Thanks

Thanks for stopping in. There isn't really a rhyme or reason to this blog. It's just what comes to my head as I go through each day. If something I say resonates with you (positively or not), please leave a comment. It helps to know that people care. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Charlotte's second birthday

I can't believe it's been two years.  I know that Ethan is now almost 10 months old, so it has to have been that long, but in so many ways it still feels like it was just yesterday...

I always feel like we don't do enough for her birthday.  I say always...it's only her second birthday...but still... I don't know what would be enough.  I don't know that "enough" exists.  Mike keeps telling me it was perfect. I suppose I'll have to take his word on it.

We did a balloon release this year.  I got four purple balloons while Mia was at camp yesterday morning, and then we took them to Leesylvania State Park and had a picnic lunch.  I also got cupcakes from Confections and brought candles to light and sing happy birthday.

And then it was messy.

I wanted to do the balloon release last, after lunch and cupcakes and happy birthday...but then while we were eating two of the balloons popped when the wind blew them onto the grass.  I didn't see anything sharp, but the wind was a little brutal, and before I knew it we were down to two.  I had wanted to have one balloon from each of us: Me, Mike, Mia, and Ethan.  It turned into one from the kids and one from the parents.  It suddenly occurs to me that we had two balloons for her 2nd birthday...that's a little fitting and it makes me feel a little better about the balloon carnage.

I brought a marker and we wrote messages to Charlotte on them. I asked Mia what she wanted to write on her balloon to send up to Charlotte.  She said, "Happy Birthday, Charlotte!"  I wrote that.  Then I asked if she wanted to say anything else.  She said, "Do you want a cupcake, Charlotte?"  Then she asked me to draw a cupcake on the balloon so we could send Charlotte a cupcake.  I love my kid.



Then we wrote on our balloon: simple messages of love and gratitude.



We went into the middle of the field to release them.  I was worried they wouldn't clear the trees because of the wind.  Mike and Mia both held the ribbons while Mike held Ethan, and then on the count of three they let go.  Mia waved goodbye.




They did clear the trees...barely...thank goodness.  I almost cried when the two other balloons popped...if the last two got stuck in trees or were popped as well, I might have lost it.



Then we finished lunch and went to light the candles.  Remember that brutal wind I mentioned?  Yeah.  Seriously, I have these grand, idealistic visions of how things will be and how things will go, and then there's reality and it's so darn messy. Mike finally was able to turn his back to the wind and light the candles right in front of him.  Mia blew them out...or at least tried to and then the wind did it for her and she luckily didn't notice.  We sang happy birthday.



When Mia was a baby, I didn't let her have cake until her first birthday.  I wanted her first real taste of cake to be special.  Ethan's only ten months old, but I thought this was a special circumstance.  It seemed important that we ALL participate in the celebration.  



It was simple, but it was good.  I also got the kids each a small stuffed animal that I said was Charlotte's birthday present to them.  They both liked them a lot, which was nice.

After the kids went to bed last night, we wrote out her birthday card. It's a lot like last year's card: a list of all the things we believe she had influence on with our thanks and appreciation and love.




As a side note, finding a card for this type of situation is very difficult.  Very few companies make cards relating to the loss of a child...especially cards to the child that has died.

It's gratifying to be able to continue to add to her baby book.  When I first wrote in her baby book, I cried because I thought it would all stop on page five.  No first tooth or first steps or any of that.  Then I realized, when we decided to celebrate July 22nd rather than mourn it, that I could continue adding to her birthday pages.  It's nice to have a tangible thing I can use to prove we still have another daughter.

I always feel like we don't do enough.  It was small and simple and quiet.  I took Ethan outside to listen to the wind chime, and it made him smile.  That was simple, too.  Maybe simple is best.  It's about her.  It's not about me or what I need...it's about loving her.  Loving her is simple.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Two years later

Tomorrow is Charlotte's second birthday.  It doesn't seem possible.  I sit here in my office. Mia is napping.  Ethan is not quite quietly playing in the pack and play behind me.  The box of Charlotte's things is on a shelf three feet away.  I don't know how to feel.

I don't know why or how, but I'm overcome again with frustration and anger that people don't care.  One of my sister's friends (who was old) died on Saturday, and I sent her flowers.  My daughter died.

My daughter died.

My daughter died.

Typing it is so strange, still, two years later.

My daughter died.

I am still surprised and hurt that no one sent us flowers.  I am still surprised that no one ever asks about her.  I am still surprised and hurt...by everything that followed.

I never got to mourn my child.  Not really.  There was no funeral.  No pretty words.  No flowers.  It was as if she never happened.  She did, though.  She was my daughter.

It surprises me how much I am still angry at everyone.  I would have thought that by now I would be different...or indifferent.

My mom mentioned it today when I saw her.  As she was leaving, she said tomorrow would be hard.  It's the 22nd.  She was a little teary.  It made me mad.  I know that's illogical....but you don't get to be sad and cry.  I don't want to comfort you.  You were supposed to comfort me. She was MY daughter.  When I wanted to be sad and cry you WEREN'T THERE FOR ME.  It's not fair to get sad now when I'm trying so hard to celebrate her.

That's what tomorrow is supposed to be.  It's supposed to be a celebration of Charlotte's life and her influence on her family. My family.  Ethan is sitting in a pack and play behind me right now because of Charlotte.  No matter how much I wish it could have been different for her, Ethan wouldn't be here if things didn't happen the way they did.  I can't be sorry Ethan's here.  He's beautiful and perfect and so very, very sweet.  His sister had to die for him to be here.  It's still so hard to put a finger on that emotion.  Bittersweet doesn't cover it, but it's somewhere in that zone.

I always feel like it's not enough.  What we do to celebrate her is not enough.  Tomorrow is such a...such a....day.  A sad day.  A happy day.  It's a celebration.  Charlotte is my daughter.  I miss her all the time, and I always will...but her life was special.  I have to stop crying and celebrate.  It's hard to remember that I'm thankful sometimes.

I looked into planting something in my front flower bed that attracts butterflies.  I want to see more butterflies.  When Mia sees a butterfly now, she talks about Charlotte.  She doesn't really get it, still.  She keeps saying she wants to see Charlotte and asking where Charlotte is.  I tell her that Charlotte's always around, but we can't see her.  I tell her that Charlotte sends butterflies to let us know she's near.  That's a hard concept for a three year old.

This was really disjointed.  I feel disjointed.  That's why I'm writing again.  I know it's been a long time since I've written...and I'm fairly certain that no one will read this.  Still...I needed to talk to someone.  Even if someone is no one.