October has come and gone. I have to admit, that I’m glad it’s behind me. October was a month that I was dreading for a while. It held so much emotion that I was scared to face it. The thing about most situations is that you can’t avoid them forever. Even if I had tried to avoid Caroline’s birthday and all the emotion attached to it, the day still would have come. So, I chose to try to embrace it as much as I could. Some days were better than others, but overall it wasn’t quite as hard as I thought it would be.
I couldn’t decide what I thought we should do to honor our sweet girl’s first Heavenly birthday. It was a lot like picking out her headstone in that nothing seemed good enough. I saw something from a fellow BLM that really seemed like something I wanted to do. I went to Hobby Lobby and picked out some fabric that I thought was pretty, and flannel to line them, and made some blankets. I made 2 boy blankets and 2 girl blankets. I prayed for the families who would receive these blankets while making them and after they were completed. I included a letter that Arthur helped me write that shared our sympathy and offered some helpful resources and Bible verses. We all delivered them to the hospital the day after her birthday as a family. It was nice to visit the L&D floor not as a patient (I delivered Addie at the same hospital). I would love for those blankets never to be used…
With Caroline, we actually have 2 anniversaries: the day we got the worst news ever, and the day we got to meet our girl. So, October 19th is the saddest day. I found that the lead up to that day was the worst for me. I couldn’t help but cry at the drop of a hat. Thankfully, my awesome husband took off work to spend the day with me that day. He woke me up with Addalee in his arms and told me that we were going to just get out of the house for the day. So, I got up and got ready and we spent the day shopping and around town. It was a welcomed distraction. We still talked about Caroline and how much we love her and miss her, but I didn’t sit and focus on the sadness of the whole situation.
On her actual birthday, we went to the cemetery and put fall flowers on her grave. We spent some time talking to her and telling her about our lives now and about her little sister (I wonder if she can hear us). It was hard to visit that grave, and that tiny headstone, but it is each time. I have to say though, that it was really tough to see October 20, 2010 on the stone and know that an entire year has passed since I held that sweet little baby girl. It’s tough to acknowledge that we’ve spent each and every day of the last year missing her, yearning for her, and thinking of her…and it doesn’t stop here.
I guess I tried to put a timeline to things – let me explain: You know when a task is too daunting; you break it down into smaller tasks or pieces. I had taken on a “one day at a time” kind of existence after we lost Caroline. It became this even more so in my pregnancy with Addalee. I dealt with Caroline and Addie together and separately. The grief with Caroline was so painful that I had to only handle anniversaries as they came. I couldn’t think of anything in the future. Just like now, I can’t imagine being 5 years away from her. I couldn’t fathom what it would be like to be out 1 year from that horrible night. I don’t know for sure how to make this make sense to the rest of the world, but I’m going to give it a shot…it’s almost like I thought that it would get better at 1 year. Like maybe a little part of me felt like I’d either get her back, or just stop feeling it when I met that mark. Maybe I felt like if I met that goal, the 1 year mark, I’d have completed the mission and I’d get the reward. Of course, I know now, and really knew then that it would just be an anniversary and that nothing would change from the day before it to the day after it, except getting to really recognize her. I think it has helped me though, to know that I’m still standing, and standing with more assurance than I was in the days following losing her. It helps me to know that we’ve lived through this year. We’ve done all these firsts and lived to tell about it.
After Caroline’s funeral, we had the whole family to our house. It was October 22. Those hours were the only time for quite a while that I remember feeling okay. Having all those people around us, loving us, loving her, was healing to me. I didn’t feel like myself, but I did feel like the haze lifted at least momentarily. Well, this year, October 22 fell on a Saturday, so we opted to have everyone over! I was thrilled that the family was interested and it was wonderful! We had soup and chili and good conversations. It was a beautiful clear and sunny day, so it was so nice to be outside. I got pink, yellow, and white balloons for the balloon release.
They were bright and cheerful and sweet. We all gathered in the back yard, we all got our balloons and then I said a few words. Then we released our balloons…
You could see them forever! It was beautiful! Happy birthday, little Caroline!
We had this little sweetheart to celebrate big sister’s birthday, which sure was a blessing to this broken heart!
Also – Happy Halloween!