If you must die…

Haddie,

So I haven’t sold the stroller yet but there is still 1 more day in our sale.  As I was thinking about the stroller some more I remembered the last time you were in it.  It was the week before you left us.  We went for a walk around the neighborhood and you fell asleep.  It was so cute because you were still holding your toys in your hands and your head dropped straight forward.  I didn’t know you had fallen asleep so I was shocked when I looked down at you.  It looked so uncomfortable!

Saturday at our sale I sold our baby swing.  I originally bought the baby swing when I pregnant with your sister.  Elo didn’t seem to like the swing and neither did you.  So I decided to sell it.  Well someone came along and bought it.  Eloise watched as they put it in their car.  She turned to me and said, “Where Haddie swing going?  That Haddie swing.”  She started to cry.  I never thought of that swing as yours so I had no emotional attachments to it.  But Eloise did, and we both cried.

Back when Mama and Daddy were first married before we had you guys we would talk about life and kids.  One of our major hot spots was daycare.  I had always wanted to be a stay at home mom.  I never wanted to have someone else watch my kids more than I did.  I had nothing against daycare, because I had to go to daycare while my mom worked so hard to provide for us.  My mom is my hero by the way.  I was just really passionate about being the primary caregiver for my children.  Well life happened and when we had your sister we were not in a place financially for me to stay home.  So I kept working and we paid for daycare.  Then we found out we were pregnant with you and I still wanted to stay home.  But again we weren’t in a position to do that.  I always said I didn’t want to have kids unless I could stay home.  This is why….I should have never compromised with myself.  Not that I regret having you because I absolutely do not.  But we could have waited….maybe if we had waited I could have stayed home.  This wouldn’t have happened.  You would still be here.  Why couldn’t I have been patient?  I just couldn’t wait.  Did this happen because I had to have it my way?

I have been feeling like a failure as a mom lately.  I feel like I failed you in so many ways.  But lately because we are still here, and we have to live this life, I feel like I am betraying you.  Then I have your beautiful, smart, spicy, sister that deserves everything and some days I can’t seem to get it together.  Today I randomly broke into tears that wouldn’t stop and I looked over and Eloise looked scared.  I went over and I said, “I’m sorry Mama is so sad, but I love you so very much.”  She wouldn’t even look at me.  Now I am failing her and I hate myself for that.  I really hate how I feel and I hate that this is our life.  You and your sister deserved a life together with all the happiness and sadness that come along with that.  I am struggling to figure out how I can do it.

Your Daddy and I are going to our first grief counseling session tomorrow.  I hope that this will help give us some direction in living this life without you.

I love you….and your sister so much.  Living life with you is our greatest joy.

Love,
Mama

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I’m fighting a constant war in my head…

I miss you, so I look at your pictures.  This makes me miss you more.  I then watch all of you videos and sob through them.  Nothing eases this pain.  Nothing fills this hole.  Nothing makes me less angry.

Haddie,  I am constantly fighting a war in my head.  

“Is she really gone?” 
“Was she really here?”  
“God take me now!”  
“Bring her back”. 
“Wake me up” 
“Why are you hurting me” 
“I can’t do this anymore”. 
“I don’t want to do this anymore”
“Why me?”
We had dinner with some good friends last night that have also lost their precious daughter.  It has been a little over a year from them.  We had great conversation and were able to speak freely.  There was something comforting about being around people that understand the same kind of pain as us.  We felt free to cry together and say the things you don’t say to just anybody.  The scary thoughts or the weird thoughts you have on a daily basis.  It’s also nice to find out your not a “crazy person” and others have thought these thoughts.  As comforting as it was they did confirm that their pain is still very present a year later.  They still have days that they can’t seem to get it together.  They still have days that the tears don’t stop and the aching is unbearable.

Today we are having a garage sale.  This is Eloise’s first garage sale and she is having some attachment issues.  I did not plan for these breakdowns.  It’s kinda hard to make a sale when the child is screaming, “That’s MY toy!”  I am also selling the double stroller that I used for you and Eloise.  I am hoping it sells because it’s heavy and takes up a lot of room in our garage.  I also feel like it taunts me every time I look at it.  I see the spot where you should be sitting and I am reminded of what I don’t have.  Of course I am keeping anything of yours that has good memories.  Which is mostly everything except that stroller.

Our adventures in that stroller

As always Haddie I am missing you today is no different.  I sit here wondering how this garage sale would be different if you were here.  I sure it would be interesting and hard that’s for sure and I would welcome that challenge.  I hope that you and our friend’s baby girl are having a great time today with Jesus.  I can’t wait for the day that we join you.  

Love you so much,
Mama

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I’m Drowning…

Haddie Bo Bo,
I am drowning today.  Everyday there is a sadness that I carry around.  But today I am overcome with thoughts of you.  I am missing you and I am surviving moment by moment.  What can I do to get through this day, this hour, this minute?  It’s all I can do to keep going.  If I start to think about how much life I have to live until I see you again it’s unbearable.  God help me.  God help me.  Even though I am surrounded by people who love me I feel alone.  
It’s difficult to say, that living this life is hard, and I am sure it’s difficult for family and friends to hear.  But it is hard its torture.  I know I have things to look forward to for Eloise.  But the pain is so raw and fresh that it is swallowing me whole.  I am so angry that the rest of my life I have to carry this around with me.  I do cherish the good memories with you but they are still so painful.  So sometimes I can’t think about them, because I get physically ill.  Loosing a child is the cruelest event that can ever happen.  
I have been blessed with so many people in my life that have shown us support.  I am a huge believer that family is a choice.  Your Aunt Emily, Aunt Alisa, and Aunt Rachel are my sisters.  I have always wanted a sister…always.  I was so happy to be able to give Eloise the sister I never had.  Aunt Emily was with me when I was told that you were gone and she didn’t leave my side for days.  I called Aunt Alisa and told her at work and she walked out of teaching a class to be with me.  Aunt Alisa called Aunt Rachel and she dropped everything at her job in Chicago to be with me for 4 days straight.  These ladies have kids, husbands, jobs, and so many responsibilities that they put aside to sit with me.  I am forever grateful and the words “thank you” are so not appropriate.  My love and appreciation for them goes so deep.  We were close before this happened but now the bond is so strong.  They each carry a piece of you around their neck and it’s so special, Haddie.  They cry with me.  They cry for you.  They grieve with me.  
We have been so humbled by the love that we have been shown by everyone.  The meals, cards, notes, texts, phone calls, etc. have been very encouraging.  It means so much to us that people have been so generous with their time, resources, and spirits.  It challenges me to be a better person.  It has brought back my faith in humanity.  I wish I could personally thank everyone.  

Haddie we miss you.  I wish you were here.

Love,
Mama
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Singing with the radio

Haddie Bo BO,

I continue down this road of firsts…

Today I went grocery shopping for the first time.  It was just Elo and me and it seemed like such a daunting task.  First, because I hate grocery shopping.  I feel like I always spend way too much money and I always seem to forget to buy something.  Second, because I would usually take you with me.  Sometimes I would take you and your sister and that always turned into a stressful situation.  Mostly, Elo stayed home with Daddy and you were my shopping buddy.  You always did so great sitting like a big girl in the top of the cart.  Of course everyone loved to see you smile and always commented on how cute you were.  I did find it annoying that if you weren’t clearly dressed in girl clothes people thought you were a boy.  What says boy about your face????  Anyway, grocery shopping today was easy we even returned cans.  It was so easy that I hated it.  I wish you were there so I could juggle the chaos of keeping two kids happy in the grocery store, and finding a place to put the groceries in the cart.  I miss going in the baby aisles for diapers, wipes, and baby food.  I only saw one person I knew at the grocery store I wasn’t prepared to talk so I turned down the underwear aisle.  I also think it’s strange that when you make eye contact with someone you give the polite smile and they usual smile back.  Sometimes I think of it as a game; trying to make the grumpiest looking person smile back at you.  So even though today I didn’t  feel like smiling at people I did.  The one person who refused to smile back really bothered me.  If I can make the effort smile at you ,when my daughter is not here anymore, than you can smile back.  But maybe they are experiencing the same kind of loss and I should give them a break. 

Another first…I caught myself singing along with the radio.  This has absolutely not happened since you have been gone.  It wasn’t the whole song, just a line.  What does this mean? When I realized it happen I stopped and I wasn’t sure what to think.  I am actually too scared to write what I was thinking because it might be true or people might think it’s true.  If people see me laugh they say, “She seems to be handling it well.”  Or “She is doing better.”  Let me be clear Haddie, yes I do laugh and smile, but my world is still shattered. No I don’t cry 97% of my days anymore.  But your still the first thing I think about and the last thing.  

I find myself talking like this a lot.  Before Haddie passed, blah blah blah.  Or since Haddie has passed blah blah blah.  I really really do not like the after.  
I had my first dream about you that wasn’t a nightmare.  You were happy and smiling and I picked you up.  I didn’t remember the dream right away this morning.  But when I did I felt joy and sadness and I cried.  I love you baby.  Thank you for the good dream.  
Love,
Mama

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I don’t have to smile

Haddie Bo Bo,

It would have been your 1st Fourth of July.  Your first time seeing fireworks.  The first time to take some awkward picture with your sister in some ridiculous red, white, and blue outfit.  
I have been struggling with my thoughts lately.  I get lost going over and over that day in my head and it’s torture.  Thinking about that morning seeing your happy face before I left you.  I will forever regret leaving you.  The words, “You daughter has passed away” go through my head and makes my skin crawl.  Even thinking about that night at our house filled with family and friends and remembering the look in peoples eyes makes me so devastatingly sad all over again.  I am forever tormented by the events of that day.  I know that I have said it before but I will say it again because it is a constant feeling that I have.  I get angry, sad, and hurt, when I think of living this life without you.  Everything that this family will experience will be always missing you.  You were supposed to be Eloise’s Maid of Honor someday and she was supposed to be yours.  You were supposed to go to school dances, leave for college, make bad decisions,  and live a beautiful full life.  July 4th, 2015 you would have been 11 months.  In a month we would have been celebrating your 1st birthday.  I would have bought you some sort of frilly girly outfit to take cake smashing pictures in.  We would have sang to you…
This past holiday weekend we spent with friends who are family to us.  We had a lot of good conversations.  One we had with a close friend that has experienced the loss the his wife 19 years ago.  He said the pain gets different but it is always still there.  You live with it differently than you do the first few years.  He said it took 5 years to feel like himself again.  I found that interesting because I really do feel like a different person.  I am not sure how to accurately describe it.  When I do feel joy or happiness it isn’t AS happy or AS joyful as it would have been if you were still here.  I do not believe that I will ever feel the blissful happiness that I use to feel.  It’s strange that I don’t ever really feel like doing anything.  We get invitations to go places and when we do we have fun, we laugh, and we don’t usually regret going.  But I don’t have a desire to leave the comfort of my house where I feel safe.  I don’t have to smile in my house if I don’t feel like it.  No one will look at me when I randomly start crying.  No one will ask me or my friends how I am doing.  No one will be able to tell that I haven’t showered for days.  No one will think that because I am laughing I am doing “really well”.     
Haddie I just miss you.  My heart aches for you.  I want to see you, touch you, smell you.  I want to walk into your room and see you sleeping in your crib where you should be.  I hate that I have to scroll so far back on my photostream to find your pictures.   I know that I will see you again in heaven and I am so thankful for that.  But in that same breath you won’t need me in heaven.  You will most likely be exactly who you were intended to be.  I will still have been robbed of seeing you grow up.  Mothering you when I should have been able to.  I want my heart to feel whole again.  I want to feel free again.  Haddie I am just so sad and my heart is in pieces.    Haddie come back to me….  
Love, 
Mama
Silly Elo

Isn’t your sister beautiful!?!
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Happy 11 months Baby!

Haddie BoBo,

Happy 11 months baby girl.  The fireworks are for you.  Today was a wonderful time spent with family and friends. You were talked about often with smiles and tears.  We wish you were here.  Elo sang, “Happy Birthday Haddie Bo Bo, cha cha cha!”

I hope Jesus is holding you close and kissing your cheeks the way I would if you were here.  

Always and forever baby,

Mama

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1 month and Firsts

Haddie Bo Bo,

Yesterday was 1 month since that horrid day.

I am heartbroken. I am not going to try to describe the feelings I had because there are no words that could come close to explaining the pain.

Your Aunt Rachel called early in the morning to tell us how much she loves us and misses you.  Aunt Alisa, Aunt Emily, and Grandma Jane came over for breakfast.  We talked about you, and looked at your hand/foot prints. We shed some tears, but we also had lots of smiles and laughs.

An old friend gave us a box full of fireworks for tomorrow!  It was so generous and we felt so loved.  Eloise is going to be ecstatic!  Just wish you were here to see them, Bo Bo.

Today I did my first 21 day fix work out since you have been gone.  It was hard, my legs were shaking, and I couldn’t breath.

I also showered for the first time since Monday night.  I brushed my hair for the first time since your funeral.

Last night was my first night I spent by myself without someone keeping me company.  Your Daddy was playing baseball so it was just your sister and me.  We went for a walk and she talked about you a lot.  She said, “Mama, you sad about Haddie.” I am not sure if it was a statement or a question. She also sang you “Jesus Loves Me”.  We miss you so very much.

This morning we sat on the couch and watched cartoons like we always do on Saturday mornings.  It was quiet, too quiet.  It’s not the same without you.  I still look around the living room hoping to see you crawl around the corner with something in your mouth. Something that you shouldn’t have in your mouth.

So a lot of firsts for us some good and some sad.

Love and Miss you Always,

Mama

Here are some pics your sister took from today….

Aunt Alisa teaching the art of the selfie

Perfecting the selfie

Aunt Emily…or as Eloise calls her Elle Belle
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Now it’s me.

Haddie Bo Bo,

There is this thing that tells you what you were doing this exact day last year, 2 years ago, 5 years ago, etc.  It’s called Timehop.  So I looked up mine today and this is what came up 2 years ago today….

I am now that mom that would give anything to hear you cry.  I would give anything to have you whine or be grumpy.  I wish I could spend one more “difficult” night with you.  I find it strange that I wrote this two years ago obviously not knowing I would be writing it about myself.  
Eloise is 2…very 2.  She is miss independent with everything.  She says, “Me do it,” several times a day.  We hear, “No.” In response to almost everything question.  She is working on sharing and unfortunately we are doing a lot of time outs.  I know that most of this behavior is normal for her age. Even so her world has changed.  She is an only child now, and home with Mama and Daddy everyday for the last month.  On our way home from up north we stopped in Traverse City to do some shopping.  Usually Elo is a great tag along on these occasions, this was not her day.  We were in the middle of the M22 store when she announced that she no longer wanted to wear her diaper and immediately let it drop to the floor full of poop.  Not a contained, easy clean-up, poop log.  It was the thick, “comes out like tar”, poop as your Daddy would say.  Your Daddy scooped her up and we both ran out the back of the store.  She had poop all over her dress, her legs, her shoes, and your Daddy and me.  After we got her cleaned up we tried to go into a few more stores and she had a massive breakdown when we left the toy store.  I’m talking hitting, kicking, screaming, hitting herself, you name it she did it.  We strapped her into her stroller and briskly walked down the main shopping street with several sympathizing stares.  Someone even said, “Been there.”  
Moments before meltdown
I couldn’t help but think that we didn’t even get a chance to have a public melt down with you.  We never got a chance to give you a time out.  When you did something “naughty” it was still in the cute stage.  I didn’t get to hear you tell me no or even say, “Mama” yet.  You will always be 9 months old and perfect.  I won’t be able to cry as I send you off to kindergarten.  We won’t take a girls trip to Chicago to spend all of Daddy’s money at the American Girl store.  The dreams I had for you and our family now are very different and I HATE IT.
So I treasure the embarrassing public meltdown with Elo because I know what it’s like to have that stolen from you.  I hold tight to every moment because it can all be gone in a second.  I now turn the car around, and go back in the house ,and hug and kiss Eloise when I forget to say goodbye.  Even if it’s a 5 minute Walgreens run.  Life is fragile and really can be gone and your whole world turned upside in a moment’s time.  
Love you and missing you always,
Mama
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The Mad Phase.

Haddie Bo Bo,

The day after you were born I was in the hospital.  I was considering staying another night because it is easier having the help and well to be honest your Daddy and I really liked the food.  It was in the morning and the day shift nurse came on duty.  She asked me a few things and made me uncomfortable so I abruptly told her that I wanted to go home.  So I came home and I was so car sick on the ride home I couldn’t open my eyes.  I walked in and laid on the couch and slept for hours.  Thankfully Grammy and Mimi were here to help with your sister and you.

Your Grammy is a skilled sewer and has made Eloise and you special blankets.  They are so special that I haven’t let you guys use them. I recently went through all of your clothes and pulled out any that were special or I remembered you wearing a lot.  Some of them still had dirty knees from you crawling all over.  I went through each one and reminisced about the last memory I have of you in each outfit.  Your Grammy is making me a quilt out of them.  I can’t wait until its done so I can curl up with it and think about you.

I drove to Walgreen’s to get some throat drops.  On the way home Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again” came on.  This is the song that was played during your slide show at your funeral.  At first I just teared up.  Then I started screaming and weeping.  I’m just so upset and it’s not fair.  I am mad at God tonight.  Why didn’t He intervene?  I am mad that this is my life.  I don’t want this life.  I want my baby.  I want you back.  Sometimes I don’t think I will make it through another day or another hour with this unbearable pain that has no end in sight.    Tonight the pain is overwhelming as I think of the 2nd approaching. Your birthday is right around the corner.  How will I live through that day?  I know that I will be surrounded by people who love me and who loved you, Haddie.  I know that I can and will live through those days, but I just don’t want to do it.  The mad phase has begun…

Love you Haddie,

Mama

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No stranger to tragedy…

Haddie Bo Bo,

Our family is no stranger to tragedy.  It was 2011 and your Daddy and me were living in a two bedroom apartment in Holland.  I found out that I was pregnant and bought your Daddy a baby Detroit Tigers hat.  He didn’t grasp the announcement at first he just said, “This hat is too small for me.” We were so excited for what the future held we had purchased a child friendly SUV and put in an offer on a house.  We went to our first doctor’s appointment at 10 weeks along.  The doctor did the check up and said everything looked good.  Now the part we were waiting for…listening to the heartbeat.  He tried to find it for a few minutes…nothing.  Not a big deal because the baby is so small that sometimes it’s hard to find.  So he sent us down the hall for a an ultrasound.  It was so cool to see our little baby for the first time.  We could see very little arms and legs.  It was surreal I asked, “Is that really a baby?”  The ultrasound tech said, “Yes that is a baby, but unfortunately there is no heartbeat.”  She immediately got up and walked out to get the doctor.  We both sat there stunned at what we just heard.  I just cried and cried and cried.  Because I was farther along I had to have a operation to remove the baby.  I have heard of miscarriages in the past and one of our good friends who is a doctor cautioned us about the odds.  You just don’t think it will be you.  I still have the ultrasound picture on our refrigerator. 
I would say 3 months later we got a positive pregnancy test again.  We were cautiously optimistic when we called the doctor.  This time they had us come in at 7 weeks for an early ultrasound.  This time I was a little nervous but still excited.  The ultrasound tech said, “Sorry the baby has not developed.”  A miscarriage again how is this happening.  
The third time was the charm and we ended up with sassy spicy,  Eloise.  The thing about miscarriages for me was that they stole the joy of pregnancy.  After the first one I was no longer full of joy when I found out I was pregnant, I was full of fear.  I was still full of fear after the first trimester when the odds of miscarriage drop substantially.  Even if I were to get pregnant again after successfully have two healthy babies I would still be fearful.  
This is how I feel about life after loosing you, Haddie.  I feel like my joy and blissful happiness has been stollen, and nothing will bring it completely back.  These couple days that we spent up north as a family were relaxing, fun at times, sad at others.  There were times we laughed and times we cried.  We talked about you often and said how much you would like the water.  Now I am that anxious mother that is constantly worried about their child’s safety.  To be honest I don’t like being away from Eloise at all. 
We took our first family picture together since you have been gone.  Compliments of our selfie stick, because your Daddy hates i

t when I ask strangers to take our picture.  We are smiling in the picture because that’s what you are supposed to do right?  I know that you are always with us, Haddie.  But that’s not good enough for me.  I don’t really find that comforting yet, maybe I will someday.  I want you back where you belong with us in our family picture.  

Love you always and forever,
I do literally carry a little of you everywhere I go…
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