Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Heaven

Over the weekend, my family lost a very dear friend.   Corinne was in her 90’s and had outlived most of her friends.  One could even argue that it was her time to go.  While she was not in any pain, she was uncomfortable and her quality of life was just not what it used to be.  This once vibrant woman was reduced to a hospice bed and bland meals to live out her days.

To be loved by Corinne was indeed very special.  She treated all children as her own and she loved my mother’s kids the same way.  My brothers and I all have special memories of her and moments shared that meant so much.  She was kind and loving and had a way of making each person around her feel so very important.

Corinne’s health had been failing the past few years and I had not seen her since I got married.  I doubt she even knew my married name.   So once I heard she had died, I wondered how she would know to look for Allie.  Let me explain...

As Jews, we do not believe in Heaven or Hell.  You live and then you die and that is that.  As I understand it, the focus is on the life you lead, not what happens after.  But as long as I can remember, I have believed in more than that.  I believe that our loved ones are someplace together and looking out for those they left behind.  I call it heaven, but it really could be any place, I suppose. 

My mom's brother, Irv, passed away when he was just in his 40’s.  The only way I could make sense of that as a young girl was to believe that he was somewhere good, somewhere happy, and able to see his family.  Fast forward a few years to when my mother’s father passed away.  I used to picture my uncle and his dad, my Pop Pop Louie, spending time together, laughing, enjoying each other and watching over us.  I felt like they could see us and help us in some ways.

When Allie died, I felt immediately that she was with my Uncle Irv and my Pop Pop.  There are others that I have lost over the years, but it’s my uncle and my Pop Pop that I feel the strongest connection to for some reason.  Perhaps because I was so young when I lost them or perhaps because the love I felt from them was so powerful.

And then Corinne died.  She is the first person who has died since Allie and so I am at a loss.  I wanted to know that she would look after Allie, too, but how will she know her?  Corinne only knew me by my maiden name so how would she know my daughter’s last name?  And I know my mom told Corinne that I was pregnant and then told her that we lost the baby, but I am not sure how much she understood in the last months of her life.

Gary and I talked about this on our way into work this morning and we concluded that it’s your soul or almost your essence that goes to heaven.  I see Allie as a little girl where he sees her almost as a grown woman (by the time we get there to see her again).  So I hope that her soul does not need a last name or an id card and that the people that are meant to meet up will.  Gary’s “Gramps” never even got to meet me and yet I sure as heck hope he knows to look for Allie and I know she will be so loved by him. 

So that is my "heaven"...not sure how my religion would feel about it, but it's my faith that believes and it makes me feel better to do so.

Corinne, if indeed you are up there and can see us, it was an honor to know you and be loved by you.  Thank you for all your love.  And please tell our baby girl that we love her.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Hospital and a Pool Party

A friend of Gary's was in the hospital on Friday so we went to visit him after work.  (He is fine and already at home).  As we pulled up to the hospital, I started to get nervous.  This was not the same hospital where I delivered Allie, but a hospital is a hospital, right?  They all have waiting rooms and harsh lighting and musac in the elevators.   They all smell of antiseptic and old food and sometimes aromas more extreme.  As we walked down the hall to see our friend, I started to feel almost dizzy.  The last time I experienced those sights and smells was on worst day of my life and as my senses started to take it all in, I started to get very anxious.

We had a nice visit with our friend and talked to him for a while.  He was so happy for the company!  It was hard to quiet all the noise in my head and be present in the moment, but I think I did a pretty decent job.  The longer we visited, the calmer I became and the anxiety and fear started to fade.  Turns out I think it was good for me to experience being in a hospital again and I did not even know that was a fear that I was going to have to overcome.  Well, it was and I did!

Yesterday, Gary and I went to a pool party for a dear friend.  This friend has a smile that can light up a room and a laugh that makes all your troubles disappear.   I should mention that my friend just turned 6 years old.

Going to this pool party, I knew I would run into some people that I have not seen since Allie died. I knew it might be hard to smile and behave like all is normal in our lives.  But I knew not going would just make me feel worse.  I have heard about people who lose their friends after they experience a loss like ours because they find it hard to relate to others and vice versa.  I do not want to be one of those people.  I need my friends and family more now than ever.  And those that love us, give us space to not talk if we want to be quiet.  And they do not think twice about it.

So there were some moments when I felt sad, but then I saw a brave little boy go down the giant slide or a courageous little girl swim under water further than she had before and I felt ok.  I felt good when people asked how I was and I could tell that they really wanted to know.  I felt like I was with family and friends and I was.   

There are always going to be parties and events that I want to skip as it might be easier to stay home.  Maybe sometimes I will.  I think it is a true sign of strength, though, to be able to go and keep on living.

I wish that I would be able to plan a birthday party for my baby like my dear friend did for her son, but I can't.  I can, however, go on with my life and live each day as best as I can as a tribute to her.  I think I will choose to do that.  In fact, I think I already have.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Labels

We live in a world of labels and I understand that.  I am a daughter, a sister, a wife and a friend.  I am a sister-in-law and a daughter-in-law.  I am a cousin and a niece.  And I am a mom.  I AM A MOM.

I struggle with the strangest things these days.  A comment taken the wrong way can upset me for hours.  A bad outfit choice in the morning can have me hating my body all day.  Grief is a process and I am hitting all the steps and stages along the way.

I do not want to be defined by Allie’s passing.  I want to love her and cherish her, but I do not want to be “that girl who lost her baby” forever.  That is just so much more to me than this grief and pain and loss.  I read many blogs where I feel that some women are defined by their loss but I do not want that label.  I want to be defined by what she was to me when she was with me and how she taught me to love and care even more than I ever dreamed.  And how she taught her dad and me to love each other so very much.

Earlier this week, I found out that our grief counselor is pregnant.  My reaction?  Tears. Why is that? It’s not like we had trouble getting pregnant with Allie.  I am hoping we have as much luck the next time around.  It’s not like I do not know or see pregnant people on a daily basis.  Two of my very dear friends are having babies this year and I am very happy for them.  So why was I so wrecked by this news?

It took me a few hours, but I think I got it.  I was jealous!  Green with envy, as the saying goes.  And trust me, I was very green.  This woman who is so nice and kind and helpful is here in our lives solely because we suffered such a terrible loss.  And now she is having what I can’t.  And I have to be reminded of that at each session.  She apologized and made the offer to switch us to another therapist as she knew this might be difficult, especially for me.  She was very professional and apologetic for possibly adding any hurt to our lives.  This was not planned and she would not have taken us on as new patients has she known.

But it’s not her pregnancy, per say, that bothered me.  It was me.  I did not feel any joy when she told us she was pregnant and that made me so sad.  Have I lost the ability to be happy for others?  I do not want to be that person who does not want others to be happy.  Ugh! Am I so sad that I am afraid to be happy?

Nah, I do not think so.  I think I was just thrown for a loop in a place and setting that is supposed to be safe for me and it knocked the wind out of me.  By the time I went to sleep on Monday, I was already thinking that there is a chance our therapist (who is due in January) and I could actually be pregnant together.  You just do not know.

I think we will continue with her – she has helped us a lot on our journey so far and I think another change would do more harm than good at this point. She is still the same therapist she has been - her pregnancy has not changed that. 

So I can be all the labels I am – but not “numb” or “unfeeling”.  Maybe that is the way I am now, but I refuse to be that way forever.

________

**My business cards arrived today!  Gary designed them for me and I think they came out great!  Thanks to the best husband EVER!!!**

 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Right Where I Am: 7 weeks, 6 days

Over the past few weeks, I have found many resources and blogs that have helped me more than I can say (or write).   Yesterday, I found one that had an assignment and I knew right away that I wanted to participate.  Still Life With Circles is run by a woman named Angie and she set out to do the following:  "...You talk about right where you are in your grief and what it is like now, so new people can get an idea of the experience of grief further down the road, and so people further down the road can reflect on how far they have come in their grief."

It seems most of the women are further along in the grief process than I am, but I still wanted to write. 

7 weeks, 6 days ago, I felt less fetal movement than usual.  By the time I realized that, my precious daughter was probably already gone.

In the beginning, I said each day was better than the last.  I quickly learned that was a lie.  There are good days and there are bad days and there is no way to tell which will be which. Some days I think, “I got this!” and others I want to crawl into a corner and cry till my eyes burn and the pain subsides.

I want to be getting better.  I want to be on the road to recovery.   Everyone around me seems to be healing and I feel like I am stuck.  There are glimpses of hope like on days like Monday when we learned that we could try again.  I was almost happy then.   But then there are days like today. Today, I am agitated and distracted and angry and I have a headache and I just want the pain to stop.  I want to be home with our little Allie, walking her in the stroller, maybe having a play date with one of her cousins.  I want to read to her and sing to her and hold her in my arms and just look at her.  I did not want to be sitting in a cubicle and thinking about what could have been.  

My husband says, “Don’t borrow trouble” when I start to get upset or worked up.  I think about the plans we had and I crumble.  He wants to think about the new plans we will have and I get that, but often it hurts too damn much.  I miss what I did not even have.  All the weeks and months of planning and dreaming and then nothing.  It hurts to dream of a family that we so desperately want but may never have.  It hurts to think of our baby not being here with us.  I am angry and sad and broken and mad.

“Will I lose my dignity, will someone care?  Will I wake tomorrow from this nightmare?”  Music has always played a big part in my life and for the past week or so, this lyric from RENT has been playing over and over in my head.  I keep waking up and the nightmare continues.  


I hate my body.  It’s lumpy and dumpy and it failed me.  And it failed our baby.  Can I trust it to be a good home to another baby?  Can my heart handle it?  Is my heart strong enough?
Father’s Day is this weekend and I want to do something special for my husband.  He needs to be celebrated and I fear that I will let him down as I just do not know what to do.  
I do not think my misery is cause for alarm…yet.  It ebbs and flows and it just so happens that this is where I am at this moment when I am writing.  

I wake up each day and I go to work and I make plans and I try to think about the future. A future where I am exhausted from midnight feedings and my house is a mess because my baby needs me and I have not had time to clean. Not because I am depressed and do not want to clean.

So this is where I am – almost 8 weeks after our world came crashing down.  In some ways, I am very proud of myself.  And in some ways I am just so very sad.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hope

"If you know someone who has lost a child, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died--you're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift."        --Elizabeth Edwards (7/3/49-12/7/10)

I saw this quote on a blog that I follow.  I immediately copied and pasted it as it’s so poignant. Thanks, KC.  

Today we had our appointment with Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM).  To say I was a basket case this morning would be an understatement.  I was worried that this would be yet another doctor’s appointment where we got no answers and worried that driving back to the hospital would send me into a tailspin.  (For obvious reasons, Gary drove!).  Thankfully, for the first time in ages, my worry was for nothing!

The doctor we met with was very kind and very thorough.  He reviewed my chart and all the paperwork (including some paperwork I had brought from my OB’s office.)  Let this be a lesson to those out there - if you have paperwork and are going to see a specialist, bring what you have.  Do not assume that they will have it, too, as they just might not.  Or they might not have all of it.  Or whatever.  Having our paperwork with us helped move the appointment along.

The main reason for the appointment was that some clotting issues showed up in my blood work while I was at the hospital.  Turns out that are some issues, but nothing that would have caused Allie to pass nor anything that will prevent us from trying again.  I need to get some repeat blood work this week, but it looks like folic acid and maybe Vitamin B will fix the issue. We can handle that!  In fact, the doctor wants me to start taking folic acid as soon as I get the blood work so that it’s in my system for when we get pregnant again. If that is not optimistic talk, I am not sure what is!

The doctor examined my file and he, as with my OB, could not come up with a reason why Allie was born still.  No reason sounds bad, but in a way, it’s really not.  No reason means there is no reason that we can’t try again.  If there was a specific cause or reason, that might be a red flag for future pregnancies.  

The doctor was glad to hear we were in grief counseling as he knows the importance of healing emotionally, too.

If/when we get pregnant again, MFM will be involved from the start.  We will have ultrasounds every 4 weeks or so and more if we want them.  We will be monitored closely and every precaution will be taken.  Now I know that we could have had all of that with Allie and that still would not have saved her, but I am going to not focus on that as that kind of thinking will get me nowhere! I am choosing to focus on the fact that the specialist believes we can get pregnant again and that we can carry a healthy baby to term.  At least that is what I got out of the meeting this morning!

1 in 87 pregnancies result in twins, so it’s unlikely that we will get twins.  The idea of multiples is so enticing as Gary and I both wanted 2 kids and I am not sure we will want to go through 2 more pregnancies.  We asked if there was any reason to try fertility drugs to help our chances of twins but he said no.  If they happen naturally, they will take very good care of us, but there is no reason to try for them as there are just too many risk factors. We can accept that.

So when my body is all healed, everything is back on track, and Gary and I feel like we are ready, we can try to make Allie an older sister.  Looks like we might have a busy Fall!  For the first time in many weeks, I feel hope.   The journey we have been on has many more twists and turns along the way, but I want to keep going to see where it takes us.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In A Low Place

In my spare time, I used to cruise our Baby Registry.  Now I surf the web looking for other parents who have lost their child. 

I used to look up baby clothes and books and activities and now I look up “trying to conceive after a stillborn” and “mourning the loss of your baby”.

Gary and I used to go out to dinner after work or catch a movie.  Now we go to grief counseling.

I know that the pain will ease.  I know some days are better than others.  I know I will have good days and bad days.  And yet I get so angry when I can’t snap out of it.  I am beating myself up when I should be congratulating myself on making it through another hour, another morning, another afternoon, another night.

It seems that some people look at me differently now.  Not sure if they should say something or not, so they smile with their mouths but their eyes look scared.  Like what happened to us could be contagious.

I found a website that helped me a lot when I first got home from the hospital and I submitted our story to them a few weeks back.  This week they posted it and it made me feel really good.  Maybe my words will help someone else.  The words of others have sure helped me.  To read that we are not alone, that others have gone through this nightmare and come out on the other side, well, it’s comforting to say the least.  You can read it here: http://facesofloss.com/2011/06/2047.html#more-2047

We had a session with our grief counselor this week and it was very helpful.  She acknowledged that I am in a low place and that is ok and totally normal.  It was like she gave me permission to feel some of what I am feeling and it was really good for me.    She is also happy that I am writing and thinks that is very therapeutic.  She does not know the half of it!

I knew going back to work would be hard.  I sit in the same desk, looking at the same cubicle walls and remember all too well how the last time I sat on this chair, my baby was with me.  Sitting at that desk, I feel her absence even more than when I am at home sometimes.  I touch my belly and wait for her to kick.  But no kicks come.

Last night, Gary and I went to dinner at the same place where we had our rehearsal dinner, a little over a year ago. We sat outside and enjoyed the weather and the food and the company.  I said to him, "Let's make a point to always come back here.  We were so happy here."  Shortly after I said it, I realized that was not fair.  We still have each other and we still manage to have some happy times.  And hopefully more to come. So let's go back to continue being happy - not to find our happy - if that makes sense!

I woke up today and I felt that the fog from the last few days had been lifted. Granted, it's lunch time and I am still in my pajamas, but we have plans tonight and tomorrow and I think its ok to let myself have a few hours to just "be".  Until my body is completely healed, I am afraid to exercise so I am taking it easy.  It's hard, but certainly no harder than anything else!  I do not feel as low today and for that, I am grateful.  

One week of work down and I made it.  No telling how next week will go, but I am sure it will be easier than this one.  Or not.  In which case, I will deal with it then.  With the support of my friends and family and my new friends who are out there blogging and sharing their stories of loss with me.  Together, we will make it somehow!  We owe it to our babies and ourselves.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It’s not a hotel, it’s a hospital

When we got the mail last night, we were greeted with a bill from the hospital for over $450.  All in all, my stay was close to $20,000, so it’s not that bad.  (Thank you, Aetna!). We thought we would have a $100 copay for each night we were there, but Gary pointed out to me this morning that it’s not a hotel where you get charged per night, but a hospital where they charge you for the actual time that you were there.   It’s crazy to think that these fees would not have even registered with us had the bill come and we were at home playing with Allie, but when it came and our arms were empty, it stung a little bit.

That was the icky part of the day.  The better part was the permanent memorial I got to honor or daughter.  Gary got his a few weeks ago but we wanted to wait till I was in the clear before I got mine.  So now we have matching tattoos (more or less) and we are both so very proud.  Gary’s in on his left upper arm and mine is on my lower back, also on the left side.  The image is a modified Aleph (the letter "A" in the Hebrew alphabet) with a heart on one side and a curly cat tail on the other.  Allie will always be our Allie Cat.   Note:  it had been over 15 years since I got any permanent ink and OW!  Totally forgot the pain.  They say that it’s like childbirth and that you forget the pain right after, but that analogy is lost on me for obvious reasons!  Still, so worth it.  No doubt about it.

Today was more difficult getting up than the past two days were.  The novelty of being back at work had worn off a bit and I was really tired!  But I made it in and once again, was surprised by someone at work.  This time, a coworker came up to me and just told me how hard it was to come see me. She did not want to walk by like nothing happened but she just did not know what to say.  She started to tear up as she is a mother and could not imagine this tragedy happening her or to one of her children.  She reminded me that people who say the wrong thing at least mean to say the right thing and that is a good thing to remember.  She also reminded me that there might be people who do not say anything as it is just too hard for them to imagine and thus, they stay silent.  I have seen a lot of that in the last few days as well.   She called me after she left my desk to tell me another story and I know she felt better after seeing me and talking to me.  And I felt better after seeing her as well.

This afternoon, we finally got to see the doctor for the appointment that I was expecting to have last week.  I have been a little worried about my incision as it does not seem as healed as I would like it to be and we wanted the final lab results back.  

Upon walking into the office, we were told they were 30 minutes behind.  That turned out to be an hour, actually.  And sitting next to me in the waiting room?  One of the women from our Labor and Delivery class.  She looked like she was about to have her baby right then and there.  We said hello and then I avoided eye contact. Which is good as I did not want her to see me so upset. I could barely hold back the tears.  I felt like I was hit in the gut - the last time I saw her, I was that pregnant and that happy!  How is this fair?  How is any of it fair??  Then, to top it off, there was an infant in the office who was cute as could be.  I heard his coos and his cries and it broke my heart.  That surprised me.  I can (and do) see my nieces and not feel anything but love, but seeing this baby, there, in my OB's office, it ripped me apart.  I want my baby!

We finally get to see the doctor and guess what?  The test results are not back as the pathologist was on vacation and someone else was filling in.  My doctor will call us when she has any news, but she will be away the next 2 days at a conference and she is off on Monday's so it could be next week.  And my incision?  I am now on antibiotics for the next 10 days.  There is a slight infection and it's just on the surface, so nothing internal is wrong, but still!  Cut a girl a break!!  I have to be extra careful for the next 10 days and keep an eye on it.  It's a good thing I like my doctor or I might have screamed. 

So now I am home.  After I post this blog, I will pay that hospital bill.  And I will take my antibiotics.  And I will look at my tattoo, which will make me smile as it will remind me that Allie is with me, in some way or another, even if it's not in the way I want her to be.

Tomorrow I will get up and go to work again.   I will get done what I can and I will laugh when the opportunity arises.  Even in the moments when it hurts the most.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Back to Life, Back to Reality

I knew when I got up this morning that today was going to be a rough day.  And it was.  But it was not all bad.  Some of it was actually good! Walking in the door to my office building made me nervous and anxious but Gary walked me to my desk and before I knew it, the day had started.   People stopped by on their way in to say hello and welcome back and there was nothing forced or strange about any of it.  It felt nice to be so loved and so missed (or so they said!).

I spent the better part of the morning with my head buried in my computer and cleaning out old emails and files.   I was not given much work to do and I did not ask for it as I wanted to get used to being back first.  Lunch could not come fast enough!

After lunch, I started to do some work. I was rusty at first, but in no time at all, it came back to me.  It felt good to dust off my brain and start using it again. I found myself easily distracted, but that is not that unusual in my situation.  After all, I was out for 6 weeks and the last time I was there, I was 37 weeks pregnant and getting more and more excited by the minute for the arrival of our little girl.

On my way to the ladies room, midway though the afternoon, I ran into a woman that I have passed in the halls for years but never really talked to all that much.  She stopped me to say that she knew what I was going through as 15 years ago, she was in a very similar situation.  She wanted me to know that people will say they know how I feel, but luckily, most of them don’t.  But she can.  She had a daughter who was born premature and was rushed to CHOP and never really had a chance of survival.  Tests showed many abnormalities so in a way, she said, it was a good thing as her daughter would have had no quality of life and would have only lived on a ventilator and with dialysis and probably never outside of a hospital.  I think she said her baby lived for less than 24 hours.

She said her daughter’s birthday still brings her to tears all these years later.  And when she thinks of all her daughter has missed out on, that makes her sad, too.  
 
She was so gracious to share her story with me. She said it does not get any easier, per say, but it does get better and the pain gets less and less.  I wonder if I will be able to picture Allie crawling and then walking and then talking and not want to burst into tears.  I wonder if I will be able to picture her first Halloween or her first Hanukkah with my side of the family and her first Christmas with Gary’s side of the family and not feel like someone is sitting on my chest.  I know these milestones will be difficult, but I hope the passage of time, the counseling, the love and support of all of those around us, will make each milestone more bearable than the last.  

As Gary and I were walking into work this morning, I abruptly stopped and my eyes started to fill with tears and fear.  He looked right at me and said, “You can do this.  She would want you to.”  I am angry that Allie never got a chance to want for things, but I do hope that she would want the ones that made her, that created her, to be happy and to live their lives to their fullest.  So that is what we are going to try to do.   And we will share her story, just like the woman in my office shared her daughter's story with me today.   No one needs to suffer in silence or alone.  Not if I have anything to say about it.

And so my alarm will go off again tomorrow and I will get up as I did today and "do this".  Because there really is no other alternative.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I go back to work, but do not need to drop you off at day care on my way.  
Tomorrow I go back to work with your picture in my head but not in a frame for my desk. 
Tomorrow I will wake up and you will still not be here.

Tomorrow is just another day and for you, my sweet Allie, I will do my best to make it through.

Tomorrow is also a day where I do not have to think about the Royal Wedding, Chaz Bono, Oprah's Final Season, Pink's new baby, Arnold's love child, or another 30% off at Coach.  Guess in a way it is a good thing that tomorrow I go back to work!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Good Days and Bad Days

On Wednesday morning, as I was preparing to meet some friends for lunch and then go to my 6 week check up, the doctor's office called to say my doctor went home sick and that I had to reschedule or see the doctor on call.  And I lost it.  Big time.  It's funny what makes me crack these days - not the credit card bill we got earlier in the week that had the fee from the funeral home.  No, that I knew was coming so I could handle it.  It's what I cannot see coming, what is unexpected, what throws off my routine, I guess, that makes my head spin all the way around.  

After I calmed down a little bit, called Gary at work and made him leave a meeting to talk to me and then called my mom at work for further support, I decided to see the doctor on call so that I could get the exam over with, get the green light to go back to work and then see my regular doctor next week to get the final test results and official post op appointment.

I had never been examined by a male doctor before, but it really did not phase me to be seen by him.  It's also funny what just does not matter as much any more.   My levels of comfort and discomfort have joined and the distinction between them is hard to find anymore.  The exam was brief and I was told that my incision is healing nicely.  I am "cleared for active duty" as I say (time to stop watching Army Wives!) and good to go back to work.  I can swim and exercise again, but I am to ease into it and take it slowly so as to not do too much at once.  He said that I cannot break anything or do any damage to myself or my body from the recent surgery, but I can overdo it and I was warned to be careful.  They wrote me a note to give to my employer and off I went to get my hair done.  (No reason why those in mourning can't look good...).

So with that appointment behind me, I was left with 2 days of FMLA and I wanted to make the most of them.  And that I did.   

I have been going to the Jersey Shore for as long as I can remember.   Atlantic City, Ocean City, Sea Isle, Avalon, Cape May - I have been on all your beaches.  Gary is not really a beach person, but I love it and nothing can keep me away.  Luckily, my BFF feels the same way and with her parents agreeing to watch her soon-to-be six year old for the day, off to Ocean City we went.  Our one day beach trip had to incorporate a whole vacation in just a few hours so we walked on the boardwalk, ate at Mack & Manco's for lunch, had Kohr Brothers custard for a snack, Chickie's & Pete's Crab Fries as a chaser and some freshly squeezed lemonade.  We walked till our feet were sore and bought gimmicky bracelets with our initials on them and jewelry that we did not need but sparkled so nicely in the cloudless sky.  We walked down to the icy water and felt the sand in our toes.  We ate fresh crab legs and scallops and flounder and drove home as the sun was setting - our bellies full and our hearts light.  We talked about the past and the future, about our dreams for ourselves and for each other.  And we talked about Allie.  She will always be with me wherever I go and it was an absolutely wonderful day.

This morning, still on a high from yesterday, I went to my mom's and picked her up for our day.  We drove to New Hope and walked around and marveled at the beautiful weather and how nice it was to be outside and enjoying it.  We popped into a few stores and looked at sandals and rings and purses and then went to an outdoor restaurant and ordered lunch.  And we talked.  We talked about how different this summer is going to be from how we both imagined it was going to be.  We teared up thinking about Allie and how she is not here to do all the things we want her to do with us.  We talked about how we felt and how the pain is less some days and worse some others.  We talked about making this summer count and enjoying every moment, instead of wishing it away and waiting for the time that Gary and I can try to start a family again.  We talked about appreciating what we have and not longing for what we don't.

We left New Hope and drove to Peddler's Village and walked around there for a bit.  It was just too nice to go home!  We bought matching beaded bracelets and wore them for the rest of the afternoon.  We went to Coach and damn that 30% off coupon.   Retail therapy is a real thing - I am living proof of that.

With really good friends and family, you can be in the same room and not talk.  There can be a silence between you that is not awkward, but just there.  It's a peaceful quiet that fills in the spaces between you and sometimes you do not even know it is there.  We drove home in some of that quiet and it was soothing and nice.

So here I am at the end of the last week day off that I will have for some time and I am aware that yesterday and today were good days.  Very good days.  Does that mean tomorrow will be a bad day?  I hope not!  But good or bad, I know that each day will come to an end and there will always be another day after it and all I can hope for is to live each day as best as I can.  For Gary, for Allie, for me.


Vacation or Relocation?

I love a good vacation. Always have. I love the planning and the anticipation and the experience of discovering someplace new.  Once ...