One year ago today, I held you in my arms. I touched your face and kissed your cheeks and I was forced to say hello and goodbye all at once. It's taken me a full year to fully grasp how hard and cruel and sad that was. And it will take me the rest of my life to accept.
This week has been a hard one for your dad and me. Earlier in the week, we got a card from Babies R Us. It was bright and colorful and it said, "Someone in your house is turning 1!" It took my breath away. No one in our house was turning 1.
I let myself feel your absence more this week than I usually do. I shed more tears than I normally allow. I spent much of this week planning your first birthday party which was today. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted a house full of your aunts and uncles and grandparents and friends to be by our side to remember you. And they were.
We filled the house with flowers (tulips that we bought as I love them so) and various arrangements from our families. We even got a flower box for the deck that will now always remind me of you. We had 10 pink balloons that hung freely around the house until we were ready to release them outside. We had catered deli sandwiches and pink and white cupcakes and oh so much love.
Slowly our guests started to arrive. How happy everyone was to be here, baby girl! They all wanted to wish you a happy birthday. Over and over, people said your name and I tell you, I could listen to it all day long. There were kids running around all over the place and laughter in each room. It was sad as you were not here, but happy as everyone was here to support us.
Upstairs in your room, Daddy made a memorial to you. He displayed pictures of your ultrasounds and the Certificate of Stillbirth that we got a few months ago. He placed the blanket they wrapped you in one year ago today. Evey item from your Memory Box was out for our loved ones to see...the hat and the outfits that you wore, the ring with your birthstone from the hospital, your ID tags that you never got to wear. It was a beautiful tribute and people could take their time and go upstairs when they were ready and spend as little or as much time there as they wanted. We are spoiled, Allie, as we live with your things, but many of them do not. So it was really touching.
Halfway through the party, daddy called everyone into one room to thank them all for coming. He thanked everyone for their love and support and explained how much it meant to us. He started to cry so I tried to talk, but I was crying by then, too. I thanked everyone for their love and let them know that we only survived this past year because they were by our side. And I mentioned that people that were not here in our house, but the ones out there (probably reading this letter to you) that have helped in more ways than I even know.
Then we explained that we were going to take a balloon our back and release it into the sky and we invited everyone else to do so if they wanted. So daddy and I got our balloon and went outside and it was raining by then. We held our balloon tight and then released it together and watched it as the wind and air took it away. We were crying a lot by then and your creek was just a few feet away. With our faces lifted towards the sky, the rain drops felt like your tears. One by one, family by family, child by child, people went outside and released their balloons.
Here is a picture of your cousins, Sean and Ryan. Their mom and dad told them to close their eyes and thinks good thoughts about you and then release their balloon. Sean was a trooper but Ryan likes to be a little more difficult. He said to his parents, "I don't even know what Allie looks like" and he did not know how to close his eyes and think of you. But then your Aunt Caraline and Uncle Paul reminded Ryan that you are always in his heart and he just needs to go there to see you and think of you. And just like that, he was ready to send his balloon into the damp sky.
Overall it was a lovely day. Sad and somber, but hopeful and beautiful. There were plenty of tears, but lots of laughter, too. Your girl cousins are both walking now and we had to beg them to stop going up the steps! We took your pack and play out of the basement so Ella could take a nap as she was getting very tired from being so cute. It warmed me up from the inside to know that a sweet little girl was using one of your things. They were meant to be used and not to sit in storage. Oh, I see her and I think of the fun you girls would have had!! She has her daddy wrapped around her teeny little fingers and I just know that you would be the same way with your daddy if you where here.
So here we are on your one year angelversary. We are working hard to make you proud of us and I think you would have really liked your party. Baby, we are so proud to be your parents and so sad that we did not have more time with you. Please know that you are in our hearts and souls and we love you yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Happy 1st birthday, Allie Cat.