today was her first day!  She attends the afternoon session and all morning she was reminding me to get her 'papers' in her back pack (ie. the administrative paperwork that I had to fill out for 3 kids.  I felt like my hand was going to fall off since I'm not used to all of that handwriting any more.  Thank goodness for typing skills!!).  So when I picked her up I asked her how did it go, her response was "it was amazing"!!  What a hoot!  

Yesterday was Emilia's first day in 3rd grade and Lucas' first day in 2nd grade.  I think they are happy to be back!  

So there's a question on the paperwork that I mentioned above asking how many siblings does the student have.  I pause since I so desperately want to write four.  I hold back the tears writing three names instead.  It doesn't feel right.  Because it isn't.  

To my surprise today, as I was cleaning out the kids' back packs, I ruffled through the usual papers that are sent home in their folders.  I started reading Emilia's questionnaire that she filled out for her first day back.  It asked questions like what did you do for the summer, do you have pets, what is your favorite book, etc.  There was also one question that stood out.  See below.

In Emilia's heart she has two sisters and two brothers.  She is a wonderful great big sister!!  

Today I silently celebrate Abby's two and a half year old birthday.  

I am sending my love to you Abby! Hugs and Kisses sweet baby girl!  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Celebrating Abby!

Another bittersweet birthday was celebrated for Abby!!

We started off our days of celebration with receiving another beautiful gift from our friend and neighbor.  She makes these amazing grave decorations and she never forgets Abby!  Abby's grave is all 'blinged' out, which I absolutely love!  We brought the box to Abby's resting place at night.  When I told the kids we would bring it at night, they were so excited, screaming "YAYYYY".   I know, it sounds strange, but there is solace in visiting the cemetery at night.  It is peaceful and serene. I love that they love going and that they are not afraid of adventuring it at night either.  

To spread Abby's name as we commenced our acts of kindness, I made these cards to give out so that her name would be shared with those that we helped.  It made things just a touch brighter having her name spoken.  Our whole purpose is to remember Abby and knowing that she was the reason we were helping others brought smiles to me.

On February 28th, our first 'act' was for the kids' school.  The kids joined me in purchasing children's socks and underwear for a clothing drive to be donated to kids in Haiti.  They stocked up the shopping cart at Target and within minutes we hit our budget!  

We continued after school with luminara lights.   The kids decorated the white bags with messages for Abby and we lined them up in front of the house to light up at night.  It was quite a view.

We then ate dinner and drove to this amazing Italian bakery.  The kids picked out their very own dessert and we enjoyed the deliciousness at home.   But before going home, we went to the cemetery to sing Abby 'Happy Birthday'.  While we were eating our treats, we made it a point to speak about Abby and say anything that was on our minds.

On March 1st, we continued our quest to honor our little one.  We invited our niece to come along to join in on the fun.  We started out by having breakfast at the kids' favorite restaurant, IHOP.  We selected a family and anonymously paid for their breakfast in her memory.  I must admit, that experience gave me a little bit of anxiety.  I was choking up when I was sneakingly planning the details with our waitress.  I was able to however compose myself enough to spread some lovin to her and the other family's waitress with a very generous tip!  :)

We then set out to Walmart to donate groceries for some local agencies in town.

The kids then joined our niece handing out some Boxes of Joe from Dunkin Donuts to the shivering Girl Scouts selling their cookies outside of Walmart.  One mom was so touched that she was going to do the same and 'pay it forward' in Abby's memory!  :)

We then headed back to the cemetery again.  Lucas was adamant that he dig Abby's grave marker out of the snow.  LOL. 

As we started to get ready to head out to Roberto's sister's for dinner, we were surprised with a special delivery.  Chinese Food!  Our favorite take-out!  Our niece who joined us for our activities earlier in the day was so thoughtful to take care of us for dinner!  It came in handy because by the time we got to his sister's, the kids were hungry and dinner wasn't quite ready!  So the kids were thrilled to have Chinese.  (They love it so much, they prefer it over McDonald's).  Go figure!  :)

Spending time with Roberto's sister and her family was a wonderful way to end the day.  Roberto and I were able to open up and speak about Abby all night long.  We don't get that chance very often but we were grateful to feel comfortable enough to reminisce our Sweet Little Abby.

We heard from many of you and how you were able to honor Abby.  We feel so very loved.  We are touched that you celebrated her life with us and in doing so, made a difference in someone else's life.  We are grateful to have you in our lives and we thank you!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Abby's 2nd Birthday

This sounds like such a cliche, but I can't believe how time flies.  I can't believe nor comprehend how fast two years has passed us.  Almost two years since we said Hello.....

Almost two years ago my sweet, perfect little Dwarf baby was born into this world.  She was so tiny and perfect, her little dimples on her legs, her eyes so sweet, her hands so teeny.  She didn't make any sounds yet she had so much to say.  She made it clear that she was in charge, leading her own life and making her own choices.  Because if it was up to me, selfishly, she would still be here.  She would be a two year old toddler, perhaps running around, perhaps not.  She would be so loved and adored by her older siblings.  She would be kissed and hugged til it hurt.  She would be a beautiful big sister to her baby brother.  She would be amazing.

It never gets easier.  Living without one of our children.  It just gets different.  The beating waves are less but when they crash, they still hurt and knock us down.  It is bittersweet when a stranger comes up to us in a restaurant and says to us "you have a beautiful family, do you know how blessed you are?".  I respond, "yes, yes I do know how blessed we are".  Because I really do.

For Abby's 2nd Birthday, we have decided to honor her by completing random acts of kindness on March 1st.  Random acts of kindess seem to be a good fit for us and will fill our hearts with joy and love.  Abby's name in Hebrew means "Father of Joy" and I really want to feel joy on this day.

Will you help me to accomplish this?  To feel joy in honor of Abby?  You can do so by completing a random act of kindness in Abby's memory and share it with me!  It doesn't have to cost anything and it can be anything, anything at all.  You may feel weird sharing it with me but I won't feel weird receiving it.  Because by you telling me, it creates "Abby memories" for me and I promise to cherish these memories!!   

Your act of kindness does not have to be about buying something for someone, it can be as simple as holding the door for someone or letting someone else go infront of you at the check out line.  Just knowing that we are helping someone else in honor of my sweet Abby is what her 2nd birthday is all about!!

Thank you and God Bless!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Andrew is one month!

Andrew John.  He's here.  He's finally here.

The morning of December 30th couldn't come quickly enough.  It had been a long nine months and my body was on its last toll.  Going to bed the night of the 29th was both liberating and terrifying at the same time.  I didn't sleep well.   I was feeling scared.  I was feeling excitement.  And I was overwhelmed.  Not to mention I was having strong Braxton Hicks contractions and I was very uncomfortable.

Flashbacks were strong for both Roberto and I.  Even though the drive to the hospital at 6am was uneventful, we were reminded of our journey with Abigail mile by mile.  Very different circumstances but the trauma re-surfaced as we approached the hospital and embraced Andrew's birth.  Luckily, I am transparent with Abby's story and had no problem expressing my feelings with my doctors and nurses.  I am blessed that they received our story with empathy, compassion and understanding.  They held us as we met our little boy and I am so grateful for that.   Apparently, our story touched their hearts as well and they cried as we cried as we met Andrew for the first time...

Tears of joy streamed down mine and Roberto's eyes as we laid our eyes on Andrew for the first time.  8lbs, 13oz and 21 inches long, he was here.  He was finally here.  As soon as I laid my eyes on him, I saw Abby in him.  He looked just like Abby looked when she came into the world almost 23 months ago.  His looks today are very different but I will never forget his resemblance of his sister the first few moments of his life.

Fast forward to today, Andrew turns one month old tomorrow. His sister Abby lived for 23 days.   My time with her seems so distant and extremely short.  I have said it before and I will say it again, I miss my Abby.  Having Andrew here opens old wounds and reminds me of what was lost with his sister.  The late night feedings.  The cuddles.  The cries and baby coos.  The diaper changes.  The lack of sleep.  The love.  The bonding.  All unfairly taken away...

And in contrast, having Andrew here I am bewildered that he's been here that long!!  We are all in awe and in love with this little human being.  His brother is the proudest of him.  His sisters cannot kiss him enough.  They all fight over who will hold him next!  My kids have been through so much with losing their sister.  I told them when they met Andrew that he is their baby too!  They deserve this experience just as much as we do!

I have much gratitude for my husband, family, friends and community for their love and support for our family.  We have been gifted with meals, laundry duties, cleaning, grocery shopping, visits, transportation and baby gifts.  Recovering from a c-section has its challenges with multiple children and I am so fortunate to be able to rest and heal and just be this time around.  Looking back with Abby, I was doing way too much and wasn't able to rest and heal and it set me back tremendously so it is a relief to be able to do so this time around.

I can't believe that Abby's 2nd birthday in Heaven is coming up in one month and her anniversary in two months.   Last year, for her first birthday in Heaven, we had a wonderful, large celebration but we have decided to keep it small and simple this year.  We are not sure how we will honour Abby but I am certain it will be memorable!

I know I don't write much on Abby's blog any more.  Sometimes it is challenging conjuring up the energy to write the same tune....Missing Abby.  Andrew and his wonders will never replace the sense of loss and missing that we feel for Abby just as our older children couldn't possibly.  If anything, these new glorious experiences can somehow intensify it.  However, I feel fortunate to be able to walk the parallel roads of 'missing' and 'joy' at the same time.  My aunt recently said to me that 'my world is back on its axis'. I will take it a step further and say that it is on a 'new axis' and one that I am so blessed to embrace.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Merry Christmas

December 30th is the official date when Emilia, Lucas, Lily and Abby will become a big sister/big brother.  That of course if Andrew waits until my scheduled c-section!   (I'm sure he will!)

There is a lot of hustle and bustle in our home these days.  Our Christmas decorations are up, Christmas cards are mailed.  Most of the shopping is complete and we are as ready as we can be for Andrew.  Lily is walking around with diapers on her teddy bear and takes her bear for walks in the car seat.  It's hysterical!  Abby's grave is decorated and so is Freddie's Tree.  (If you were at her funeral you would remember the book "The Fall of Freddie the Leaf".  Well I nicknamed the tree behind her grave as Freddie's Tree.)  

On the outside, I am holding up and am told I am glowing.  I must admit, I do look pretty good for being 36 weeks pregnant!  wink. wink.

Physically,  I am ready to have this baby.  Emotionally I am terrified of the unknown.  I keep telling myself, "this baby better come home" when we do something to prepare for his arrival.  It is always mixed emotions.  Happy and scared seem to fit the bill.  It's unfair, having these thoughts and I just do my best to keep moving forward and to remember all of the blessings in our lives.  We are all healthy.  The kids are happy and Roberto and I are doing well.  We have friends, family, and community supporting and praying for us.   But no matter how much gratitude I have for  all of these gifts, I still have my wishes.....

I wish I had Abby here to wrap Christmas presents for.  I wonder what would she look like.  What size would she be wearing since she was such a peanut.  I wonder what it would be like to bring her to Mass or to the grocery store.  Or if we even could do that with her disabilities?  She would be about 22 months old now.  We are all missing out on so much with Abby's absence and lately I just  MISS Abby.  This is new for me.  My sadness has evolved.....Have you ever missed something so bad and you know that whatever that is it is permanently gone?  And that you can never get it back? 

As my heart misses, it co-exists with excitement and joy.  Joy for Andrew and joy for my living children.  They are going to get to experience the wonders of having their baby come home.  Words don't come easily when one of them expresses concern and worry if this baby will come home or die. As a parent we have to think on our feet for answers to their never ending questions and that is one question that I cannot easily answer. I just try to reassure them and flatly say, "that won't happen". Period.  I try to be convincing but because of our experience, we wonder.... How can we not? 

I do believe deep in my heart that Andrew will come home.  He will be loved and cuddled and man handled by little tiny fingers and we can't wait.  He will be kissed and hugged and will get annoyed with all of the attention but he will just have to get used to that!  :)  

For our Christmas cards this year, we got a little more creative and had some professional pictures taken.  To honor and include Abby, we wore our signature family color, purple and included our little Minnie Mouse that belonged to Abby in the hospital.  It continues to float around the house and it brings smiles when it appears just at the right time.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Rainbow Baby!

Rainbow baby.  That's what they call a baby after the death of a previous baby.  Well we are expecting ours this December!  Yes, I am pregnant!  We are expecting a boy, Andrew, and will have him the end of December, which means only four months to go.

I've been wanting to write this post for sometime, but have been making excuses in my head not to.  I fear that people will think that just because we are expecting Andrew that he will replace the love we have for Abby.  So far from the truth and no one has given me that feeling, but the fear  exists within me nonetheless.

Andrew is healthy!  Doctor says he's measuring 2 weeks ahead and called him a football player....UHOH!  This was great news for me since Abby always measured small during the office visits.

The energy in our home is a nice break.  We are all happy and excited about Andrew's arrival.  I am feeling the urge to 'nest' as they say.  I never had that opportunity with Abby.  I wanted to wait and see what would happen.  The only nesting we had with Abby was buying her a cute infant car seat after she was born.  It stayed in the box in the van the whole time we had it and returned it following her death.  Can you imagine?  It's what we needed to do at that time.  This time will be different.

The kids are thrilled!  They came to the ultrasound with us to find out the gender.  They held up well waiting almost 45 minutes!  Lucas was so so happy it was a boy!  He says he can't wait for Andrew to be old enough to share a room, since he doesn't like being alone and wants a roommate.  I am sure that won't last long.  Hahahah! They helped in selecting his name, Andrew John.  It's a fun family activity selecting the name of the next human being to enter our home!  Last Fall, I painted the spare bedroom a dark blue secretly hoping that if I ever receive the blessing again, that it was a boy.   I'm so happy my wishes came true!    I love the idea of raising two girls and two boys.  When we are out in public, of course people we don't know us that well will comment about how nice it will be to have two girls and two boys.  Well Emilia doesn't let that slide and will correct them....saying "no, its three girls and two boys" which I will then have to explain what she means.  Sometimes I'm up for it and sometimes I'm not.  Each situation is different, which means I'm different when I think about it.  In the early stages of my grief I wanted the world to know about my sweet little darling but I'm okay with not sharing her with everyone.  But the funny thing is, is when I open up, it gives people the chance to be comfortable to share their experiences with me.  Their losses.  Their sadness.  And I'm better equipped to respond with compassion and love.  

Being pregnant with a sub baby is emotional.  I often ask the universe why couldn't we just keep Abby?  Why couldn't she stay?  Did we make the right choices for her?  Did we miss something?

Grieving the death of a baby and embracing the life of a new one exists in a parallel universe.  My grief and excitement exist independently of each other.   I'm glad for this because I am clear in my happiness for Andrew, not having the expectations that he will replace our little Abby.

The song "Somewhere over the rainbow" is very special to me.  It was played at our luncheon after Abby's funeral and we danced and cried as we had to enter this new journey called grief.  As I listen to it today I imagine Abby on the rainbow waving to Andrew as he is choosing Roberto and I as his parents and guiding him through his new life!  She will make a remarkable big sister as Emilia, Lucas and Lily will be!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Grief Ledge

I read an article two years ago called "Living on The Ledge" by Joanne Lutz, Founder of the The Consciousness Collaborative.  I never forgot about it when I read it.  It was powerful to me then and now even more so.  "The Ledge" can be anything for us.  A relationship ledge.  A work ledge.  A marriage ledge.  A loss of any kind ledge.  For me, I want to refer to it as my grief ledge.  Here is a link to the article:

......And here is what Joanne wrote:

"When I was in my 20's I had a friend who would call periodically for me to "talk her down off the ledge."  This was code language for "please listen to how I feel and help me to make sense of what's happening in my life."  When I felt on the edge, I called her with the same plea.  Every once in a while, though, I could sense in her voice a mirror of my own's hard work to be responsible to bring someone back to safety.

Ever received one of these calls?  A friend who's struggling with her husband; your brother who feels oppressed by his boss; or your child afraid that not going to the best college is going to be the end of the world...and when the call comes...what do you do?

If you're feeling as I did, your mission appears clear.  Get him or her in out of the cold and into the safety nest only you can provide.  So, off we go, how to accomplish this:

Option 1)  Fix it!  Find a way to solve the problem or explain how easily he/she can solve the problem by just...hmm...let's pause for a moment here.  How do you feel when someone tries to tell you how easy it is to "fix" your problem "if you would just..."  I don't know about you, but my teeth start grinding and I tune them right out.

Okay, let's move on to
Option 2)  Pat on the head.  "Oh, it will be okay, don't worry.  It will all work out.  You're getting all worked up for nothing."  Actually, for me this one is worse than fix it.  For me, it feels completely condescending when someone tells me not to feel what I feel.  Clearly, no one is listening in this scenario.

Option 3)  Help dig the hole that the jumper will land in.  This is a case of "yes-ing" someone to death.  Agreeing with all of the injustices, how the world is against them, and "the man" has really got control.  You can almost imagine yourself watching Dexter and every so often picking the phone up to say, "yeah, I hear ya."  Uggh!

In my 30's I experienced a paradigm shift relating to these calls.  While the plea might be "talk me down from the ledge," the true request is: "hang out on the ledge with me and be present."  This rights the universe on its axis; because, being present means there's nothing to do.  I can sit on the metaphorical ledge with hot chocolate and a blanket, and know that my grounded presence creates an invitation for my friend to find his own ground.  By listening, being genuine, noticing the patterns of what I hear, and tapping into my authentic curiosity, there is no action to take, nothing to fix, no one to rescue.

I encourage you to give ledge-living a try, rather than attempting to talk someone down off of it.  This respectful exchange builds intimacy - even when it feels hard or scary.  The connection to yourself and other becomes clean and clear, as each person remains responsible for her own feelings...his own journey. 

Looking forward to warm nights on the ledge,

This article resonates with me to my core.  It explains why I have been feeling the way I have been feeling.  LonelyScaredShaky GroundOn edge.   It is a lonely journey sitting on the ledge overlooking the grief view feeling the way I have been feeling.  

We have received good intentions by people, meaning well by responding with the options shared above.   I know in my heart that they really do try to say or do the right thing.   I have been told recently that they don't even realize that they are hurting me, which makes me even more sad.  These responses are wearing me down.  I see this now.  They're not lifting me up nor do they help me to be the best version of myself.

The grief ledge is a scary place.  No one enters the ledge willingly!  I entered it and have been sitting on it because I was forced to.  I had no choice!!!  I have been sitting on my grief ledge for over a year.  Roberto sits there too.  We are there for each other, keeping each other company.  We get visitors.  At random, infrequent times.  The best times are when it is unsolicited.  We treasure all of the moments with our visitors!!  It takes a great amount of courage to sit on our grief ledge with us.  To be still and silent and just be.  To hold our hand or give us a hug.  To see the view from our perspective which is terrifying.  To feel the vulnerability of death and all of what that encompasses.  To face your own mortality.  So thank you to those of you came to visit me and Roberto on our grief ledge.  I welcome you to sit with us for as long or as little as you can.  I will be there for my own mortal eternity. 

My hope sharing all of this is that the next time you encounter a friend or a loved one that has had a loss as significant as mine, that you will have a better understanding on how to 'be there' for them.  That opinions, judgements, and criticisms are not effective.  All well intended, but moot.  That what one truly needs is simply your presence.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Trip to CHB in Abby's Memory

Last week, we finally ventured into Children's Hospital.  It was time.  I had been waiting for the right time to feel good enough to go in.

If you remember, we rounded up a nice collection of baby toys and clothes at Abby's Remembrance Day Celebration back in March.  We then brought the collection to Abby's social worker at Children's Hospital She was excited to be able to pass them along to their patients and the patient's siblings.  It was nice to see Phoebe.  A darling of a girl.  CHB is lucky to have her!

It was a quick moment.  It wasn't overly emotional which felt kinda nice.  Had we chosen an earlier time in the year, it would have been much more difficult.  But the winter blues was past us and the sun was out and traveling into Boston felt welcoming. 

Being in the hospital wasn't scary.  We had been there about three times since last year so I think the shock of it was worn off.  It was a little weird though.  I had flashbacks of being there.  I wanted the purpose back of having the need to be there.  I would watch the children, in wheelchairs or strollers and so badly wanted that to be me pushing a wheelchair with my Abby instead.  I once had someone say to me, that if Abby were alive, I would still be missing her because she would be back and forth to the hospital and that she wouldn't always be home with me.  I know they meant well, they tried to make me feel better.  But there is no positive spin on Abby not being here!!   I know.  I'm not your average mother, wishing to be able to hospital surf with my baby, but that sure sounds a lot better to me then the other hand I was dealt!!

 Roberto and I really appreciate the generosity of all of you in assisting us in collecting the baby items to donate to CHB.  It was a bitter-sweet moment, but we are so grateful that we were able to do so in Abby's memory!  So THANK YOU!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Bay State Parent Magazine

Back in February, I shared with you all the amazing gift that a local business gave to my family, Balloons All Over.  (See Abby's Birthday Post on February 28th for a little reminder!).

My news quickly spread and reached an editor to a local parent magazine, BayStateParent.  Jennifer asked me if I would be willing to share Abby's story in the April issue, which was featuring babies.  I immediately went into a frenzy of joy!  I will take any chance to share my story of Abby with anyone who will listen.  All grieving parents want to speak about their loved ones as much as we can.  And as you all know, I try to do so with my blog and facebook.  But this opportunity is such an honor!

I write to release emotions.  To express my deepest thoughts.  To share my struggles and gifts.  I put it here with the intent that it goes somewhere to 'la la land'.  I never dreamed that it would be worthy to be featured in a magazine! 

Thank you God, for providing me a gift within my struggle.  I hope that sharing Abby's story will affect its readers in a way that you seek. Please use me as a means to show that not all fatal diagnoses have to be solved by medical interventions.  And that by carrying to term, we may have struggle and we may feel inconsolable pain but we will find solace because we not only choose life, but we choose You!   

Love never dies!!

In the magazine, two older blog posts will be featured.  One is a letter that I wrote to Abby shortly after she died.  The other is a more recent one, her first birthday.  Both are very special to me and dear to my heart.

The magazine is a free publication.  Our story can be found on page 28.

God Bless.

In like a LION, out like a LAMB

There is the old expression, March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb.  I can honestly say that has happened for me.  Not in the traditional sense but more in the emotional sense.

My Lion was March 22nd.  Abby's Heaven Date.  Most of March 2013 was extremely painful.  So many moments.  So many memories re-lived.  From the date of her birth to the day she flew into heaven, it was a very tumultuous storm.  Some days I forced myself out of bed wanting to stay in it.  I would lie there for thirty minutes to an hour praying and remembering, sobbing and holding her little onesie that I sleep with.  This little onesie is the last piece of clothing that was on her little body when I had to let her body go and give her to her doctor for the very last time..... When I did get out of bed, I did the bare minimum around the house.  Laundry when I absolutely had to.  I didn't go grocery shopping.  I didn't cook for almost two weeks as Roberto often came home to cereal.   The kids were bouncing off the walls, mostly bored.  I could barely breathe.....

During March, I remembered her life with me.  And I did alot of wishing.  I was so mixed and torn.  I was greatful to have had three weeks with her.  Greatful that the kids were able to meet her.  Greatful to have been able to hold and sing to her.  But I was also feeling jipped.  Jipped of a future lost.

March 22nd.  Her Heaven Date.  Roberto took the day off.  To honor Little Miss Abby, we visited the cemetery and lit a candle for her on her table.  Roberto's niece, Melissa, came over and my in-laws, Roberto's sister, Marie & Dave brought dinner.  That meant the world to me and Roberto.  It was a nice distraction, since the day was so terribly difficult.  I did not have the heart to 'celebrate' her Heaven Date.  I just didn't feel like it was worth 'celebrating'.  There is nothing about that day that I want to ever be joyous about.  And I couldn't wait for it to be over......

The 'dreadful' day that all parents dread came for us and passed.  When I woke up on the 23rd, I was relieved.  Sooooo relieved.  The heaviness in my heart and fog somewhat lifted and I was able to breathe.  Since then, I can hear Spring blooming.  I can hear the birds chirping outside.  I can enjoy my kids' and their amazing smiles again. 

My Lamb was Easter.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  (Last Easter was just downright awful, since it was only two weeks following Abby's death).  But this year it was a nice surprise to be okay.  My prayers the night before Easter Day, I prayed to have the energy to get thru the day.  I asked God to give me the strength.  I just couldn't do it by myself.

And my prayers were answered.  Easter morning, we woke up and had our traditional egg hunt (indoors mind you!).  It is easier and warmer with little ones.  The kids received their Easter baskets left for them by the Easter Bunny (sssssh).   They all ate their candies and chocolate along with a piece of fruit and were ready to attend the 8am mass!

Of course, the Easter Bunny left one special little egg for our very own special little 'egg'!  Lucas was so sweet, showing it off to his friends later in the day!


After mass, we always head over to the cemetery to say 'hello'.  We always give the kids the option of either getting out of the car or staying in it.  But I made them get out this time.  I wanted them to see that the Easter Bunny had left Abby some chocolate and a little present too!  And when the saw that he did, they were so wonderfully excited for her!! 

 Whenever trying to get my kids to say 'cheese' for a picture, they always need to have some goofy time for silly faces!

Prior to leaving, Emilia, from time to time, likes to have some alone time with her sister.  She likes to talk to her.  I haven't a clue what she says though!  Even though they don't express it alot, our kids grieve too.

We had decided to stay home this year and invite our friends Erica and Adam with their three girls to come over for a non-traditional, kid friendly lunch!  Erica has three beautiful girls, one of which is a six week old!  I thought it would be really nice to be together this year.  It tickled my heart that I could pay-it-forward in Abby's memory.  My in-laws were so good to us when we had babies during various holidays, I wanted to extend that love that I received to my dear friend Erica.  I told her if the meal doesn't taste good, we could always order Chinese! 

I prepared a ham, potato salad and macaroni and cheese!  All from scratch, all of which that I made.  Pats on the back to me.  I know, it doesn't sound that fabulous, but all the kids ate it and all the adults ate it and there weren't much leftovers, so by my book, it was a hit!

We embraced Easter with a sense of peace.  And even though I didn't have Abby to share it with, it was one of my most favorite holidays.  And that says alot for me right now, since I find it difficult to 'stop and smell the roses'.  But look at those roses above.  How can I not smile?

I am wishing you a Blessed Easter Monday.  (I am Canadian after all!).

Pictures of Abby's Remembrance Day Celebration!

A warm thank you goes out to our niece, Natalie, who was our photographer that day!!  Thank you Natalie for capturing our moments while we were able to remain present for our sweet Abby.