2017.

Kenley’s 2nd birthday was Friday. I wasn’t quite sure how I would feel, but honestly I felt proud to be her Momma that day more so than a normal day. It’s weird, and I really don’t know how to explain it but I think it had something to do with all of the donations we gave, and all the random acts of kindness that were done in her name. The text messages, and instagram messages really helped too; knowing she isn’t forgotten means the world.

We started the day with Shane going to the doctor because he had been feeling crappy for a while. Then, when he got home we packed up all the donations (see this post for more information on what all we donated!) and took them for drop off. Seeing all of those things and knowing that they are going to help other parents who lose their children really warmed my heart. Then, after we donated everything we went to get lunch. When we left, I told Shane I wanted to leave a nice tip in memory of Kenley as our random act of kindness for the day. We ended up leaving a $50 for her tip. I wrote a note explaining it was in memory of our girl on what should be her second birthday.

We then went home because I really just wanted to see my babies. When we got home, my neighbor brought over a gift that she bought for Kenley’s birthday, and we had the cake that my mom brought. It all felt good. It didn’t feel sad (any more than it normally does I mean) it felt good. I felt proud to be her mother. I felt like I did right by her that day. I don’t think there was anything else I could have done that would have made her more proud.

The day ended with Shane and I talking about her and wondering who she would be. It’s so hard to do that, and it breaks my heart all over again. I hope that she knows how much she is loved and missed. When we had Alden, I was scared that we were going to move far away from Kenley in a sense and she would be forgotten, but that didn’t happen. The love I feel for Kenley is different than the love I have for my other children. I have to love them differently, because 2 are here on earth, and one isn’t… It’s very odd.

Alden has given me joy back that I never ever expected to have in my life again. Reading this sentence I know there are some people who will think “wow, that is over dramatic”, but you’re wrong. I cannot explain to you the sadness that accompanies child loss; the pain that comes from not bringing a child home to the place you’ve prepared so lovingly for it. Alden has restored my heart by piecing it together again. I’m sure my heart looks like half finished patchwork quilt now. Maybe not even that, because that has potential to be finished some day…maybe my heart looks like a broken vase that someone tried to put back together. Inevitably you will always be missing a piece, or it won’t fit back together just right ever again.

With the impending arrival of our third daughter, Rowan, I am worried about moving even farther away from Kenley and wondering how to keep her legacy going strong. I miss her every day. I miss the thought of her and what I wanted for her little life. It’s weird. I have different “dreams” for Alden, and Rowan. It’s crazy what child loss can do to you.

Tonight, on new years eve, I’m sitting here waiting for the ball to drop with Landon. He asked all day if he could watch it. I really, really didn’t want to stay up, but I decided I would power through for him. Hope he knows he owes me a kiss when the ball drops! Jokes on him πŸ™‚

Two years ago on new years eve we walked in the door to our home without our daughter. I walked straight to her nursery (after Shane had my mom remove all baby items from the home and put them in the nursery in preparation for our return home in order to not make me sad…) and I sat down in her glider. I rocked and sobbed so hard. I clutched the bear that the hospital staff had given me so I wouldn’t leave the hospital with empty arms. I remember sitting there and hearing fireworks and gunshots at midnight. Shane kissed me, and I remember thinking how fucking awful my life was and that I would never feel happiness again.

I was wrong…kind of. My life at that moment was awful, and every day since has been awful in the sense that my perfectly healthy daughter died without warning inside my body. But, I do feel happiness. I feel it when I look at my children. I feel it when Shane kisses me, or holds my hand. I feel it when I do good things for other people. The happiness is there, and I know that it is ok for me to feel happy now. I used to think that if I felt happy it meant I was leaving her in my past and being happy would make people think that I was “over” her death…but that’s not true.

Being happy makes me a fighter.

Makes me a good mother for not quitting on my children.

Makes me a good wife for not giving up on my marriage when things get tough because I’m having a bad day.

It’s my hope that 2018 brings even more happiness with the arrival of our 3rd daughter, and allows me to grow as a mother, wife, and friend. I hope to accomplish great things in Kenley’s name this year. It’s my hope that my sweet girls legacy lives on and I get to tell more people about her.

Bring on 2018, even though 2017 wasn’t too bad of a year…

On your 2nd Birthday.

Dear Kenley,

Today you would be a crazy 2 year old. You would be running around, pretending you can fly, or pestering your brother. I’m not quite sure how I see your personality being because I don’t allow myself to go there; it’s too hard to think of who you should be when I will never know the answer to the question. I look at photos of your brother around your age and it breaks my heart.

When I heard those terrible words, I knew immediately what I had lost. Everything I had witnessed throughout your brothers life and had dreamed for you was ripped away from me. I was lost.

Alone.

Scared.

Sad.

Shocked.

I couldn’t believe after all the heartache we endured to have you, and the entire pregnancy full of sickness and terrible pain, you were gone. Stolen from us. Without warning, and there was nothing we were able to do to get you back.

I think that’s the hardest part…when the acceptance sets it. When you finally realize that you are really gone, and there is no way to bring you home to where you belong. No amount of love could bring you home, or could save you from leaving to begin with. I couldn’t wish you to come back. I couldn’t even pay someone every cent I could ever own to bring you back. I was without you, forever. I will be without you, forever.

The first year without you was hard; everything was so fresh and shock was very much at the front of my grief. This second year though…it has been weird. We brought your sister into our lives and she has given us so much joy. I know that you two would have been thick as thieves and would have caused me so much stress. I would give anything to witness that now. When I look at Alden, I can’t help but see you in her. She is here because of you, which in itself is messed up. I don’t want one of my children to be alive because the other one died- I want you both alive.

During this second year I think that acceptance has set in. I realized that this is my life now, and I need to learn to live with my grief and your death. These things need to mesh with my every day life for the sake of your siblings. I cannot shut down. I have to function in order to provide them with the loving home that they deserve…that YOU deserved too. I would have given my life for any of you to live, and so I need to try to function for their sake. If you were here, and the same happened to one of your siblings I would try my hardest to make your life wonderful, just as I am for them.

And also during this second year of grief…you sent us a miracle. You sent us an earthly sister for Alden. I will never understand this. We are beyond thankful for her, and the fact that she is growing so healthy and strong, but I don’t understand the timing. Why did we have to go through all the pain of losing you, and fertility treatments for you and Alden, and then bam? It confuses me, and I just have learned to roll with the punches now.

You have given me the strength to help others in your memory, too. This is my favorite thing to do, sweet girl. I love to let people know about you, and to help their momma hearts in your name. You are so special and I know that your name has been on the lips of many people around the world, and to me that is huge. It makes my heart soar when people say your name, or talk to me about you. I have big plans for the future in your memory, baby girl. I can’t wait to see them all fall into place.

On your second birthday, I am missing you terribly. I can barely breathe when I think about the way life should have been. I miss you in my bones now, and it’s a pain I will always feel. I hope you know how much I love you. I know there is never a way for me to say it to you on earth again, but I love you more than you could ever know. I wanted you so incredibly bad, and I will never be the same because when you left, you took a piece of my heart with you.

You are my best friend, my little love.

Happy Birthday, my sweet girl. Mommy loves you with every inch of her heart and soul.

Love always,

Mommy

 

 

rouge one.

“There is more than one sort of prison, captain. I sense you carry yours wherever you go.”

We were watching Star Wars Rouge One tonight, and this quote hit home for me really really hard- especially so close to Kenley’s second birthday….

Christmas was weird. This whole year has been weird. I don’t even know how to explain it.

Acceptance, maybe, in a sense?

Defeat? Yes. Absolutely.

You know that feeling when you’re like “omg! This is too good to be true! Pinch me I must be dreaming!”…well, pinch me because this is so fucking awful that I have to be dreaming. I have to be. This cannot be my family’s life…life with a missing piece.

A few more days…

donating.

As the year comes to a close and Kenley’s second birthday speeds toward me like a fucking bullet train, I am so thankful for the donations we will be making to the hospital in her memory.

Continue reading

busy.

We have been so busy during the “holiday season” and I’m kind of thankful to be honest. It’s keeping me occupied and keeping my mind off of everything but it also feels like I’m blocking things out? I’m trying to be in tune with what I’m feeling about Kenley’s second birthday but, I know I’m just shoving it down and trying to ignore it.

I miss her so much. Every time I wake up it’s feeling hard to catch my breath. I have a beautiful 9 month old girl who smiles all the time and brings so much joy to my life, but I have this aching hole in my heart the shape of a child who should be turning two in 10 days.

Christmas is going to be extremely difficult. It’s going to be so happy and wonderful because it’s Alden’s first Christmas, but my heart is going to be so empty again no matter what. I miss her.

I tried Alden’s Christmas dress on today, and I just wanted to cry. She looked so beautiful; so innocent and full of life. I just want to hold her and cuddle her and breathe her in and feel her warm body. She is here and alive and I love her so much. But, I’m always going to miss the girl we never got to bring home.

Sometimes I stop and think that this can’t be my life. I can’t be missing a child. I can’t have a daughter who is dead. But, with every breath I take I am painfully reminded that it is in fact my life, and she is truly gone.

I miss her so much. 10 days until your second birthday, sweet girl.

reality.

You know the feeling you get when you see a spider, a mouse, a clown, or something that scares you? That chills you to your very core? Or that immediate cold chill feeling; the sickness that makes your stomach turn in knots? You know the way you feel when you encounter your biggest fear?

That’s my reality.

Every day, I wake up and realize that my daughter is dead. Her face is the first one I see in the morning but only by photo on my night stand. It’s always the same; the same position, the same angle, the same black and white color.

It’s like every day I have to get out of bed knowing I will be faced with all the fear. I will walk out of my bedroom and see a mouse or spider. And I can’t escape them. They will just be there in my house taunting me. My biggest fear, and I’m unable to escape it. Someone’s biggest nightmare, is my reality. It’s MY biggest nightmare, and my reality.

I spent today wrapping all the Christmas gifts we have in our home. We wrapped them downstairs in our spare room. On Kenley’s rug. I felt close to her, but it also made me want to die a little because that’s how I have to spend time with my daughter? It’s so sad.

Every year, no matter what happens in my life from here on out, I will be facing the death of my daughter four days after Christmas.

My biggest fear became my reality, and it’s ALWAYS going to be my reality. I think some people may look at me and think “oh she went on to have two more children after her daughter died so she must be doing better”. Those people are wrong. I’m doing different. I’m in no way “better”, I still live with the chilling reality that my child died inside of my fucking body and its not something I can escape or kill (like a spider or mouse). It won’t go away, it won’t quiet, it won’t rest.

It makes me tired. It makes me sad and anxious and depressed. It exhausts me. It shadows every single aspect of my life.

December is the worst.

cards.

I was looking at wrapping paper the other day at Target when I turned the aisle and saw them- Christmas cards. The exact ones that I sent out the year she died. Just days before she died I was signing her sweet name to the card.

I burst into tears.

Shane asked if I wanted to send any out this year and I really don’t want to. I decided that if someone sent me one I would send one back to them, but when the time came to fill them out it was too much so I ended up sending them to my mom, in-laws and my dad. I couldn’t even bring myself to write anything inside except “The Hayes Family”. That’s it.

Because how do you decide if you should include your dead daughters name on the christmas card? Do you then include the unborn child you’re carrying? I didn’t include Kenley in some cards, and in some others I did…I remember thinking about how I was jinxing my pregnancy by writing her name in the cards…

I hate this fucking Holiday. I really really do. It’s so painful, and hurtful in so many ways when it’s supposed to be so exciting and cheerful. Nope. Not for me. The holiday makes me feel like I want to curl up and die. It makes me physically sick to my stomach. It makes me angry, and frustrated, and grumpy. It makes me feel the grief so much heavier and louder.

I just can’t believe how close we are to her second birthday. I don’t even have anything planned. I don’t know what to plan. I want to do something but I have zero emotional strength right now and I am afraid I’m going to just let the days tick by and bam it will be here and I will have nothing for her on that day.

Grief has a hold of me and is making it nearly impossible to get anything done. I cleaned the toy room the other day and I literally could have slept for 5 days afterward. I can’t keep up with house work. The laundry needs done. Shane has been working 6 day work weeks for the past month, and I am sinking fast and hard over here.

I knew it would happen. I knew the days leading up to her day would be awful. I knew it.

I just miss her so much that its all I can do.

giving.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing keeping me sane during this month is giving back. I’ve always wanted to adopt a family for Xmas but every year I’m too late and once again this year I suck and can’t find a way to do it. BUT! I’ve been giving back in other ways. I’ve donated to my sweet friend Alison’s project in honor of her daughter, Meredith (find it here!), I plan to donate a toy to another friends project, complete my random 3 (acts of kindness) for FJB who was born still a year exactly before Kenley, and there are tons more things I’m planning on doing this season to help heal my heart.

I found a wonderful project to help fill Kenley’s stocking on Christmas morning, and I hope that it works out but I’m also terrified. I cry a lot at Christmas. This year will be no different I’m sure and to read these cards sent to my daughter…I hope it warms my heart. If you would like to participate please let me know.

Tonight Alden fell asleep in the car and when Shane got out to get her out he called for me to come look at her. He said “who does she look like?”…Kenley. Exactly like Kenley. It was so weird to see…and when you put the pictures side by side it isn’t the same as when I saw her tonight. I can’t believe how similar they look! I know they’re sisters but at birth you’d never have been able to tell!

I’ve been having a hard time lately; the Holidays are the WORST. I’m trying to stay occupied and what not but I have no motivation, no drive to complete anything, and I’m getting completely overwhelmed by the smallest tasks. My boxes from IKEA we’re supposed to be here today and they’re not…the friend who made the majority of my hats and blankets hasn’t told me when she plans to ship them and I need them asap, just a million things on my plate and I can’t seem to pick one and work on it.

We have a leak in our roof.

Our dishwasher broke.

I’ll keep going….

But instead I’ll just leave these adorable pictures here. It makes my heart swell with love thinking that this is possibly what Kenley would have looked like except with dark hair…