I just sent this note to the Trisomy Listserve I'm on--a group that I've been connected with since Keren was born. One of the members always puts reminder notes out about kids' birthdays and "angel days" (what they call the day a child died), so Keren's date came up this week. I ended up writing an update and thought, "Hmmm, this would be good to archive on my blog!" So here it is:
Thanks All, for the warm thoughts, prayers, memories! It is mind-boggling to realize that a year has passed already since we lost our Keren-girl. It definitely has not been the year we wanted, but despite the pain of Keren's death and the hole she left here, we've had so much joy over the past year, too. The other two girls, Clare and Evvie, have grown leaps and bounds, stretching us in millions of ways, and our little Jonathan who was born in August is a new bright light. The girls are eager to tell him all about Keren "So that he'll get to know about her since he didn't get to meet her," and while some of their tales are slightly apocryphal, it melts my heart to hear them :) .
For whatever reason, the past couple months (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and this month leading up to the 28th) have been much easier for Kraig and me emotionally than her birthday month (September) and last October. I walked around those two months feeling like I had a lump in my chest that wouldn't loosen up. The last couple months have been full of poignant, sweet memories, but the depression hasn't accompanied it. I know that I can't guarantee that it won't return, but I've been learning to accept that what I'm feeling now is now, and whatever I'm feeling another time is that time, and I don't have to feel a certain way. I'm realizing all the more why we can't put grief on a linear track and dictate how people deal with it.
We spent the 28th quietly--Kraig went to work, I was home with the girls, then we went to my parents for dinner. My biggest prayer request was for sunshine and blue skies, because it floods our house with light and makes even cold January days seem warm and full of life. God totally answered that prayer! I was able to take time to write a little about my thoughts that day--I've been been getting into blogging and have enjoyed the outlet of getting my thoughts down. The girls and I did some baking projects that afternoon. My friend Laura brought a mylar balloon by that she and her kids picked out (a heart with "Love" written on it, and shiny--just like Keren always loved). "We just wanted you to know we miss her too," she said. I talked to family and a friend via text messages and a couple phone calls :) , but that was all the interaction with "people." I even stayed off Facebook and email for most of the day, because I knew I couldn't delve into it--too many emotions! It helped just to know people were praying from a distance.
I didn't want to be around many people that day, and we were able to pull it off because we planned a special time for today. We invited some of our close friends and family, along with close friends from Keren's school (her teacher, para-pros, therapists, a couple fellow-parents) to join us at our home for a brunch with the theme of looking back and moving forward. We wanted everyone to come with something in mind of a "lesson" learned this past year (in general--it didn't have to be about Keren), and ways they're going into the future. It turned out beautifully! Only three could come from her school, but it's three of those we've been closest to, and one of Keren's classmates and mom and sib came--another special connection, along with the few close family friends. Our friend Jodi brought Mardi-gras beads that Clare gave to each person as they arrived--another special memory of Keren. We didn't end up having a formal share time (though right at the end someone said, "I didn't get to tell the thing I learned!" so that started a good conversation), but throughout the time there was the ebb and flow of sharing good memories and things we've learned. I can't tell you how great it was to have this to look forward to all month! Today was sunny off and on, too, and we laughed and cried, and grew together. I know we're going to have to have something again--it's just so special to be able to have these friendships! Hmmm.... Next time we'll have to invite more people (hint, hint, Michigan friends :) )....
So, who knows what this year will bring, but this is where God took us to today!
Hmmm....I forgot to take pictures today--that would have been nice to add. I'll have to get some from my Dad :) .