Friday, December 31, 2010

2011, I'm counting on you

Dear Stevie,
On this day last year, Dad and I were on what was supposed to be a snowboarding vacation in Whistler, BC. It didn't quite go as planned. I ended up finding out I was pregnant two weeks before we left, and spent the entire week sleeping (and puking up pretty much everything I ate!) in the timeshare we were staying at.

Dad took this hot picture of me passed out with my saltines :)

On New Years Eve, I rallied, and we went out for a nice fancy dinner. As I sipped on my ginger ale and watched the falling snow descending on the mountains outside, I felt so much excitement and anticipation for all that 2010 would bring. 2010 would be the year I would become a mother. The year I would always look back on as the biggest year of my life. The year that changed everything

Of course, 2010 did turn out to be quite eventful. 2010 did see me become a mother. 2010 did change everything. But instead of being the best year of my life, hands-down it was the worst.

Please 2011, please be kind to me. I have never been this excited, this ready for a fresh start. I'm counting on you to give me back some of my joy. I'm counting on you to give me back a piece or two of my heart. Please don't let me down.

I miss you, Baby.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Dear Stevie,
Well, as expected, Christmas was hard. But, as has been the case with a lot of things since you died, the anticipation of event was worse than the event itself. I have spent so much time dreading December 25th, but by the time it actually rolled around, it wasn't quite as horrible as I had imagined it might be. I'm convinced there is only one reason for that: the wonderful people in my life.

I was so afraid that no one was going to remember you this Christmas, but boy was I wrong. There were cards, there were letters, and there were all these beautiful ornaments, which each made spending Christmas without you just a tiny bit easier:

 From Leanne

 From Erin (along with other items on my "Christmas List," like red wine and lots of Kleenex :)

 From Andrea

 From Amanda

 From Amanda and Stephanie (this one opens up like a locket, and your name is engraved inside)

 From Grandma Cook (Dad's mom)

From Vicki (Kara's mom)

As we were driving home on Christmas Day night, I was staring out the window into the dark, the lights from the passing cars all a blur through silent tears, when John Mayer's 'The Heart of Life' starting playing. I hadn't heard the song in years, but my iPod was set on shuffle, and it could not have picked a better song for me to hear in that moment. Here are some of the lyrics:

I hate to see you cry
Lying there in that position
There's things you need to hear
So turn off your tears
And listen

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No it won't all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good

Isn't it the truth? In the midst of unimaginable pain, there's unfathomable love. Love that has the power to  pick us up off the ground and get us through things we'd never thought we'd have the strength to survive. 

The cards, letters, and gifts in the mail from loved ones and strangers alike. The text Christmas morning from a best friend simply saying, 'I'm thinking of you today. I love you.' The mother-in-law who hung up a little stocking, just for you in her home. The mom who told me, in a typed-up letter, how badly she wished there was a present she could buy me that would bring me back my joy. The dad who picked out sushi, and hummus, and peach salsa, and all the rest of my favorite foods for our Christmas Eve feast. 

These are the things that convince me that life, deep down, underneath all the pain and sadness and sorrow, is good. 

I know it's good.



PS. As I logged into Blogger to type up this post, a strange thing happened: I saw my dear friend, Tiffany, wrote a post about the same song earlier today! I love how this random song from four years ago has touched us both, and at the same time. If you haven't already, you really must read her story and follow her blog. Tiffany's four-month-old son, Julius (a little boy with the biggest smile I've ever seen), passed away from SIDS in October, and her honesty, grace, and strength are incredibly inspiring. Xoxo

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Faking it

Dear Stevie,
Sorry it's been so long since I've written to you. It's been a crazy busy week, and next week is going to be just as nuts. I am exhausted, physically and emotionally.

Since early Novemberish, I've been working on coordinating our annual 'Adopt a Family' event at work. This is my fourth year running the program, and every year it gets bigger and bigger (this year, over 3,000 families, children, and seniors were 'adopted' by over 500 sponsor groups!) In years past, I absolutely loved doing Adopt a Family. Just loved it. How awesome to be responsible for making so many people's wishes come true, right?! I loved reading all the wish lists as they came in, and the process of matching people in need with generous sponsors. I loved seeing all the beautifully wrapped presents being delivered, and receiving thank you cards from all the grateful recipients. It was all very magical.

This year, not so much. This year, it's all been really, really hard. For the last month and a half, I've had to read wish list after wish list for teenage girls with babies on the way, and for single moms with (literally) 11 kids. There was one mom who was 27 years old with a 15-year-old daughter (if I'm doing the math correctly, that means she was 12 when she had her first baby!) I'm sure I'm coming across as really bitchy and bitter, but it's just so hard to understand why all these mothers get to keep their babies and I didn't. It's also hard to feel as good about providing them with 'stuff' when they already have the one thing I wish for most: their children, alive. Making sure everyone gets cool toys or whatever just doesn't seem nearly as important as it did before.

Then, to make things even harder, it was right around this week, last year, that I found out I was pregnant with you (December 8th, to be exact). I totally associate Adopt a Family with the excitement and shock of seeing those two little lines. I wasn't even supposed to be at work for this year's event, as I'd have still been on maternity leave.

My heart has just not been in it this year, but I think I've done a pretty good job of keeping that to myself. If I've learned anything about myself, it's that I'm a very good faker. I can pretty easily compartmentalize and be the happy, cheerful, bubbly girl that I have to be, even while my heart is breaking on the inside. Is that what it means to be strong?

This weekend, during the big gift drop-off events, no one would have ever guessed how sad I was or what I had been through in the last year. I smiled as a group dropped off a baby swing, car seat, and the exact same crib I still have set-up for you in your nursery for their 'adopted' family. I laughed as I took pictures of Santa (who volunteers at the event) with a baby girl right around the age you should be right now. I nodded along as all my co-workers talked about everything they were getting their children for Christmas.

I'm proud of myself for being able to hide my true feelings so well. For my ability to push everything so far down inside of myself.

But there are times I worry these walls I've put up around myself will never come down. I worry I've become so good at faking it, I'm destined to simply fake my way through the rest of my life.

I want to be genuinely happy again. I want to be excited about Christmas. I want to not be so bitter and jealous. I want another life.

To say 'I miss you' would be an understatement.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Christmas List

Dear Stevie,
People keep asking me what I want for Christmas this year. Truth is, the only thing I really want this year is for this stupid holiday to just go away. Christmas 2010, you can go ahead and join Mother's Day, Father's Day, the Fourth of July, Halloween, and your good buddy Thanksgiving over there in the corner and leave me the hell alone.

Since I'm quite certain the 'what do you want for Christmas' question isn't going to go away anytime soon, I thought I'd come up with a few gift suggestions I could actually use this holiday season. You know, just in case Santa happens to be reading my blog.

1. Kleenex, for all the crying I'll surely be doing. If you want to make it really special, you can get me a couple boxes of that expensive 8-ply stuff that is super thick and smells like fancy lotion. A few travel packs for my purse would be nice, too, so the next time I'm in the middle of Target and see a 'baby's first Christmas' ornament, I have something to sob into (other than my poor jacket sleeve).

2. Noise-canceling headphones, to drown out all the happy Christmas music playing everywhere I go. Seriously, if I have to hear the phrase 'it's the most wonderful time of the year' one more time, I'm going to freak. More like 'it's the most depressing, heartbreaking time of the year,' if you ask me.

3. Red wine. Lots of it. Seriously, how else am I supposed to get through this month??

4. A concussion. A little bit of memory loss would be nice, so I can stop thinking about how wonderful my life was this month a year ago (it's when we found out about you!)

5. A vacation. A completely isolated tropical island would be ideal.

6. My baby girl back.

Is that too much to ask?

Love you, Baby.


PS. Thanks everyone for all your sweet and supportive comments on my last post. Thanksgiving was just as bad as I anticipated it would be, but it helps so much to know I'm not crazy for feeling the way I do. Thanks for sticking with me, even through the yucky bitter times. Love you all!
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