Giving Thanks with a Full Heart

It’s finally here, my first Thanksgiving without my daughter. I’ve been dreading this day for months. Eight months, to be exact. Like most other holidays and events, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what it will be like without my daughter. Utterly heartbreaking are the words that always come to mind.

My heart breaks each and every day, over and over again. There are so many lost moments and memories. Too many to count. Today is one of those lost moments. So many memories waiting to be made, just gone. A lifetime of them taken in one fell swoop, all claimed by death.

Last Thanksgiving, I was pregnant. As my family members took turns giving thanks, I patiently waited for my opportunity. I knew exactly what I wanted to say. I was so excited, and relieved, to be able to give thanks for my growing baby girl. After getting into a car accident in early November, I was really thanking my lucky stars. I felt so fortunate that my daughter was uninjured, and still with us.

I remember looking around the table at everyone. It was so easy to image my daughter in the mix. I pictured my small family of three sitting together, taking up one corner of the large, extended family dining table. I pictured Elliot’s grandparents taking turns holding her when she became too restless to stay at the table. I thought I’d have to rush through my meal, and then whisk Elliot away into the next room for a nap. I secretly planned to stay and rest with her. I knew I’d want to enjoy the cuddle time for as long as she’d allow it.

Alas, I was wrong. The scenes I pictured in my head were mere daydreams and stolen memories. This Thanksgiving is nothing like what I had imagined, planned, or hoped for. A few weeks ago, I wondered how I was expected to be thankful for anything this year. I already had a long mental list of things I’m not thankful for. Being a bereaved mother tops that list, of course. At the time, it seemed much easier to make a not-so-thankful list. Being angry at the universe will do that to a person, especially around the holidays. I’ve felt so bitter about Thanksgiving. I’ve been scared. I am scared. I’m afraid to know what it feels like to go through a major holiday without my baby. The minor holidays have been hard enough.

Then I remembered that SHE is what I am thankful for. Not that I ever forget that, but sometimes it is hard to think clearly through the pain and tears. My heart may be broken, but because of her, it is also full of love.

Our bond will always top my thankful list. Being her mother, and having her as my daughter, will always be the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the good things in my life. She made my life better. She made me better.

She is my lucky star.

I will always be thankful for the time spent with my daughter. It may have been short, but I still have wonderful memories of our time together. Memories we were lucky enough to make together. Memories that death cannot steal away from me. There were many happy moments captured on camera and video. And some that I hold only in my mind and heart. All of which I will never forget.

I know I will have moments of anger and sadness today. I’m sure I will cry. But I know I won’t be alone. My husband and family will cry with me. We all miss our girl and wish she had been given a real chance at life. These feelings always intensify whenever we’re together for a family celebration.

I know I will also have moments of happiness. I will smile and laugh. I will do these things because even though my daughter isn’t in my arms, she’s still mine. She’s real. She lived in my womb for nine months, and she will live on in my heart forever. She is my reason to be happy.

Today, I will proudly give thanks for my girl.

I am thankful for my daughter.
I am thankful she chose me to be her mom.
I am thankful for the memories I have of her.
I am thankful for our love.

Shared on November 26, 2015