It's crazy to think another year has come and gone. Six years without her here on Earth. It's funny how I can remember that day so clearly, but I can't remember much past that day. I have perfect snapshots of our day together. The moment before she was born, the moment I realized she looked just like a smaller version of Carley, the moment we spent bathing her with our bereavement nurse who treated her like she was alive, the moments I spent loving her, watching her body break down in front of our eyes, the beautiful photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, the time with our pastor, my pediatrician seeing me at my lowest point in my life, and the moment she was rolled away never to be seen again. I can also clearly remember coming home from the hospital and ripping all of the maternity clothes from the hangers and making them just disappear. I never got very big with her, but I still had gained weight so finding clothes that fit just right was a challenge for the next few days. The idea of wearing maternity clothes that reminded me of what was gone was just too much to handle. Thankfully Mike helped me take care of all things pregnancy related that were lying around. This is what I remember. I remember parts of the year that followed, but I can't seem to remember a lot of it. My brain shut down and I became a shell of a person. I was there physically and I was going about my business as usual, but I could not muster any feelings for anything. I literally cried so much that I dried out my cornea. This was my reality, but here I am six years out, and I am beyond thankful that I experienced all of this. She has made me into the person I am today with the help of Jesus of course. If you had told me in my worst moments that I would be where I am today I wouldn't have believed you. There would be no way that I could take my pain and help others because I could barely help myself.
This year has been pretty emotional and eventful for me in my healing process. I have thrown myself into volunteering for an Organization called Emma's Footprints. I started by joining their Care Team, but I soon found myself telling the founder, Tracy, that I would take the calls and emails for the families. I am their first contact with Emma's. I can't say that it hasn't been hard, but it has been so rewarding to be able to use my experience to help others. I have hurt, but I can take that hurt and use it for something beautiful. I love talking to the moms, dads, grandmas, sisters, aunts, friends, funeral homes, therapists, etc. This job has shown me that there are still very beautiful people in this world. I have had the pleasure of meeting beautiful people who help others in their worst moments. These people inspire me to be a better person, and I have learned so much from them. A good friend of mine pointed out that I am healing by providing the support that I so desperately needed back then. I didn't have an organization like Emma's to turn to. She is absolutely right. I know what it feels like to feel so alone and confused that I refuse to let anyone feel that way if I can help it. I feel like my heart has healed even more over this past year due to my involvement with this beautiful organization. Just by taking one of these calls I was able to realize a missing piece in my healing as well. I received a call from a grandmother who was so upset about her granddaughter's loss, but her heart was more upset about how her daughter was feeling. Her words knocked the wind right out of me because I realized that this is exactly how my mother felt all of those years ago. I was able to recognize how hurt my mother was too, and we were able to have a conversation about it six years later.
This is year two in Erie, and I am feeling more and more at home. The people that I interact with on a daily basis continue to amaze me with their friendship, love and support. The fact that my friends/neighbors will pray for me in my driveway before I head to visit my daughter's grave says a lot about the kind of people I have surrounded myself with. They are an integral part of my healing as well. I feel beyond blessed to have them in my life. They are beautiful people that not only make me laugh, but they are people I can cry with. Crying is hard for me to do in public because I feel like it shows my weakness, but when I am with them I find myself hugging others and crying with them. I feel free. I still have beautiful friends in my life who have been with me from the very beginning too, and I am so thankful that they have never forgotten. It's been six years, but they still remember that day and they show how much they care with donations, texts, messages, etc. I am one lucky girl to have so many beautiful people in my life.
Six years is a drop in the hat compared to the eternity that I will spend with her. I loved my time with her today at her grave, but it will never replace the ache I feel in my arms. I still have that desire to dig her up and just hold her. When you only get to hold your child for one day it hurts when you think about all that you missed. I can't remember what it felt like to hold her. I took Westyn with me today, and he of course has no idea who Aubree is, but he did ask me on our way there when we would get to "Aubree's House." He was extra cuddly today, and I think he just knew that I just needed him. My parents cleaned up her grave for me so when I got there it wasn't dirty. They are the best. :)
I look forward to seeing what God and Aubree have in store for me this year. I already know that they are planning for me to go through the bereavement doula training. I wasn't ready for this, but God obviously had other plans. He has been very clear in what I am to do. Every decision I am trying to make He comes through with a clear answer. I feel very confident that I am exactly where I am meant to be. All my love, baby girl. Happy 6th birthday.