Seven years....I still can't believe it has been that long since I held her in my arms. When we went to her grave today I told Mike that it still feels like it really didn't even happen sometimes. It was such an awful time in our lives, and it's hard to remember how wrecked we were at that time. Today I noticed the outline of her casket for the first time really. The new grass that was growing in was a much brighter green than the rest of the grass. I placed my hand on top of that grass, and I swear I felt overwhelming peace. Her body is there right beneath my hand. I understand that she is not there, but the little girl I physically held is. I can remember the weight of her, the hours leading up to her birth and how scary that was not knowing what it would be like to deliver a baby who was not breathing. It's terrifying to not know how you might react when it's your child. You want to meet them so badly, but you are afraid to because of what death looks like and most importantly because it means you have to say good-bye. Once they leave your body they are no longer a part of you, and you can't continue carrying them with you here on Earth. It's a terrible thing to leave your daughter at the hospital knowing you will never see her again this side of Heaven. I don't remember a lot of those days, but I will never forget the feeling of watching them wheel her away. I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest. Even now just writing about it makes my heart constrict.
Today was so unusual in so many ways. Normally we are driving through snow and brushing snow off of her grave. Today I planted red tulips as the sun was peaking out in almost 60 degree weather. It was so peaceful. My soul feels at peace. I am in a good place. I miss her every single day, and I still wonder what her seven-year-old self would be like, but I know she is well. I know with 100% certainty that she is living a full, happy, carefree, and praise-filled life. Her cake was probably much better than the Oreo cupcakes I made for her. :) We took a shovel to plant her tulips. We always laugh thinking about how that looks while we walk through a cemetery. I might want to have her here with me, but I don't think digging her up is the answer. I know she isn't here with me, but I feel her presence every day. It's in the strength she gives me to help other families as they begin the grieving process, it's in the people she has brought into my life, it's the beautiful thoughts and words from others, and she has brought me so much closer to God.
My dear friend, that I had word diarrhea with, when we first moved here who ultimately introduced me to Emma's Footprints went to the wine store today to get me something because she knows what I like. She asked the clerk if they had anything with a dragonfly on it. He pointed down and sitting right there at the counter was a bottle of "Dragonly" wine with a dragonfly on it. Just one bottle sitting there on the counter...Seems so strange, but in so many ways it doesn't surprise me at all. She does stuff like that. I'm not sure what that says about me, but dragonflies and wine are a perfect combo today. :) I am so thankful for that woman. She has been a true blessing to me, and I am so glad God pushed me out of the house that day to meet her. She certainly teaches me a lot of about life, and I love that I get to do life with her and her family right now. Her daughter gives me a hug almost every morning, and this morning was no different. She came right up to me and snuggled right in. It's like she knows what my heart needs. I have been spoiled this year. My Emma's Footprints family got me a beautiful necklace with her name and birthday on it. I have been wearing it proudly since I received it. I am so thankful for them too. Emma's is such a beautiful organization. I still feel so grateful that they let me be a part of it. I just love blessing others in the way that I have been blessed. I still have a beautiful friend who donates to a charity of my choice every year in memory of Aubree. How beautiful is that? Her actions show that she will never forget my daughter, and that means the world to me.
Tonight we will sing to her and eat Oreo cupcakes in her memory. I wish she was here with us, but like I said I know her life is better than I could even imagined for her here. I am still sad that a peace of my family is not here with us, but every year that passes I feel like I am learning more and more about how to live life without her while still keeping her very much alive. I know that Ruger is keeping her company now that he is gone. He was my baby that year she died. He provided so much love in her absence. His loss was really tough on all of us, but it's comforting to know he is running free with her. Happy 7th Birthday, my Aubree. It's been a beautiful day.