Thursday, November 13, 2008

Five and a half...

So exactly five and a half years ago, I lay in a hospital bed with my baby in my arms. Not that I'm counting... and I am, absolutely. I used to calculate the days as I drove to work sometimes, in those early days. It has been 146 days since I held her, 217. I did just do the math, of course, because I had to, and it has now been 2009 days since I held her. That is a long time. A long time to grow into a little blonde-headed child with a wild sense of humor and hysterical giggles, with wavering but determined handwriting and a thirst for reading. We ate chocolate chip cookie and ice cream sandwiches for dinner to "celebrate" Charlotte's half birthday. We held hands and said our blessing for her, told her how much we loved and missed her, and licked melted ice cream off our fingers. It was jolly, sort of.
I was curious to see what I had written five years ago, on a day I remember had been quite difficult. I did not go to work. Here is what was in the journal I kept for her, the only thing I ever wrote in. Greg and I would take turns writing together in the nursery.

November 12th, 2003 (written by me)

Dear Charlotte,
Tonight is the eve of your six month birthday. It is hard to believe that it was six months ago tonight that we read you your last 3 books and innocently fell asleep. So often I recall the moments I spent walking around our house leaking water and I wonder when your last seconds were. I remember when I woke Daddy up. I said, "Greg. My water broke." He sat up very quickly and exclaimed, "It did?!" We were so very, very excited that you were coming. NEver in a million years did we consider that we might not get to bring you home. Even when we couldn't wake you up we never went that far to consider the impossible. We loved you too much to even imagine that something so awful could happen to you. We are looking forward to devoting all of tomorrow to remembering, honoring, and loving you without distraction. That is something we haven't done in quite a while. You are our family and tomorrow is our family day. We love you so much, and although you are not here, our love for you grows each day as we see your amazing impacts on our lives.
Love, Mama and Daddy

November 13, 2003 (written by Greg)

Dear Charlotte,
Today we spent the whole day remembering you, loving you, honoring you without distraction. We also took care of ourselves. We woke up to sunshine on the walls of the bedroom. After a fresh donut and coffee in bed we remembered all the details of your birth. Then, we went to revisit the hospital, the place where you were born. Our friends Andrea and Trudy were there to help us. After lunch in a restaurant, we bought some pink flowers and took them to your stone at the river. We tied your flowers to a little tree so they would not blow away on this very windy Thursday. When we came home we lit a nice fire and have spent the entire evening in front of it. We ate supper on the sofa and then decided to sleep by the fire. So that's where we are. We are missing you and loving you so much and wondering again and again what you would be like if you were here with us today, six months old.
Love, Daddy and Mama.


Jen said...

It feels good and right to cry upon reading this.

Sara said...

I tracked numbers for a long time after Henry died too. I would walk and compare how much of his life he spent in and out of the hospital, how much time had passed since he died compared to how much time he lived. We reached the balance point in early July, when he had been gone longer than we had him with us. Now 332 days . . . , creeping up on 365, one year.

Your celebration sounds wonderful. You know I wish that you could have your giggly girl there to enjoy her own ice cream sandwich, but since she is not, I love watching how Charlotte remains part of you family.

Meg said...

This was so beautiful! Thanks for sharing.