I haven’t been very organized about commemorating Alex and Julianna’s little milestones. I didn’t take pictures of them every month. I see these photos a lot, the ones with little signs that tell us how many months old a baby is on a certain day. And I love them — was that not around when my children were babies? Or were they, and I just didn’t notice?
Today, it’s been a month. One month since I was able to hold Julianna and kiss her forehead.
It seems perverse to remember and document the one month anniversary of Julianna’s death when I didn’t document the one month anniversary of her life. I have no idea what we did that day.
I thought about doing nothing, but that didn’t seem right either. How can I not remember and acknowledge it, this horrible loss?
It doesn’t really matter, of course. It’s just a day, and I’ve been acknowledging this horrible loss – for years. As difficult as this past month has been, the years before it were much worse. (Not the glorious eighteen months in hospice. Those were a gift, better than the most wonderful dream.And yes, “glorious” and “hospice” go in the same sentence — I’ll write more about that later.)
The time before that was the hardest. I knew, but I denied, and I struggled. Fear permeated everything then, and with it came despair.
I’m not afraid now, and I wonder if I can be again. There is sadness, of course. I miss her – so much. But there is also joy and gratitude. When I was afraid, I could not begin to imagine that these would be in the mix, and that they would keep me afloat.
Though Julianna was the girliest of girly girls, I imagine her in pants and sneakers now. She is always running, doing all the things that she couldn’t do in this life.
This weekend, Steve and I received a beautiful gift. I have been wanting to get a little angel for our yard (to put near Julianna’s tree when it gets planted). Kathy, the gifted artist who did Julianna’s princess room furniture, just “happened” to have the perfect one:
It looks like her, and it is clothed. (A lot of these cherubs tend to be partially draped. J valued modesty.) I thought it was perfect, but wished that it was a bit smaller, a sitting angel perhaps. Then Steve came up with the perfect response to my unspoken thought: “She would have wanted to be standing.”
PS — a Cool New Thing:
These lovely items (a bookmark and a 3×3″ card) were made by the wonderful Oscar’s Print Shop. We printed a bunch, and will hand them out everywhere.
If you would like to do the same, please do. You can download each image individually to get a high-res pdf.