Eight

On the day she would have been eight, I wonder if It was all a dream.

Did I really have two babies and lose one?

 

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The beginning:  Julianna, 2 wks. Photo by Stacy Newlin Nyikos.

 

Surely, it’s not possible, not when we wanted her so much. It didn’t really happen, right?

In my head, it’s simple. I was there for her beginning and for her end. She was here, then she was not – and I was there for all of it. It was my privilege, but also the source of my greatest pain.

 

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She was herself until the very end. On her last day, she received a unicorn and deemed it awkward…

 

My heart knows it too, but in a way that’s not easily expressed with words. Imagine the most oppressive blanket. It’s heavy enough to constrict your breath, but its weight falls just shy of crushing the life that’s left in you. It’s a continuous stream of blazing hot tears (sometimes a trickle, sometimes a torrent) or the searing pain of an open, angry wound.

Oppressive heaviness and exquisite pain: this is how my heart knows she is gone. It’s too much, and that is the source of my disbelief. When it’s this painful, a little disassociation is not a bad thing.

My heart knows something else too: if someone is a part of you, they never really leave. She’s in vivid pink sunsets and in the stories her brother tells, the ones that make us remember and laugh. She is behind every colorful item of clothing and sparkling accessory that I own. I think of her every time I see a baby, because nobody has ever loved them more. She’s in flowers, on mountaintops, and part of everything beautiful, bright and lovely — because she was everything beautiful, bright and lovely.

 

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So, on the day she would have been eight, I am blessed and bereft. I am thankful, but so sad.  I celebrate and I mourn, because her presence and absence are undeniable.

 

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Mt. Hood is the best part of the landscape here, and is visible on most days. Earlier this year, we put some of Julianna’s ashes on “Mountain Hood”

 

15 thoughts on “Eight

  1. I remember Julianna liked to play hide and seek with Alex. How do you hide a little girl on a big awkward mobility cart? But we tried anyway, usually in a closet somewhere. She loved it. And being pushed as fast as we could manage down the longest straight stretch in the house. And learning to read, but being disappointed that it wasn’t an instant thing. And always a funny, quirky comment. Beautiful memories. Happy Birthday, Julianna!! We love you!!

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  2. I imagine your feelings through your words. I have not lost a child but I’ve lost my sisters and parents. It comforts me to know we’ll be together someday. It may seem so far away but someday we’ll talk again. Prayers for you at this time.

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  3. We miss you Julianna, there are no words, but that your footprint is everywhere. Our family was so impacted by your young life and your wise words. We cannot forget you, because Love is A Superpower, and sometimes that’s all we’ve got in the trying times. I am so happy that one day we will meet face to face, when there are no more tears. 💗 We send our love and prayer to your family, that lovingly carry on. 🤗 We love you all, thank you for continuing to share.

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  4. The picture of her at two weeks is so sweet. They say babies don’t smile that young, but she seems to be. It’s as if to say I’m going to enjoy this life from day 1.

    Prayers for your family.

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  5. I am one of many who was blessed to be able to follow J’s and your journey. I can’t speak for others but her impact on me was/is indescribable. Her wisdom beyond her years, her ability to find joy, her wit, the mischievous glint in her eyes, and so much more, remain in my heart. If I have so much trouble with the “why” I know I can’t fully imagine your pain. I am a better person for knowing J, if only through your blog. I think of J frequently and smile and occasionally shed a tear. Julianna lives on in the memories and your words. I continue to pray for comfort for you and your family.

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  6. Oh mama, my heart continues to break for your loss. I still teach my preschoolers that love is a super power in her honor. Keep writing, sharing, reaching out. We are here, listening. We see your daughter and how she is such a beautiful reflection of each of you. Love to you and the whole family. Julianna, please help me to teach my preschoolers to be as loving, kind, creative, imaginative, strong and spirited as you. Please help they see the sparkle and the bright side as you always did. Help them to be as resiliant as you, and to value magic, moments and the things that matter. You are our role model and teacher. Xxoo

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