Fall out before the let down

Every November it happens.

I do not know if  this year I am keyed into it, aware of it and noticing or even looking for it but the fall out before the Christmas let down is palpable this year.

November and early December have been a little cruel to a lot of my loved ones.  Tragedies, lost loved ones, so many in our tribe have their baby’s birthday this month, new loss mama’s coming into my life, trauma abound.

Is it December or is it just me?

I think it is forgotten how hard December is, that all the joy and magic of the season contrasts against the sorrow in the heart of those mourning, dealing and figuring out this thing called life.  I know I am not alone and this year I feel like it has been thing after thing after thing happening around me.  And then there is my own grief, my own corner of my soul that screams for Ava this time of year.  Where her absence grows stronger by the moment leading up to the 25th, where I wish for a second I could get a glimpse into who my beautiful 4 nearly 5 year old girl would be and what she would want for Christmas this year.  Matching sisters dresses sitting on Santa’s knee, the shrieks and giggles, the her, the all of her I am missing.

Two weeks today is the big day itself and I already find myself looking forward to boxing day, where the pressure and grief has settled and the quiet remains.    Certain things have changed since Ava and Christmas is one of them, I do not feel it the same and it is the beginning of my grief season.  This year I will be thinking of all those experiencing heartache that I have spent time with these last few weeks.  First Christmas’ without, trauma unpacking, missing.  You are not alone in this most “joyous” time of the year.  You have company in your heartache.

Book Launch

All photos courtesy of Hartistree Photographics and the amazing Aroha!

The launch party for “In the Shade of Ava’s Tree” took place last month and I cannot say I have fully wrapped my head around it fully.  A beautiful evening, bittersweet and moving as so many of my people gathered together to celebrate incredible accomplishment of publishing the book.  I worked with the impeccable Blissful Bookings  after being referred to them by many friends as to Jennifer Eaves tasteful and thoughtful approach to event planning.  Jennifer and her team were fantastic and helped me create the vision I had in mind seamlessly.

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Jennifer Eaves, Blissful Bookings
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Details

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It was Jennifer’s idea to have quotes from the book be framed and placed around the room.  It was such a lovely addition to the decor and it was nice to watch people take time reading them, tearfully or even with a smile.

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One of the only things I wanted from the launch was to have a gathering of all our people, all of those people that matter and made an impact and be able to celebrate with them.  The greatest surprise of all was having my friend J show up all the way from Minnesota to be with me.  The moments above were by far, one of the happiest and most lovely things anyone has ever done for me.  I am still blown away by that moments and so thankful for her and the other BLM’s V and LJ for making it all possible.

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My badass BLM’s

 

Matthew was not thrilled when I asked him to get up and introduce me prior to my taking the stage.  He grumbled a lot and asked me to make notes for him, which I did, and he promptly ignored.  He was pretty stressed the day of the launch worried that about his introduction (seriously, the dude spoke for 3 mins before I spoke for 20) but in classic form, he rose so gracefully to the task.

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My local tribe

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I was so touched by all those that came.  My skillful and dynamic OB Dr. N (embracing me above) that took such excellent care of me with Lillian.  My tribe of amazing loss women in the centre picture above, my midwives, my friends and family.

 

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And somehow in it all, there was such joy.  As I took the stage to do my readings, signed books and received the most hugs I have ever received, there was Ava.  She was part of it all. Somehow there she was, in all of it.

That is what I am most grateful for of all.

Welcome Josie!

There were days where I could not imagine a month going by without spending time in this space.

Sometimes you need to take a step back, to reconsider, evaluate and reignite the passion. After the book and all that involved I needed to let my passion for this space grow, to find the drive again.   This last month away from the blog, though an unannounced absence allowed me to do just that.  And as I sat here surfing the web for Christmas presents I thought of all the things I should be doing when my fingers found their way to this space.

I have always been a writer.  Not for it to be read or even seen by anyone other than myself.  This written space is sacred to me, whether I choose to publish posts or not.

The last month has been overly eventful as often is the case with life.  First and foremost, we welcome a new furry family member,

 

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Meet Josie.

After Charlie died we decided to step away for dog ownership a while.  In the end of his life Charlie was quite taxing.  We had many constraints on us in order to maintain his good health standing and as he began to decline so to did our quality of life.  After he had passed we decided we would not rush into getting another dog but rather would take out time in finding the right dog when it felt right.

Josie is a rescue.  She was with an organization called Paws United.  Matt and I are avid followers of our dreams, like the realty market before we bought the Dream on Russet, we were obsessively checking and brainstorming our ultimate home.  I had every dog rescue organization followed on IG, FB and was keeping an eye for just the right dog.  Josie’s post (who at the time of adoption was named Philly) stating that she was available for adoption came up on a Thursday.  I had the screen open at the time as the update came through and seeing that beautiful face and reading the write up I knew I had to try for it.  As any good wife would, I tried to contact Matt, for about a minute and when he didn’t pick up I said,

“screw this,”

and I did the application myself.

Yup, folks. I applied and essentially procured the dog without really talking it over with Matt first.  I knew he was onboard with the “right” dog but was this her?  Was this one he even wanted? No clue!

When Matt came home that night I told him about how I had applied for her and he laughed, saying as only he can “Ah well, we will see.”

We waited an entire month with no word.  I genuinely believed that we were not chosen to be her family.  And after an month went by, and our application went in for a different do with a different agency, one Sunday morning we got the call.

We were just having a lazy Sunday, Matt had worked the day before and we were just hanging around the house playing the “I don’t know, what do you want to do,” game.  It would seem that her foster family had a personal “issue” that came up in that months time and they were now ready to look at her adoption.  They said that she was spayed, gentle with kids, great with dogs and cats, well socialized and friendly.  They described her as calm and quiet, having had a pretty rough start in life and had spent at least 40 days at the local pound hoping to be picked up and was not.  The foster family said they were coming to our town to see friends and being that we were their “first choice” were wondering if we would be able to meet with them for a home visit.

And by 3 pm that night, we knew we had our dog.

She came home 3 days later, after hurriedly running around getting our things ready for her we brought her home and it is like she has always been here.  She is the most gentle soul and affectionate beyond belief.  We are a clingy little family and she fits right in, constantly snuggling and looking for a pet.

 

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Lillian is completely besotted with her.  Calls her “my new puppy, Josie.”  It has been nearly been a month since we brought her home and she is still “my new puppy, Josie.”  Luckily Josie is patient and kind.  In the last few weeks I have been watching her trust grow slowly, she is slowly learning to trust that we are safe and love her.  She has a fair few signs that show me she has had maltreatment in her past.

Like being afraid of bathrooms.

Someone locked my puppy in a bathroom.  And probably left her in there for heaven knows how long.

Sigh.

Like the first time I lowered my tone to tell her no, she curled onto her side and submissive peed.

Luckily, in dog world these things don’t last, if you remain present and do not encourage and rather use calm and positivity they follow your lead.  With each day her confidence is growing and we are getting to see the sweet and happy girl she is.

 

 

In the Shade of Ava’s Tree has Arrived

A week ago today this happened,

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I was home alone at the time when the knock I had been waiting for, perhaps for years, finally sounded at my door.  Alone I breathed in the moment just me and Ava and our book.  It was perfect.

(Well as perfect as it gets when the book you wrote about losing your daughter and you nearly dying arrives…) but I digress.

My life suddenly sprung into “can you sign this?” “when can I pick up a copy” “Can I have 3?” Ringing doorbells and busy phones, as I have watched it fly out our door.

And then there are moments like this,

 

 

 

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where she gleefully ripped into the next shipment with us and then sat there, soaking them in with quiet contemplation.

It has been so very bittersweet.

(Available on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com and under the “Buy the book” tab at the top.)

Unusual Nightmares

I had the most ridiculous nightmare last night.

Except it wasn’t really a nightmare but rather a life lived moment imposed upon a non-real life situation.

I dreamed I was pregnant again and had HELLP.  That Matthew and I were in hospital and were listening to the baby’s heart beat and begging the doctors to operate and save the baby before my HELLP syndrome progressed further. That my case of HELLP before was not a typical presentation and this could be deadly very soon.   The Doctor kept saying he was going to do that but first he wanted more blood work or maybe check and make sure there was an operating room available. He was moving at the speed of molasses and shrugging off our concerns saying that he would get to us when he could.

And there we were doing what we had to do before, advocate, beg and plead for our lives.   Again.

When I was relaying this to Matthew over coffee this morning he shivered,

“that is a nightmare alright.  Cruel, even our nightmares aren’t normal anymore.”

I had not thought of it that way.

He is right.  I don’t think other people have nightmares where they have to plead Doctors to deliver their baby and save their life.  I do not think that nightmares include separation from your spouse, routine medical procedures, kind eyed nurses in caps or even non-stress tests and yet here I am waking up in a cold sweat at 3:10 am because of a twinge I felt under my right ribcage in a nightmare that bolted me from sleep.

Our dreams are not normal either.  We were at the grocery store today in the world’s slowest line and Matthew was beginning to lose patience with the elderly woman completing her 13th price match ahead of us.  Seriously, if you are retired why are you grocery shopping on a Sunday? Go home and go out tomorrow when the rest of us are at work.  And as I saw his blood pressure rise I muttered to him,

“This doesn’t matter.  We are together.”

I dream and wish of times when we are together and well.  My dreams and hopes include long lives of health and togetherness, where Lillian follows her ambitions and hopefully takes us along with her.  My dreams include moments where I can include my eldest girl wherever I can to seek the closest sensation to completion there is for me without her.  Yup.  That is it people.  No fancy cars or wild vacations.  Security.  that is it.

My grief group often says you can “unsee” what we have seen.  I cannot erase the knowledge or grow back the innocence lost.  There are times where I look at Ava and I am so glad that the reach of her in my life is so encompassing and there are other times where I am so frustrated with it.  I cannot “unsee” the truth I know, there is no escaping it and returning to the place I was the moment before they told me she died.  Unlike a lot of grief Mama’s I can’t say I am 100 percent okay with that.  The “old” Melissa was a lot of fun and had a lot of perks over the post-loss version.

But I am wiser. Oh, how I am.  And I am far more compassionate and selfless.  But brutally honest and far more edged and cut than I ever was then.

I guess there are times in everyone’s life where they can draw the sharp contrast between the moment before an after.  And if anything were to cause that type of delineation I am glad it is my Ava, though I wish it were from the experience of becoming her living mother and not the mourning of her.

In the Shade of Ava’s Tree: Launch

Today “In the Shade of Ava’s Tree” went to press.  Today our story was printed and my incredible publisher Praeclarus Press released a press statement of it’s release.

I knew something was up because my phone began buzzing like crazy.  I had just got home from work after a long day, Lillian was under foot and playing “picnic” while I attempted to cook dinner.  For those of you not familiar with game of picnic it is where your preschooler locates a fleece and preferably slippery-on-hardwood-floors blanket and then spreads it out right smack in the middle of your work space in the kitchen.  Then she brings over a bin of plastic picnic food including plates, bowls and cutlery and proceeds to set it up …right in the middle of things.  My role in the game of picnic is normally to make yummy noises and sit on said slippery blanket while she brings plates of food including such lovely combinations as a whole potato, cheese slice and grapes.

Today, however, I was not able to sit and enjoy with the dinner hour creeping and Matthew not yet home instead I stepped over and around picnic, trying to avoid falling on my head all the while listening to my phone going crazy on the kitchen counter.  A fervor reaching fever pitch of  friends, family, business partners all texting, tagging, poking and sharing the media release followed by the inevitable question,

“When can I get my copy?”

Well, the glue has not quite finished drying from today’s print lot but as soon as I have copy, you will.  Actually, as soon as my mother has a copy you will.  I would rather like to see you try and get a copy before her, I might actually get popcorn and a comfy chair to watch. The truth is, I do not know when copy will be available.  Keep an eye on the site and I promise the second I have copy it will be available to purchase through AvasTree.com as well as Praeclarus Press.

This is all is so very surreal and lightening.  This two and a half year project is coming to fruition and I am so lightened to see it taking off and hear the interest in it.  I hope it is held in the space for which it was intended, that people are brave and courageous and let it in.  I hope that my intention shines through of my deep desire of wanting no other woman with HELLP to feel as alone as I did.  That there is a book for them too.

Most of all, I hope she proud.

Good Friends and All the Band-aids

The second half of our vacation this month was spent doing day trips and being close to home.  Matthew found a great deal online for tickets to the Toronto Zoo using blue airmiles.  We are chronic air mile collectors but never do much with them.  We only fly on points from a credit card air miles but I don’t think they actually intend for you to fly with blue airmiles because it takes a bazillion points to even fly regional which is not exactly the most efficient use of them.  The very most we have ever cashed them in for was grocery store gift cards which I recently heard you are no longer permitted to do, so when Matt said he found this deal using points for the two of us to get into the zoo for free I was elated.

The Toronto zoo is three hours away and something that I thought we would do once when Lillian was small but then not again for some time.  It turned out to be one of the happiest little trips leaving a huge impact with our girl so much so that on the way home Matt said he would be sure to see if he could get us another set of tickets for next year.  Being that it is three hours away I thought it would be prudent if we stayed overnight close by, the zoo is a lot of walking and in the summer we wanted to get there early out of the heat of the day and walk until we could no more.  Having saved the money on not buying the tickets meant all we were would have to worry about was cost of the hotel and food, not such a bad deal.  We picked up a cheap hotel room, thai food, put the baby to bed and enjoyed a quiet evening but that was after I got to snuggle this guy,
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Theo!

When Matt pointed out the out that the Zoo was on the other side of Toronto I immediately thought, then we can see Veronica and Theo and they are on the way!  Blogger friends may know Veronica and I have had the esteemed pleasure of getting to know and love her and her boys for the last couple of years.  Veronica graciously invited us over the for afternoon to play before we headed off to crash for the night.  Theo and Lillian played like long time friends as we neurotically ran around trying to get sweet snapshots of them and talking a mile a minute to get days worth of a visit into a few hours.  Just the most gracious of hosts, I was so glad we got to spend some time with them.

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I adore this photo that Veronica snapped of us.  Theo is just the snuggliest little guy and I was glad for the full arms.

The next day we were off to the Zoo bright and early.  If you have not been before it feels like you are going into the middle of nowhere.  Matt just kept muttering that he didn’t think the major roads came out that far into the sticks, it is a little tricky to find though most people that time of day down those roads were headed to the zoo so we simply followed the crowd.  Everyone had warned us that the day would entail a lot of walking and that we could bring out own snacks.  We loaded down the City Mini with a days worth of supplies, put on our comfiest shoes and hoped our feet would hold out.  What we were not expecting was that Lillian would out walk us all.  She walked for close to to five hours straight.  She refused the stroller, did not want to go on Matt’s shoulders, just marched along happily.  For five hours.  She kept paced and just marched. Well,  marched and fell.  Three falls were significant enough to send us to the aid station for band aids and by the second time in they knew our names and offered her a cool drink.

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Lillian says the panda’s were her favourite, perhaps because they were the first animal we saw.  We were lucky to see them as apparently panda’s sleep 22 hours a day and we were able to see one out and enjoying breakfast.  Both Lillian and Matt were enthralled.

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The otters were another big hit for Lillian because it was so active and moving around.  She got to watch them swim and now every time she is in water she wiggles around and says,

“Look! I an otter! I swim!”

 

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Looking at the giraffes

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Matthew loves aquariums and fish.  We have had an aquarium since 2008 and Lillian has picked up his love of fish.  The multiple fish tanks were a big hit.

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Oh, my heart, this photo.

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This was the face she gave me when I told her that was a tiger, like Daniel Tiger on PBS.  Mind.  Blown.

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IMG_9946This last photo was taken in the parking lot of the zoo after 6 hours of walking.  Cookie still in her hand, a bite still in her mouth she passed out hard before we had even gotten to the entrance gates. It was such a lovely day.

Spare Room – Ready for visitors!

 

I have always wanted a nicely finished guest room.  It is a luxurious thing, to be able to give your guests a beautiful, welcoming place to stay.  I remember staying at my friend Jane’s house for the first time and falling into a beautiful bed, high with pillows and waking up to fresh flowers on the side table.

I mean, come’on.

At the old house on Pol we had lots of guests but no fancy room.  The most I was able to do was to get a headboard for our spare bed and some nice percale sheets and duvet.  This house I swore would be different but who has the time and resources to simply say, hey! Let’s spend some money on the spare room.

And then we received word that a dear friend may be coming for a visit. At that time the room was a bed and a bunch of Rubbermaid storage containers filled with Lillian’s baby things, hardly what I wanted for a guest to be walking into.  One day while Lillian napped (aka chatted in bed and refused to sleep) I sat on the floor of the room and thought about waking up in this space as a guest.  It faces onto the bush, you would wake up to the green trees and the wind and from lying on the bed all you see is nature, the exact reason we built here and the rooms focus should be just that.

When we built the house we painted the spare room the neutral grey that is the base colour for our home.  With the neutral carpet and white trim the room felt stark and lack luster.  Wanting to keep the budget under control I scrounged around our house to fill in some of the gaps, a blue duvet cover that was a wedding gift and a white chair that is from the sofa set that will not die.  I have had the white sofa set since I was 18 and it was 10 years old at least when I received it as a gift from an Aunt for my first ever apartment.  People I met in college come to my house to this day and cannot believe I still have the white sofa set.  We have tried to sell it but I have always found a reason to keep it, there is always a reason to have it around.  We just can’t seem to part with it and now the sofa set is divided with the couch being in Matt’s office and the two chairs being in our room and the spare room.  IMG_7207

These photos are from one of the sale attempts, that damned sofa set is the cat that came back….

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Once I had a few key pieces really all I needed was decor.  I hate pillows or rather, I love them deeply and can never afford to buy them.  I would have heaps and heaps of pillows in every colour of the rainbow stacked high and ready for me to pull out for whatever colour scheme suits.  But who can afford this!  24 dollars for one throw pillow is not happening.  Imagine my surprise when I was able to pick up throw pillows for 13 dollars each at Ikea!  6.99 for the cover, 7 dollars for the down filled insert, completely washable, hello!

 

SNABBVINGE Cushion cover IKEA The zipper makes the cover easy to remove.

 

And as luck would have it, the blue on the pillow perfectly matches the duvet cover we received as a wedding gift many years ago.  As soon as I found those cushions I saw the rest of the room come together in my mind’s eye.  The next day we hit Bouclair for the linen drapes and rod.

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Matthew and I love photography.  We love looking at our walls and see photos that have meaning, photos that capture beautiful and sacred moments for us.  Getting professional photos done is very trendy now and I so often hear my friends say, oh I meant to do something with the expensive professional photographs we have but I never did.  I swore when we built this house it would be a reflection of us and our lives.

Last month we went for dinner with Matt’s practical brother J.J.  J.J is the little brother I never had, I met him the day I sat down on the school bus and met Matt for the first time.  J.J married Michelle last fall, they share a love that is palpable and jumps out and grabs you. I loved their wedding as much as mine own and although we don’t get to see them that often as life is busy but when we do it is like putting on your most favourite sweater.

Michelle has an incredible talent as a photographer.  Last month we took Lillian to the river near their house and we fed the ducks.  Watching J.J as an Uncle warms my heart, his earnest heart and want to protect her, I thought if one duck moved wrong Uncle J.J would have made it dinner. The entire time Lil played, chased, fed and tried to get as dirty as possible Michelle snapped away and many stunning photos of our girl.  When I found the curtains I knew the exact photos I wanted on the wall, one of “Aunnie Michelle’s.”

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Photo Cred: Michelle R (Contact me for information)

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Photo Cred: HRM Photography

I went to order the canvas from Costco as I have before in the past, however, their online order system was done.  My tolerance of in store-anything is next to nothing, Matthew is the shopper in our house and if I can order online and not drag my kid to a store I vote that each and every time.  I went searching for a Canadian producer that was well referred and in PosterJack, a Toronto based company, I hit the jackpot.   Two canvases later and the room was complete.

Breakdown of costs:

72 each for two canvases

13 each for two pillows

70 for the curtains

19 for the curtain rod

And for a big 260 dollars we have a space ready for guests, who wants dibs?

In the Shadows

There are those moments that stop you, make you gasp and ache like the early days of grief.

In the early days I existed on Netflix, physiotherapy, warm blankets and blocking out the world.  I lived in a fog of loss.  Loss of what to do with myself, loss of my girl, loss of self and loss of soul.  With painstaking slowness those things begin to ease and life forces you out of the haze.  And even now, four and a half years later, I still get slammed back into the fog and cutting pain of grief by life.

It is like being put back in a deep, black hole of pain after spending time in the clouded light.  An abrupt, unwelcome and sickeningly comforting pain that speaks to the fact she was here and now she is gone.

We went to the cottage last week for a family holiday. Although much of it did not go as planned (so much so I believe a second post will be in order) the highlight and heart salve of the trip was going out to my brother’s farm for the day.

My brother has a farm on a lake in the middle of flipping no where.  Drive 20 km into the bush and when you think, yup, there is nothing out here, drive 20 km further and that is where my brother lives.  He has an idyllic farm set beside a small and picturesque lake.  Truly a little kids paradise, with soft sandy shores for Lillian to wade around for hours, a barn filled with ducks, chickens, goats and dogs.  One of the hottest days of the year we set up lawn chairs in the lake and sat up to our chins in water while Lillian played with her cousins catching frogs and learning to swim.

We do not see my brother and his wife Lynn* very often because they live so far away.  So much of Ava is in my brother, she is named for him, he adores her in a way that is sacred and often times it is easy forget the connection forged between him, myself and our spouses over the loss of our beloved girl.  And then I see them with Lillian and it all rushes back.  It all hit me watching Lynn and Lillian stand at the kitchen sink together, washing the vegetables picked from the garden.  Lynn patiently teaching Lillian to wash and spin the lettuce, how to cut the tomatoes for dinner all the while breathing in who Lillian is and genuinely wanting to know and love her.  I felt the back of my throat tighten with grief and my eyes well with tears knowing that is exactly what Ava is missing.  Ava is missing cooking lessons with Auntie Lynn, she is missing Uncle’s swimming lessons, she is missing how to feed the barn animals and the look of adoration from her family.  Lynn is missing loving on Ava, getting to know her, as is my brother.  When Ava died we were all robbed of each other and the potential love and joy we could have had together with her.

Standing there, watching the two of them the grief hole swallowed me and I was transported back into the fog and haze of loss.  The bewilderment of wondering what would have been, anger of why it is not and profound sorrow that pulls you under.  Four and a half years later she is still gone and I still grieve, I am still learning about this life without her, still immeasurably changed by her and missing her just as I did those first few days of grief. Having a living child after loss has shown me that I will witness my loss along the way of her sisters life in a twisty and sweet way.  It is twisted that I cannot see this beautiful moment for just Lillian’s experience alone and rather that I take her sister along in her life.  I have always maintained that Lillian will not grow in Ava’s shadow but it is suddenly apparent that it is the other way around.  Ava is in Lillian’s shadow.  Standing beside her and along for the ride beside her sister.  Somehow, despite the pain it causes me, there is a comfort in that.  A comfort in knowing she is included, a comfort in seeing glimpses of her where I can and salve in the recognition of both of my girls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Claire*

*Trigger warning. Deals with gender and loss*

 

This last weekend I was given a gift I will never forget.

A loss Mama friend came by for tea.   We sat and chatted, making faces at her sweet babe in arms, a beloved baby boy.

Jessica has 4 beloved baby boys.  And a girl in heaven. A first born, ever missed, ever loved girl in heaven.  Claire was a beauty girl that has grown in her mother’s heart for years instead of her arms and I do not speak out of turn when I say Jessica misses her every single moment of every day.

As we all miss.

4 boys and a lost girl.  Lost, like misplaced? I hate that term.  4 boys and a missed girl, rather.  A missed and wanted girl.

I remember the moment I found out Lillian was a girl.  I remember being completely convinced she was a boy and stunned in surprise to find out otherwise.  I remember the moment of relief that washed over me, knowing that this felt like an easier road, as if such a thing exists.  I would get the experience of parenting the gender I had lost and that felt unburdening.  I also quietly mourned the idea of having a boy, as I always thought I would have a boy one day and get to experience that Mother and Son bond.  Gender is complicated and when added to grief it is a sinkhole of emotion.

Jessica has mourned and is mourning gender too.  When pregnant with her wee boy she went out and bought a talisman, a hope piece for the pregnancy of a beautiful pink tree for the nursery.

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A beautiful pink tree that she tucked away, hoping that one day she may be able to use it.

Until that day did not come.

Imagine my shock and complete humbled awe in the moment where she handed that beautiful tree to me and offered it to me for Lillian’s room.  I barely could croak out sufficient gratitude.  That tree means so much to her.  It is a sacred piece of grief that is part of her bond with Claire and her love of all her boys.  That tree is the ability to hope in the face of tremendous pain and she is giving it to me to be used for another girl she sees, that stings and is a reminder of what is not.  She could burn it, scream at it and even refuse to let it go and she has ever right to do so and instead, she gave of herself, wholly and seemingly without hesitation.

And now it hangs in Lillian’s bedroom.

From the day I designed Lillian’s bedroom I pictured her large pink tree from her nursery hanging over her bed.

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I was heartbroken when it did not make the move and essentially self destructed while in storage.  When I pulled it out of the box it no longer had the adhesive properties it once had, was cracked and sad.  I worked on it for about 2 hours to try and save it.  I eventually gave up, cried, threw out the big beautiful tree and decorated her room in a “nice” way that was good enough in my mind until she moved into her big kid bed.

But I never really have liked her room. It wasn’t hers somehow.

I saw other nurseries and bedrooms for girls and thought that I needed to do something more with Lily’s but did not know what.  Both of the girls had a tree on their walls, Ava’s a small 4 foot tree with green and yellow leaves, it was perfect and sweet and I still think on the time I sat on the floor of her room with my big belly setting it up.  It was Ava’s tree that motivated me to find the giant pink one Lil’s nursery on Pol had.  It was a tie between the girls and since moving the to dream on Russet that tie has been broken.

Jessica just gave me a tree, the same size of Ava’s but the colour of Lillian’s.  A perfect match.

As I hung it this afternoon I wept.  For Claire.  For Ava.  For all the babies.  I wept for the anger that filled me at the injustice of it all and for the pure frustration that comes with making sense of the nonsensical.  For the fact I was hanging it and not her, for all those things we lose with a child that no one thinks of that ruin and haunt and destroy you.  When I was done hanging it, through the tears I stepped back and smiled.

For Claire.

 

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Thank you Jessica.

 

(*Names changed …because, duh!)