Wednesday, December 11, 2013

4 Years and a Heavy Heart

My heart is so heavy tonight and I wasn't expecting it...

My cousin Daniel's little boy Owen turns 4 today. And all these thoughts and feelings are washing over me...

I can't believe he's already 4. I can't believe it's been that many years, since Daniel and I were both expecting babies. I can't believe Lily's been gone that long. My heart just hurts so much because 4 seems like such a big number. I don't know why and I don't even fully know how to describe what I feel. It just feels like 4 years separate me from Lily now. Kids grow and change a lot by age 4.

Other children are growing up. She never will. Seeing Owen turn another year older, smiling for the camera, bigger than he was last year on his birthday, highlights what I am missing. Does that make sense? I love that little guy and I celebrate his life and birthday, but it reminds me that Lily will never get any of it - no Chuck E. Cheese birthday party. No cake. No funny stories of things she said on her birthday.

I've written many times about my cousin Daniel and his son Owen. You see, Daniel and I grew up very close. Our moms are sisters and we were born just 4 months apart. I couldn't believe it that Lily and Owen were also a boy and girl cousins, due three months apart (almost the same space of time apart). Now any children I have in the future will be way younger than Owen. It will be different. They won't have the kind of relationship that I hoped Owen and Lily would have.

I won't lie, it is painful at times that Lily would be so close to Owen in age. Every year when he turns another year older, I will think of my forever baby who has a headstone with the date of March 16th, 2010. He turned 4 and I automatically thought about that she would almost be 4. She should almost be 4... she never will be almost 4.

Another reason why 4 hurts is because it feels like it's enough time that people expect me to have moved on and to not care anymore. It feels like Lily is yesterday's news in people's eyes and hearts. Does anybody even read these words of mine anymore? Does anybody even care about her anymore? Does anybody even want to know how I am in my grief? Do you realize that I still do grieve? And there is nothing wrong with me for it.

I feel that time does help ease the pain and the ache in ways, yet in other ways, time only makes it harder. Others forget. But my heart could never forget. Others move on and I have moved on too... but moving on hurts. I don't want to have to move on. I want her here with me.

What will the milestone birthdays be like... when Owen turns thirteen and I think about my should-be-almost-teenage-daughter, and I wonder if anyone around me even thinks of her.

Happy fourth birthday, Owen. I hope one day I am able to share more of Lily's life and legacy with you. It is bittersweet that you were born only three months apart. Bitter because I realize more what I am missing and sweet because it makes me feel closer to her. You were both in the womb at the same time. I love your daddy and I love you. I wish you didn't live so far away and that I could see you more often. Celebrate a little extra for your cousin who will never turn 4...

The closest thing I'll ever get to having Owen and Lily in a photo together. This photo below is from Lily's third birthday. I hope this can be a tradition each year, for Owen to hold up a sign wishing Lily a happy birthday in Heaven. Each year, he gets bigger and older in the photo. Each year, she is remembered and honored. Each year, she is missing and he is the age she should be.


I know that tomorrow I will probably feel much better than I do today. What I have learned about grief is it's best to walk through it and not hide from it. Suppressing grief is never a good thing, therefore I embrace it. Embracing it makes me feel close to her. That might sound weird, but hey, this is my life.

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This post left me:

3 comments:

  1. Oh Hannah, I think of Lily-and Luke all the time. Anytime I think of Lucy. And I'm sure that other people whose lives have been changed by your story, they think of her too.

    Lily was your daughter and you will always have that intense Love and longing for her that a lot of people don't understand. But God understands. And he will continue to walk you through it as long as you let him. He has done amazing things through you, which is impossible to do without the pain. (Trust me, I wish I would have found my passion and understanding for post abortive women without going through it myself and loosing my Lucy. But it isn't possible.) God allows pain so we will turn to Him and He can use us to the fullest.

    During the last week of our study, we watched Tilly. We spent the rest of the evening talking about all that we are missing out on with our little ones. (My regret:I will never brush her hair and sing to her or hold hands with her and skip.) Another woman said birthdays. Another, dance recitals. Another, first day of school. And then, one of the wisest women I have ever known said to us, "I don't think God will let us miss a thing. I think when we meet our little ones in Heaven, we will get all that and then some." See, God isn't concerned with our comfort here on Earth, because we are here to advance his Kingdom, but in Heaven, we will be eternally happy.

    I am praying for you, Hannah. I have been all year.

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  2. Thank you, Hannah Rose, for sharing ... so touching and heartfelt ... We hope to see Owen this weekend. I'll give him an extra tight hug from you.

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  3. I get it.

    One of my closest friends and I were pregnant together nearly every time. Her babies have lived and mine haven't (conversely, I have one that lived when hers didn't... she was pregnant again by the time mine was born and she grieves very differently from me). I can mark my children's lives by watching hers grow up. They are 7, 4, and newborn.

    Lately the ache is so so tangible! And yes, when my oldest baby in heaven marked his 13th birthday (he's now 14), it was very hard. I had another 13 year old in heaven last summer. I too feel the absence of "this is your year to learn to read" being the homeschool mom that I am. I feel the holes in the family photos.... and yes, people expect me to get over it, move on, and "Why can't you just appreciate the living children you have. You have so many!" They will NEVER get that having 5 living babies does not change the five dead ones. They are ALL unique and special and loved and wanted and treasured. And, they are NOT interchangeable socks that replace each other :(

    I also hold on to the hope that when we get to heaven, God will somehow redeem the time that was stolen....
    much love and (((((hugs)))))

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