It’s so hard to believe 2015 is coming to an end. I know, we still have over a week left and one of the biggest holidays of the year ahead of us. I honestly don’t think I am up for a Christmas post. Not this time around at least.
This year was undoubtedly the most difficult year of our lives. Ben and I were completely blindsided by the loss of Elliot. To say we were, and still are, devastated is a gross understatement. Those closest to us understand how deeply affected we are by Elliot’s life, death, and spirit. We will never be the same people again. We were going to change to matter what. I just wish it had gone the other way.
2015 will be forever known as the year we said hello and goodbye to Elliot. Meeting Elliot, holding her in my arms, and absorbing her beauty was such a blessing. Learning how to recognize and accept Elliot’s “signs from heaven” as proof that Elliot is still with us has also been a gift from above. And then there’s the other side of it – grief. The anger, confusion, and loneliness have softened over time, but they still linger. The heartache and sorrow are still fresh. They exist because we love Elliot. Would I wish these feelings away? Only if it meant Elliot could come back and be here with us physically. As long as we’re separated between heaven and earth, a piece of my heart will always be missing. I would never ask for that part of my heart back. It belongs to Elliot. It belongs with her in heaven.
2015 will also be known as the year of transformation. I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve learned how to survive, which is a daily battle. I’ve learned how to give in and be weak when I can’t bear to put on a brave face anymore. I’ve learned how to parent my deceased child. She may have passed away, but she still matters. She deserves to be remembered and celebrated every single day. I’ve learned what it means to really love my family, and that even though my family is different, it’s still special. I’ve learned that true love has no limits; it isn’t bound by time or space.
I’m scared and excited to start a brand new year. I’ve been wondering if I’ll feel better or worse as time goes on. Overall, time has helped. But we are still grieving, and we will grieve for the rest of our lives. How could we not? While Elliot is still present in our lives, she’s also missing in so many (painfully) obvious ways.
Not too long ago, I thought I had it all figured out. Now I know I really don’t have anything figured out. Things can change at the drop of a dime, especially when you least expect it, for better or for worse. Even though I don’t know what’s in store for us, I’m hopeful 2016 will be a good year.
I cannot say farewell to 2015 without acknowledging the good things that happened this year. Our beautiful niece Tess was born. We learned our extended family will be blessed with two new babies in 2016. We celebrated a baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation, a family wedding, and many birthdays. I connected with amazing women through the loss community, and made some wonderful new friends. These women are so supportive and loving. They truly understand what I’m going through because they are also bereaved mothers. Our family and friends have shown us so much love, support, kindness, and patience over the past nine months. We knew we were loved, but the way everyone came together to support us is truly amazing. We recognize how fortunate we are to have a good support system. So many people also came forward to make charitable donations in honor of Elliot. Honoring Elliot’s memory in that way has been a source of comfort for us. I love that so many good things are being done in her name.
“Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to support grieving parents through the lifelong grief of losing a child.” – Angela Miller, A Bed for My Heart
Thank you to our village. We would not have made it through 2015 without you. Wishing you all love, peace, and happiness in 2016.
The cover photo was taken from my doorstep at sunset on October 31, 2015.