two and a half.

Today you should be two and a half years old. You should be doing a wide array of things that I have not allowed myself to even think about quite honestly. I don’t know what type of little girl you would be. Would you be a stubborn independent child, or would you be a cuddly love bug? Or both? Would you let me put your hair in pigtails and let me paint your nails?

What would your voice sound like?

Would your eyes stay brown like I read on your autopsy report they were?

How much would you love Landon? He loves you so much and he never got to meet you. That is one of my biggest “I don’t know if I did the right thing” moments…it’s probably the only moment in my life that I’m always questioning or replaying…should I have let him see you? He misses you so bad.

I don’t typically allow my brain to go to these places because it’s just too sad. It is so fucking sad. My heart breaks daily for you and what our family lost when you left us. I wish so badly that you were alive and I was able to hold you in my arms and kiss your warm skin. I would give anything to run my hands over your beautiful face one more time. I love you, sweet girl.

It is not lost on me that both of your sisters wouldn’t be here if you were and that is a very hard thing to swallow. These days, it feels like I can’t imagine you being alive, and them not being here. I never thought I would be able to even think that way, but grief is weird and confusing. I know it’s all part of healing but it makes me so sad.

Grief is changing for me lately.

Maybe it’s not the grief that is changing per se; I still miss you as much if not more than the day you left me. Instead, maybe it’s the fact that your sisters are helping me heal in ways I never thought possible mixed with the fact that my heart has cried all it possibly can for you. There are times when everything feels fresh and I am overwhelmed with the raw grief of the early days, but that is more rare now. More often it is something small that brings a tear to my eye; instead of crying for an entire day, I will be blindsided and cry for a few moments. The grief is short lived and super intense but I’m able to pull myself from its grips.

Christmas anything, songs, colors, the weather, noises, driving past certain places, wearing certain clothes, certain scents, the way your Daddy looks at me…these are some of the things that are normal, yet somehow are also triggers for me. Life is like a second hand puzzle you get at goodwill and you are the missing piece; Everything now feels discounted, and cheap. I feel cheated. I’ll never get that piece back.

Today you should be 2 and a half. How is that even possible. The mind is an amazing thing capable of understanding some really intense stuff but I will NEVER understand your death. I know that there is a “scientific reason” why you died; we were fortunate enough to get that answer. But, there is no logical reason in the same sense…there is no reason a perfect child should die. My perfect baby should be alive.

I’ve never allowed myself to fully go back to that day. My heart is one small break away from irreparable damage. It’s not that I don’t want to remember it, I do so badly, but it hurts. It’s a memory that no one should ever have.

Kenley, you were (are) so wanted. I planned for you. I prepared my life for your arrival and you never came. I am so sorry that I couldn’t save you; I know that it’s not my “fault” but IT IS.

Two and a half years…how does it feel like just yesterday, but also an eternity since I’ve held you in my arms? Two and a half years closer to you, my sweet first daughter.

I love you.

————-

Your skin

Oh yeah, your skin and bones

Turn into something beautiful

You know, you know I love you so

You know I love you so

-Coldplay. Yellow.

SAHM after loss

When I found out I was pregnant with Landon, I thought I would have him without issue, stay home for 6 weeks, then go back to work. Wrong. The minute I laid eyes on him I knew that I didn’t want to return to work. It just so happened that Shane makes good enough money that this was an option for us. We would have to sacrifice some extra spending but it was so worth it. Raising Landon was the hardest (and still is the hardest) thing I had been through. He was difficult, didn’t sleep, had colic and acid reflux and on top of all of those things was my first child so I was super anxious. Fast forward 7 years and he’s still the hardest kid I have!

Being a stay at home Mom is very rewarding, and on the other hand it is the worst thing in the world some days. I am a very social person, and I crave interaction with other adults so at first immediately after Landon I struggled SO BAD with this. I was lonely, I felt like it was just me and Landon all day every day. We had no family to visit, I didn’t have a job, and I was in a town where I had about 4 friends (all of whom worked at the job I no longer had). It was rough. I remember feeling sad a lot. Shane worked really weird hours, and it left me alone with Landon a lot. I took on the morning routines, and the night routines and pretty much everything, honestly.

When I found out I was pregnant with Kenley, I was scared to take my SAHMing to another level with two kids. Landon was 4 (almost 5) and would be starting Kindergarten that fall, so I was nervous about preparing him for that while having a newborn. It’s funny the things I used to worry about…So when Kenley died, I was stuck at home, again, without a baby, and with a child who just witnessed his Mother and Father go through the worst thing in the whole entire world. I was left to handle my grief and help this poor  4 year old navigate his own grief. How are you supposed to help someone handle and understand their grief when you literally are barely able to wake up every morning and DO NOT understand it yourself?

I tried. I tried really, really hard. I would listen to Landon, and let him cry, and ask questions, and say all of these things that would cut me like a fucking knife. It hurt. It hurt my heart every single day (still does) to watch him process the death of his sister. He is still processing it. He talks about her, he draws pictures of her, looks at her picture, includes her in conversation, but sometimes I wonder if he really considers her a person, or just a dream. I’m not sure.

When we had Alden, I was nervous again. Now, I had my living child who was plagued with grief from losing his first sister, and I had MY grief from losing her, and then we had a newborn. I was scared that things wouldn’t flow properly and that I would resent her for taking Kenley’s “space” (nursery). I really felt a lot of emotions about having her. Some good…some bad…some scary.  When she came, I couldn’t have loved her anymore. It took me a while to really feel connected with her, I won’t lie. I loved her so much, but it was different. Once we settled in, and things become routine, my love for her just exploded and now I cannot imagine living without her. It does hurt to know that Kenley should be here, and be older than her, but at the same time it’s so hard to think that way because Alden wouldn’t be here if Kenley was here. I hate even allowing my brain to think that way. It’s not fair. It shouldn’t be one or the other– it should be BOTH. Or better yet, ALL.

Alden and Landon’s interactions make my heart burst. It is so amazing to see Landon be a brother to her. He is amazing, and loves her so much. He loves Alden fiercely; I can see the protection in his eyes when he is with her. And he also loves Kenley, albeit differently. That makes my Momma heart proud. Having two children at home was different. Having all things compounded with grief, and fatigue was super hard. But, Landon went to first grade and Alden watched him get on the bus every day. When she could talk, she would scream “bubby” as he left in the mornings. She is a PERFECT baby. She sleeps so well, she is so fun, she entertains herself when needed, and she is my little bestie.

When we found out we were expecting Rowan it was SO different. We were done after Alden. We weren’t expecting to have another baby let alone so quickly after Alden arrived. Alden was barely 4 months old when I found out I was expecting Rowan. Cue fear. I was done being stressed out and worried but now I had no choice but to go through it all again. Once Rowan arrived it was the same course of emotions I experienced with Alden; fear, fatigue, and tons of grief and guilt. I didn’t feel connected to her just like with Alden, and I feared it was far worse that with Alden because she was a “surprise” (for lack of better words). As we all fell back into a routine, now with 3 living children at home, my feelings towards Rowan changed. Now, once again, I couldn’t imagine my life without her. She is growing into this little person and it’s so much fun to witness.

Having 2 under 2 is rough. SUPER ROUGH. I’m tired, I’m always covered in puke, or food. I pee with the door open, and as fast as I can because undoubtedly someone will cry, or Alden will come running into the bathroom with cold (sometimes wet?) hands and smack my legs while I sit there. SAH momming is NOT pretty. I don’t wear makeup, I don’t change out of my pjs usually.  I never have a second to sit down and just breathe. I found the time to write this today because the girls are napping and I made Landon go do something and give me space. Not because I don’t love him and want to be around him, but because I am a person too, and I deserve a free second. I work extremely hard every second of every day and I need “me” time. Having the babies is a lot of work. I am always changing a diaper or feeding someone it feels like (and that person being fed is never me!) . Landon is home for the summer, and in ways it’s super helpful but in some other ways it’s so much worse because he needs attention on top of the girls, and trying to find time to include him is kind of impossible.

I explain to him that the girls NEED me, he is able to take care of himself, and that I need him to help me out, but I know that he feels left out a lot. It’s hard. It makes my heart feel guilty. The days when I have a bad day (emotionally) are the worst. Everything seems 1000x harder, and I feel like I snap and yell a lot. It’s a work in progress, this life with 3 living kids. I’m trying the best I can, but I cannot help but feel like I lose myself a lot.

I am a Mother of 4 children, and a lot of times that is all that people see. Heck, they technically only see me being a Mother to 3 children, and they miss this HUGE part of my life. I feel like my life is an Onion; I have a trillion layers and some of them will make you cry. Finding time to include Kenley, and remember her is super difficult with 3 living kids, too. I feel guilt over not being able to spend time with her daily. I see that she is showing me she is with us in certain ways though. For example, I always tend to look at the clock on the “32” minute of whatever hour it is. It’s weird! She was born at 10:32 pm and I don’t know why it happens, but it just does. And if it’s just a completely random thing that happens, fine, but I NEED to think it’s a sign because it makes me feel close to her.

Being a mom is rough. Being a stay at home mom is rough. Being a stay at home mom, to 4 kids one of whom died before you got to know her is sad and rough.

But, somehow, it’s also the greatest thing I’ve ever done and I am proud of myself that I am able to hold my shit together to raise these little loves we created.

I can only dream about having them all here…

Someday we will all be together again. I look forward to that day–whenever and wherever it may be.

Update: Kenley’s Care Packages

I was just going over the items that have been sent so far for our project and I just need to share with everyone because I am amazed by the generosity of the people involved!

So far we have-

We also have 12 packs of tissues, all the pens requested, and all of the journals requested. The candles are being donated by Aggies on Main again! I cannot wait to get them because they smell so amazing. I know that they were able to bring some comfort to the parents who lost their babies last year and early this year.

Our gofundme has raised $580 as well! This money is going toward the book “You are the Mother of all Mothers”. 40 of these books are nearly $500. This book was so beneficial for me when Kenley died; it showed me that I was not alone in all of my deep dark feelings. I also will have some money left over to put toward some relaxing hand lotion for the care packages.

I am so excited to keep moving forward with this project! It makes my heart smile when the mail lady brings packages every day! She probably hates me — Job Security, though, amiright!? 

Thank you for all your help! 

Care Packages.

After Kenley died I knew that I wanted to do something in her honor for the Hospital where she was born. I didn’t know what; nothing felt right to be honest. We ended up donating 2 large photos and they are placed in the room where she was born- 3E11-, and the room next door. I didn’t think that was enough, and still didn’t feel right. What could I do to make her name mean something to other people?

Care packages. 

I was given a book and a rubber bracelet when Kenley was born still. I wear the bracelet every single day, as does Shane. I haven’t taken it off once since I put it on; I had it on the day Alden was born. I thought for a while about what would be good to put in the bags. I came up with a list of items that I knew would have really helped me had I received them at the time of her death.

  • good quality tissues (my nose was bloody & raw from the hospitals)
  • relaxing lotion
  • a candle to light in honor of your baby
  • two books that helped me in my early grief
  • a note pad and pen to jot down information
  • chapstick
  • forget me not seeds to plant in honor of your baby

Last year, we donated 20 bags in Kenley’s name. We also donated some crocheted hats, and sleepers for the babies who are born still.

I was contacted by the Hospital and told all bags had all been used within 6 months. Twenty babies born sleeping  within 6 months in my town. How? How is this still happening? I know that it’s never NOT going to happen, at least not in my life time, but it’s just mind boggling that in 2017 babies still die. The fact that these babies don’t even get a chance is what hurts the most.

This year, in honor of Kenley, we have chosen to donate 40 bags to the Hospital system. We are also going to donate 40 girl sleepers, 40 boy sleepers, and 40 books for the parents to give to the siblings (if needed). This is going to be a huge undertaking, and I’m looking forward to organizing it again this year! I’m starting things early that way there is plenty of time to organize the creation of all bags, and make sure things fall into place.

Last year, tons of people reached out to me and asked what they could do for Kenley’s birthday. I chose to have people take photos of her name and send them to me. I then printed them out and have them in a collage in my home. It was so healing to see her name written in all kinds of places, in all kinds of ways.

This year, I’m asking for people to donate to her care packages. 

I’ve made an Amazon wish list as well if people would rather purchase items instead of donating money to the *gofundme account we made for donations.

I’m planning to post this information in a separate page at the top of my blog so it’s accessible all the time and you won’t have to go fishing through old posts to find the information. It’s extremely hard for us to “shop” for things that will go to grieving parents, but I don’t know anyone better to help other grieving parents than another grieving parent. It broke my heart to add all of these sleepers to the wish list knowing that they will be given to babies who didn’t get to spend time with their parents how they should. I wish that they could be worn while the child is laying in their parents arms, staring into their eyes full of joy and a future, instead of the parents staring at all they lost in their child.

I hope that you will consider taking a peek at the Amazon wish list to see what we plan to donate!  (Please view the entire list as Amazon makes it impossible to set default priority settings, or simply sort by priority)

You can find our gofundme page here.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like to donate something than what is on the list, or have any questions what so ever! Any help or donation is appreciated SO very much!

**ALL DONATIONS WILL GO TOWARD CARE PACKAGES.**

sometimes. 

Some days there are no words that come to my head when I think about describing how sad I am without my middle child. 

Sad? Understatement.  

Lonely? Always. 

Guilty? Yep. 

Ashamed? Yes. 

Depressed? Absolutely. 

Anxious? 100%.

There have been conversations lately that revolve around my newest child and make no mention of Kenley. I want my life with Alden to move forward; I don’t want to live one second without her sweet face in my life. I just want people to remember Kenley, too.  

I often wonder if people think about her as much as I do? Do certain things that they do, or things that happen to them remind them of her? Are certain situations reminders of the sweet baby girl we lost? 

Do they wonder what she would look like now, or what she would be doing? 

Do they wake up each morning with her near the front of their minds like they did for so long? 

I doubt it. 

And I cannot blame them- life continues to move forward and my life in the “after” includes Alden. It IS Alden. It’s incredibly hard to explain, and this is a very random post so don’t try to make heads or tails of it- I just needed to put this down somewhere. 

The 4th was rough. Alden enjoyed the parade and I found myself getting choked up quite frequently. I mentioned to Shane that I was getting upset and he comforted me. He is amazing and I am so thankful for him. I ended up leaving him there with Alden so I could step away and break down. 

It was too much. 

A parade. 

I was brought to tears by a fucking parade. 

All because my daughter is dead. 

It is not fair that everything is so hard for a parent who has lost a child. 

It’s so unfair. 


Fourth. 

This Holiday sucks for a lot of my loss mom friends. 

For me, I have a very strong dislike as well. It makes me so mad that loss has stolen this holiday from me as well. I LOVED the 4th before. It was my favorite holiday for reasons unknown; It just was

I remember being 4 months pregnant with Kenley in July 2015 and going to the lake to watch fireworks with Shane’s family. My sister in law gave me Kenley’s first gift- a 6 month outfit for next July 4th. It was adorable. SO CUTE. and I just had all these visions of her wearing this outfit, and sitting up, eating little puffs while sitting on a blanket under a tree with me. 

But, that never happened. She never even got to see this outfit, or fireworks. 

After she died, this outfit hung in her closet, mocking me. Just staring at me, trying to convince me that I’m a bad mom and Kenley’s death was my fault. I know that sounds crazy, but these are the things people don’t talk about. Shit like that ACTUALLY happens. 

This year, it’s still there. Alden can fit into 6 month clothes- they’re a little big but they fit.

 The Fourth of July outfit is 6 month. 

I looked at it. 

I took it off the hanger and washed it. 

I just hung it back up in the closet- on Alden’s side. 

Alden will be wearing it this holiday- in honor of Kenley. 

No one.

As I reached into the back of my spice cabinet and felt them, I knew what they were. The numbers 3 & 0. They were my birthday candles; hot pink, and glittery on tiny little toothpicks. They were my favorite candles, and they were from my favorite birthday- My 30th. I was finally pregnant after all of our infertility treatments, and I was so happy. Shane and Landon went together to buy me a birthday present. They bought me a past present future ring that I’ve worn on my right ring finger ever since.

This is the only gift I have “from” Kenley. When I opened the gift, I imagined giving it to her when she was older, maybe on her high school graduation day. Maybe on her wedding day; it could be her something old. People don’t prepare you for these things.

No one ever tells you what happens after.

After the initial shock wears off.

After you wake up for consecutive days without the baby you carried for 9 months.

After you can so sadly say “I’m a survivor of child loss”.

No one ever tells you that every day is a fight; to get out of bed, to not fall apart every second of every day, to feel normal- whatever that new normal may be. No one ever tells you that you will feel like your body failed you; that you will hate yourself for what your body did to your child. You never hear about the judgement you will face, like you’re damaged goods, and now you’re less of a Mother because your child is dead. No one tells you that you will constantly replay the moments over and over in your head, no matter how hard you try to block them out; your memories become your nightmares.

No one tells you that somehow you make it through. Somehow you are still alive. Somehow you are still breathing, but you are not the same person as before. You will never be that person; that person died with the child you lost.

That person no longer exists.

I don’t know that I would have believed anyone, during the early days of grief, had they told me that eventually you just learn how to survive. Surviving doesn’t mean that things get easier; honestly, things get more complicated and weird as time goes on. Surviving doesn’t mean that you forgot, or ever will forget the child you lost, or that this child is any less loved than they were the moment you found out of their existence.

Surviving means that the love you have for that child transcends time and space.

Surviving means you are keeping the memory of your child alive.

Every day that I survive on this earth, is one day closer to my Daughter. 

face. 

Most days (now) I wake up and feel like I’ve lived a really bad dream for the past (almost) 18 months. It just doesn’t seem like this can be MY life. This type of stuff happens to other people, not to me. Not to my family; we had already faced so much when we found out Kenley died. How could we be dealt this hand, too? Why me? Why Shane? Why Landon? But most of all, why Kenley? My sweet girl. My innocent little baby…what did she do to deserve this? 

I often think of her, and what she would be doing these days. I find myself looking at her photo while feeding Alden. Staring at her, staring at both of them, hoping to see a similarity that I can cling to in my living child’s face. I usually come up empty handed. Alden is her own person, and I know that, but I wish I could see Kenley in her. 

People have asked me if I’ve called Alden by Kenley’s name. I haven’t yet, but it is only because I consciously tell myself that it is not her name. Every time I speak Alden’s name, Kenley’s name comes to my lips first. Always. I’m pretty sure this is normal, and I’m also sure it will be a life long battle in some capacity. 

I know that as Alden becomes her own person I will be able to separate them more. I only knew Kenley inside of me, and outside, even though she had passed away, for a few hours. I won’t ever really know her, because I already know all there is to know about her. I know the foods she liked, and the music she liked. 

She loved Mexican food, and Ceasar Salad from Panera Bread. 

She loved Christmas music. 

But, I will never know her favorite color, or if she would have been tall like me. What color eyes would she have had at Landon’s age? These are things I will always have to wonder about. I will get to see Alden become her own person, and every single day I am so thankful for that, but you know what? It still stings. I am not ok. I am not “better” because she is here; I am different, sure, but not better. My life will never be “better”- I’ve lost a child and that is something you cannot replace. 

Alden does not take Kenley’s place in my life or in our family. 

I read a quote the other day that said “I think hell is something you carry around with you, not somewhere you go”.  

This rings so true with me. No matter the happiness I feel, no matter the joy and light that Alden brings to me, or the length of time that passes since Kenley’s birth, the scars of going through the deepest darkest  hell are still going to be there. I will be carrying the aftermath, my new life, the “hell”,  with me forever. 

Forever. 

This is my life, forever. Nothing can ever change that. Nothing can bring Kenley back, so this is it. 

I am the parent of a dead child. 

Forever

husband. 

Dear Shane, 

I know you don’t read this, but maybe someday you will. 

I want to tell you how much I love you. 

I want you to know how special it is to me to watch you lay your head on my belly and talk to your second daughter. 

It almost brings me to tears to hear you laugh when she kicks you in the hand or the side of the head randomly. 

She loves you, and so do I. 

You worked super early the past two days, yet you are having a sleep over with Landon…on his floor… telling ghost stories way past his bedtime because he asked you to. 

You’re an amazing Father. 

You’re an amazing Husband. 

I cannot wait to see you hold Alden, and to see the love in your eyes. 

I love you more than you will ever know. 

Love you always, 

Your best friend

the first year without you.

It finally came…Kenley’s first birthday.

The days that followed Halloween were brutal. It was like the Holidays were taunting me. I knew where we were at each moment in time last year (How far I was at Thanksgiving/how many days until she was born etc etc…) and so going through each day up until her birthday was really rough. When we went to get our Christmas tree this year, the place we normally go closed before we could get there (Landon started Kindergarten so we didn’t have enough time to get there after he got off school). We had to go to a new place; It was nice, but far less exciting than our normal place.

It felt good to do something different than we had the year before, though– the year when Kenley was safely tucked inside of me, growing and thriving like she should have been. When we put up the tree, I was overcome with intense grief. I cried, and I cried hard. No, let me rephrase that, I sobbed. That deep sob, you know? The one that you have no real idea where it comes from except you know deep down that it comes from a place of pain that no human being should ever have to feel.

Having to put an ornament on my tree in memory of my daughter, instead of having her there to clumsily hang hers (read: tear down the lights/tree/decor) was extremely hard. I was transported back to the Hospital when they told me she wasn’t alive anymore. I felt THAT level of sadness. It wasn’t just that she wasn’t here anymore, it was also the fact that she would NEVER be here. Maybe a realization occurred? I’m not sure.

She will never be able to hang an ornament, instead, for the rest of my life, I will be hanging her memorial ornaments. Do I buy a new one each year? Do I only hang the one that I bought specifically for her? How does a mother handle Christmas decorations when one of her children is no longer with her? There isn’t a guide for how to handle these types of things.

I avoided Christmas music VERY well this year; I think I listened to it maybe 2 times? I’m pretty happy about that, to be honest. I started listening to Christmas music the day after Halloween in 2015 and soon found out that Kenley loved it. She would dance around while it played. Avoidance was my only coping mechanism re: xmas music this year.

Every Christmas Eve, we go to Shane’s family’s get together. We went last year, and I was about to burst- 38 weeks exactly. It was SUCH a great day. I remember people giving us gifts for Kenley, telling me they were so excited for her to get here, asking how I was feeling/how things were going/next doctors appt/squeeing that her C-section date was literally a week away.  A week. Like…ouch. It still stings so deep when I think of that. It stings extra bad when I remember that I asked to have a c-section at 38 weeks 1 day- the day after Christmas- and my doctors told me no. It stings really badly when I remember that the day after Christmas last year I called my obgyn and told them I was having contractions that were able to be timed pretty close together, but the OB thought I “sounded ok”, and advised me that she didn’t think I needed to be seen, but if it made me feel better that I could go.

What kind of bullshit doctor says that? “You sound ok”. Oh good, I’m glad you can register what is happening inside my uterus by the tone of my voice. And for someone to pretty much patronize me by saying “if it makes you feel better, you can go in”, is just something that I will never EVER be able to live down. I hope that this Doctor feels extreme regret for not telling me to go to L&D that night, because who knows what could have been done…

Anyway, this year I didn’t want to go to the annual Christmas Eve get together…but I went for my Landon. I know he needed things to feel as normal as possible. When we got there, I lost it. People hugged us, and I just couldn’t handle it. It was like everything from last year just washed over me. All in all it ended up being a decent night, and I am thankful we went. Landon had an incredible time, and that is what really counts.

Christmas morning wasn’t too bad for me either. I’m not sure why…Maybe it’s because Landon’s joy just overshadowed my sorrow. Seeing him smile is the greatest gift to me, and hearing how excited he was about all of the gifts that Santa got him really really made me genuinely happy. And also, maybe I was actively blocking my feelings out; not thinking that I should have two children on Christmas morning. I should have a little girl crawling all over and being amazing. I’m pretty sure it was 50/50 (ok …70/30).

As the days ticked down to her birthday, I could feel my anxiety ramping up. The plan was to have immediate family over, have lunch, a cake, and a balloon release. I had been talking with Shane for a few weeks about what he wanted to do to “celebrate” (side note- I hate this term. I hate it so much. I’m not celebrating her birthday, for fucks sake, she’s not here. I’m mourning her, and all the things I lost when she died) her day. He’s pretty easy going so he ultimately said “whatever you wanna do”, which I sometimes hate. So, the day before he admits to me that he was surprised I wanted to have people over, and thought it would be nice to just have him, myself and Landon together on the day.

Ugh.

I told him that he needs to tell me these things when I’m asking him for a few weeks at a time. It was too late to cancel everything, and we ended up going forward with my plans. At the end of the night when everyone left, he hugged me tight, told me he was so happy we went through with it and that he had a really nice day. I’m so thankful that I can trust my gut sometimes, and strong arm him into things that I know are ultimately better for us.

We had a christmas gift exchange with my Dad and Sister before everyone showed up at 2 for the “party”. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do this, as it felt like it was taking away from her, but ultimately I’m glad we did. Then, around 2, Shane’s family showed up. We all just kind of hung out for a little bit, then had lunch. We ate, and decided that we would do the balloon release. Everyone wrote or drew on their balloons (only popped 2!) and then we made our way outside. It was extremely windy, but so clear. Landon counted to 3, and we all let them go. It felt good to watch them float away. I kept my message short and simple. She knows how much I love her, so my balloon was just a small reminder of that.



After, we came inside, and had cake and ice cream. My sister brought a flower arrangement that is so beautiful and reminds me of Kenley in so many ways. My mom bought her a gift which I love. It’s a stuffed fox with a tutu on it, and I plan to keep it in her memory box. A wonderful friend sent over birthday balloons.


After all the commotion was done, we just hung out and talked for a bit. Slowly people started to leave one by one.

All throughout the day I was getting texts from people all over letting me know that she was on their minds, and that she was missed. I woke up to a specific Instagram tag from a woman who lost her son last year about a week or two before we lost Kenley. I don’t know what specifically about her words struck a chord with me, but it sort of set my tone for the day. I think it was what I was meant to see on the morning of her first birthday.


The love and support from everyone really made the day better- not easier by any means- just better.

I missed her more than I could ever explain to anyone, yet, I was so thankful there were so many people thinking of her and our family. Knowing she was and is so loved on her birthday, even after all this time, made my heart heal a little, I think.

I want to thank every single person who got in contact with me somehow yesterday. Your love and support means the world to us, and I believe it is what helped us through yesterday with a little less pain than I expected.

Our lives will never be the same, and I wouldn’t ever want them to be. If they were, I wouldn’t know my sweet girl’s face. I wouldn’t have ever known her hair color, or how her lips looked just like her brothers. I wouldn’t trade her for the world.

I am her Mother; she chose me to be that for her. It’s all that I can do to love her like she deserves, and honor her memory like she deserves.

I love you my sweet girl. Happy First Birthday.

I will hold space in my heart for you until I can hold you in my arms again.