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Archive for the ‘Lucy Anne’ Category

Happy Birthday, Lucy.

Dear Lucy,

Two years ago, at 12:23 am, you made your unexpected debut into our lives. Until then, and even after, I didn’t know what it meant to be a mother. You taught me so much. Two years later, not having you here with me doesn’t hurt any less. We’ve sort of learned how to live with this gaping hole in our lives, but in some ways, it feels more painful than ever. I think I’ve only just begun to realize what it means to have an entire lifetime of missing you ahead of me. As we’ve watched your cousin Hallie and your little brother grow into beautiful little people, all the things that we’re missing with you have finally started to hit home. The birthdays and cakes, the milestones, the cuddles and kisses are all so sweet, but so painful too. Every event and holiday feels like it’s taking me farther from you. Sometimes I hate that time passes, because it passes without you. I never wanted to leave you behind.

You’re still a huge presence in our lives, of course. We have pictures of you everywhere. We talk to William about you. He knows your name and your face, and when I say “Lucy” to him, he smiles and waves at your picture. I see you in him a lot of times; I think you two would have looked a lot alike. He just turned one, he’s already getting so big. Recently, your ashes finally found a new home in a small pewter heart. It took us so long to do anything with them because we couldn’t bear to think about it. I don’t know if all of your ashes will stay there or not, but for now, I’m glad they’re there. It’s small enough to fit in the palm of my hand, and it warms up as I hold it. It’s heavy, and solid, and more inviting than the plastic box the mortuary gave us. I know it’s not you in there, but I’m still glad your ashes have a nice place to rest now. They’re sitting on a bookshelf in William’s room (and your room too), along with some of your other things. I like to imagine you watching over your little brother there.

Lucy, I’ve struggled a lot this year. I didn’t think I could ever have a harder time than I did when we said goodbye to you, but it’s even more difficult to try every day to be the kind of person I want to be for you. I struggle every day with guilt and shame for my failings as your mommy. A lot of people have told me that I was strong, but I know in my heart that I wasn’t the kind of strong mommy you needed. I could have and should have done better. You deserved the very best me possible, and I didn’t give it to you. I was too focused on the wrong things, and I didn’t know until it was too late. You are so sweet, though. I know that you would know all that and still forgive me and love me. I hope that you know that even with all my failings, nobody could love you more than I do. There are so many things I wish I could change about that time, and I can’t change any of them. The only way I know how to deal with that is by trying harder every day to be the kind of person who would make you proud, and to be the kind of mom who would deserve the precious gifts she’s been given in you and William. I fail a lot. Most days I fall short. I try and try, and I just keep failing. But continuing to try is what it’s all about, right? I know, nobody is perfect, so I’ll just keep on trying to be better, and trying to forgive myself at the same time. Because really, this isn’t about me at all. It’s about you and all the lives you touched. Hopefully, it’s about making the world a little bit better in your honor.

Some days are very dark for me, Lucy, but you are still my little light, and you always will be. I love you, darling girl, with every bit of my cracked, imperfect heart.

Love,
Mommy

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This is the elephant Uncle Justin gave her. He wears a bandaid that she had on when she died. The heart is the urn that her ashes are in.

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Twilight beach print by CarlyMarie.

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There’s nothing like having babies around to make Christmas feel even more special. William didn’t really care this year, but it was fun to celebrate with him for the first time anyway.

He got to visit Santa Claus twice, and even saw Mrs. Claus when they visited the Ronald McDonald House (and we got to see Autumn and Aaron and Talen!)

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Mommy tried to take some pictures of him for our Christmas card, but he wasn’t feeling very cooperative that morning:

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Then Uncle Jordan took some family pictures for the card:

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Much better.

In the middle of December, some cute cousins played in front of the tree at Grandma and Grandpa’s house in their jammies:

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On Christmas Eve, we all went to church then came back to open presents at Grandma and Grandpa’s house:

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Somebody was tired.

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This was one of Uncle Justin’s presents for the babies. Thanks a lot, Uncle Justin.

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William got a rocking caterpillar! He likes to stand up on its back nowadays.

Then we spent Christmas morning at our house, opening stockings from Santa.

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Christmas breakfast: Dutch baby pancakes, sausage, and mandarins.

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He got a piece of gingerbread and a mandarin, and he wasn’t sure which he wanted to eat more:

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That’s not how you eat a mandarin!

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He got gingerbread all over everything.

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He played on his new rocker.

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Then decided he’d had enough.

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How many toys does a baby need?

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A lot, apparently.

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He loves the hammer from his pounding table. Here, he took it over to Daddy’s new step ladder to test it out.

And that was about it! We had a great Christmas, and we loved spending it with William. The only thing missing, of course, was Lucy. We hung her stocking on the mantle, just like we will every year. We wrote letters to her and put them inside, a tradition I hope we’ll continue every year. Maybe when William gets older, he’ll want to write her a letter too.

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Blurry, but those are stenciled from Lucy’s actual footprints, life-sized.

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Here’s the Christmas card we sent out, by the way. I was so pleased with how cute it was when I ordered it – our very first family photo Christmas card. As you can see, I overlooked one important thing. I forgot to change the default name, so all of our cards were sent out from the Copeland Family. Oh well, live and learn. I actually thought it was kind of hilarious.

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The Struggle for Meaning

I’ve hit a valley in the ongoing struggle with my grief for Lucy. There’s no “why,” I’m just more sad right now, in the midst of my beautiful, happy life. And it’s becoming more difficult to talk about it, because I feel that I have to come up with something new to say to justify talking about it. That’s not true. Grief relives the same feelings over and over, and there are only so many ways to express the depths of sadness. Saying “I miss you” and “my heart is broken without you” is as timeless as saying “I love you,” and really, they’re the same anyway.

So what should I say? Should I say “Lucy, I love you, I miss you, my life can never be whole without you?” I do, often. Should I say that I would have given all the years of my life for you to live? We wanted to, asked to, while she was alive. We begged and pleaded, and both of us would have signed any compact to exchange our time for hers.

We couldn’t, so instead we try to use our time better, in her honor and on her behalf. I try to love more honestly and more openly. I try to be grateful for all the many, many blessings in my life. I try to see the best in people, and recognize their struggles. I fail often, but I try. I try to be patient, but I have little patience for talk about how terrible this world is, and how everything is falling apart, and how evil is winning. The world is filled with beauty, and love, and charity. It is a place where children are happy, and where beautiful little souls like my Lucy can come for a moment to remind us of the good in ourselves and others, and to inspire us to strive to do better.

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Happy Father’s Day to the amazing father of my amazing children. As I type this, he’s sitting in the corner of our dark room bouncing William, who refuses to go to sleep. I’ve found as the years go by that he’s a better man than I deserve and a better husband than I ever dreamed was possible. Now I know that he’s also the kindest, most patient, and most loving father to our babies that I could ever hope for.

We started our Father’s Day with Dutch baby pancakes (his request). He ate his with sorghum and maple syrup. I ate mine three ways: with nutella and bananas, with my homemade nectarine blueberry lime jam, and the classic way, with butter, fresh squeezed lemon, and powdered sugar. That’s my favorite way.

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William and I made him some Father’s Day crafts. The second is William’s and Lucy’s footprints.

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Some pictures of David and William over the last month:

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Doing pull-ups while wearing the baby in the Moby wrap, haha.

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And of course we can’t forget Lucy.

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How happy we were then. But we’re happy now too, in a different way.

And I can’t forget MY dad on Father’s Day, can I? He was and is the best dad to me, and the best grandpa to our kids.

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And my father-in-law, another wonderful dad and grandpa. David wouldn’t be the man he is without his dad.

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So happy Father’s Day to all the good daddies out there. Where would we be without you and all your hard work, dedication, and love?

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Walk for Kids

Last weekend we walked in the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House Walk for Kids. It takes place at CALM (the California Living Museum), which is a pretty cool little zoo if you’ve never been. It was a really great experience, and we were so glad we were able to be there with our family and with William. It was an emotionally charged day for David and I. Last year we were planning on still being in Bakersfield with Lucy and taking a morning to do the walk. Instead we were back home at her memorial service on the day of the walk. God, no parent should have to sit through a memorial service for their child. I was remembering it all day long.

Anyway, you all know how we feel about the Ronald McDonald House. It’s an incredible charity, and they raised over $200,000 at the walk this year. We’re so glad to be a part of that. Also we’re proud of our team. We raised over $1600 this year, every penny of which goes to the house. Go team.

Lucy’s banner:

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Aunt Shelby and Uncle Adam:

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Mom and Dad with their grandbabies:

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Happy grandpa:

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Uncle Jordan, Aunt Keshia, and cousin Hallie:

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They asked us and our friend Autumn to share a little about our experience at the Ronald McDonald House:

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Hallie was sleepy before the walk:

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But still awake enough to smile at everyone:

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William was ready to walk:

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So we all walked, in memory of Lucy and for all the other families who are benefited by the Ronald McDonald House.

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Gah, my husband is ridiculously good looking.

And then we all went to lunch to celebrate Jordan’s birthday that day! Happy birthday Jordan! And then David and I went and bought our first new car! It was quite a day. Thanks to our family for coming out and walking with us, thanks to everyone who walked and raised money for the house, and thanks to Scarlett for organizing everything.

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Yesterday was my second Mother’s Day. It’s really hard for me to believe that this post was only a year ago. My first Mother’s Day was stressful but full of hope and love. My second Mother’s day was very relaxed and full of love, but also sad. Not only was I missing Lucy, but as of Sunday William has been with us longer than Lucy was. He’s now lived longer than she got to, and while I’m incredibly grateful for that, it’s just one more reminder that she’s not here living the life we hoped she would.

There are lots of mothers missing one or more of their children on Mother’s Day. This advice is too late for this year, but if you know a woman who has lost a child, take a moment to acknowledge her and her child on Mother’s Day, or any day. I can almost guarantee that one of the best gifts you could give her is to say the name of her lost baby and to recognize that life.

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That’s Lucy on Mother’s Day last year.

This year I have William, and Lucy is always in my heart.

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Hi! I’ve moved this post, along with all of my incompetent cervix and TAC-related posts, to my new TAC blog. Head on over: My TAC Experience

 

I’ll be updating that blog regularly with more information and stories, so please check in. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at tac.questions@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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