This blog is an uncensored look into my soul. I am writing this as part of my healing process, but am leaving it public so others can follow me through my journey.

If you'd like to start from the beginning, click on the beautiful, adorable picture of Hailey on the right hand column.

You can also email me at: haileyshalo@yahoo.com

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas - It's a Boy!

I am happy to report that Christmas this year went much better than last year!  I'm not going to go as far as saying it was easy or my heart didn't ache like crazy, but it was actually bearable this time.  Partially because of our big announcement to my family: The little angel Hailey has sent us is a BOY!!!  (I'll give more details and my feelings on this little bundle of joy in my next post.)

As for Christmas, I think the anticipation was much, much worse than the actual day.  I just kept thinking of how ridiculously heart wrenching and excruciatingly painful last year was, which caused me to be terrified for this year.  I remember sleeping for 5 hours that day, while the rest of my family took care of my girls.  Then, that evening laying in a ball on my bathroom floor and crying so hard I got a bloody nose.  But, this year, now that all is said and done, I must say I'm a little proud of myself and how far I've come!  Yes, it hurt.  And yes, I wondered all day about Hailey and how she would have fit into the mix had she been here.  And yes, I missed her like absolute crazy.  But, no, not in a hopeless, depressing way.  Instead, I felt hopeful and a sense of peace in my heart for my little angel.

I decided to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, which is the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and what that really means for Hailey and my family.  Because of such a profound event, one like none other, Hailey and I will be back together again one day in total happiness.  Not to mention, that I'm sure her Christmas was much more "beau'ful" than I could even begin to imagine from here.  I know, literally without a shadow of a doubt, that she still lives and is happier in Heaven than she could ever be here on the Earth.  Not that it always makes it easy on me or that I'm completely okay with it, but that knowledge will do for now. 

Last night, on Christmas Eve, we brought down our life sized cardboard cutout of Hailey and sat it in a chair in our living room.  Of course, that may seem very weird, or even crazy, to some people, but it really brought a huge sense of peace to me. Last year, I couldn't even look at it of without being reduced to sobs, but this year it made me smile!  I honestly felt like she was right there with us, which I know she was.  And she will continue to sit with us every Christmas from now until we meet again!  I know that when the day comes that I'll get to see her and hold her in my arms, she'll remember every Christmas we had since she was gone, because she really never was gone!    

We still include Hailey in all of our family things.  For example, our yearly ornament exchange; every year we each pick a family member, in secret, and buy them an ornament representing something from that year.  Well, we do still include Hailey in that exchange, and always will.  I want her to have her own ornaments and continue to be represented on our tree, as we all are.  We also take whatever money we would have used to buy her Christmas gifts and donate it to our foundation in her honor.

Of course, we went to visit her today at her place and it was absolutely "beau'ful.  The cemetery couldn't have been more peaceful and beautifully decorated.  Not to mention, all the wonderful people who stopped by and dropped off little tokens and notes of love!  It made my day to think that others would take the time to remember her and us on such a special day.  I also found a dime there!!  As most of you know, we just got over having 5 straight days of torrential rains, which basically destroyed her place.  I still stopped by every day or two to clean up what I could, even though it was raining.  We always had 2 loose dimes, tails up, laying on her headstone that someone had left there while visiting.  Well, after the rains they were long gone and no where to be found.  I was there yesterday and dug all around her stone, cleaned up all the leaves, wiped all her little knickknacks off and polished her stone to perfection!  Then I left a huge bouquet of flowers and an adorable Santa and reindeer balloon.  Well, today when we came back to visit, I walked over to her stone and sure enough there was a dime, half buried in the dirt, by the upper corner of her stone.  She was there...I know it!

Anyways, thank you all so very much for your supportive words, emails, texts, phone calls, letters, and silent prayers.  Each one made an impression on my heart and helped me to have a "beau'ful" day!

Merry Christmas! 

Hailey with us on Christmas.

Hailey is sending us a little boy!

Hailey's Place decorated with love.

Merry Christmas Sweet Angel
Can you see the tiny dime in the upper right hand corner of her stone?

It looks like she's happy with her decorations! 
 (Her Christmas tree even has solar powered lights that come on at night!)

We miss you baby girl.
 

Lexi with her little sister.

Grammies and Grampies

Auntie Kim

My dime!!!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Feeling A Little Uneasy

Normally I would be asleep by now, but not tonight.  It's 12:01am to be exact, and my heart is full of longing for my little Hailey.  Christmas is only 3 days away and I'm missing her and aching for her more and more each day.  As much as I want to think this Christmas is going to be easier than last, I have to admit that I'm feeling very uneasy about it.  Every time I think of last year my stomach does somersaults and my heart aches.  It was definitely the most excruciating day of my entire life, aside from the actual day Hailey passed away. 


Although, I don't outwardly show it, I am still carrying a lot of pain and heartache with me every single second of every single day.  Having both girls home this past week and all next week leads me to constantly wonder where Hailey would have fit into the mix.  What would we all be doing together?  Would Hailey and Lexi actually be getting along and playing together, instead of Lexi playing by herself?  I was home with Hailey all day everyday for three years, which means that I face her loss all day, everyday now.  Sometimes its hardest when Lexi is at school and Ava is napping and its just me alone, yet other times its hardest when we're all together as a family and she's missing.


I'm trying so hard to stay positive and focus on the good things about this year.  Thanksgiving went very well, better than I had expected.  And the fact that we were just able to help five other families in need with donations given to us in Hailey's honor is definitely uplifting, not to mention, this new little baby on the way.  But, even those things don't come close to taking away that emptiness I feel inside for Hailey.  


Christmas shopping was very difficult for me.  As I made out lists of what to get the girls and then walked the aisles of the stores, I couldn't help but look around and wonder what Hailey would have wanted.  What would have brought her beautiful smile out on Christmas morning?  


I absolutely hate the fact that I have to spend another Christmas (the rest of my Christmases) without her here.  I absolutely hate the fact that I didn't get to see her sit on Santa's lap excitedly telling him what she wants.  I absolutely hate the fact that I don't get to tuck her into her warm bed in her new p.j.'s on Christmas eve and kiss her little head as she is bouncing with anticipation for the following morning.  I absolutely hate the fact that I don't get to watch her face light up as she races down the stairs on Christmas morning to open her presents.  And I absolutely hate the fact that I have to go visit my precious daughter at the cemetery on Christmas.


Gosh, I hate to be a downer so close to Christmas, but it's rough.  There's so much joy and excitement around during the holidays and I'm trying my best to take that in and remember all the things I still have to be grateful for.  I love my family so much and I am thrilled to be able to spend Christmas with them!  I still have two beautiful girls here and a new baby on the way!  And my husband is the most wonderful, supportive man I could ask for!  Plus, I still have so much support from all of you who continue to stand beside me and walk this journey with me.  Thank you for that.


Anyways, the anticipation and uneasiness of Christmas Eve and Day is practically killing me, so I just needed to get it off my chest.  I'm praying my little heart out that it will be a little easier than last year and I won't have another emotional breakdown like I did then.  But, I am nervous.  


The one thing that has given me just a little comfort here and there is a poem I posted last year around Christmas that I'll share in closing:


Christmas In Heaven

I see so many Christmas trees
around the world below.

 With tiny lights like Heaven's stars
reflecting on the snow.

 The sight is so spectacular!
Please wipe away that tear.

For I am spending Christmas,
with Jesus Christ this year!

I hear the many Christmas songs, 
that people hold so dear.

But the sounds of music can't compare,
with the Christmas choir here.

I have no words to tell you
the joy their voices bring.

 For it's beyond description
to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me.
I see pain in your heart.

And even though I'm far away,
we really aren't apart.

So be happy for me special one.
You know I hold you dear.

Be glad I'm spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year!

I'm sending you a special gift
from my heavenly home above.

I send you each a memory
of my undying love.

Please don't forget "love" is the gift
more precious than all gold.

It was always most important
in the stories God has told.

Please love and treat each other
As God has said to do.

For I cannot count the blessings
or the love He's sent for you.

So have a Merry Christmas
and wipe away that tear.

Remember that I'm spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Five Hailey's Halos Given Out!!!

Well tonight we gave out 5 more "Hailey's Halos!"  What a beautiful way to start a Christmas week, that would otherwise be quite difficult.  First, before I tell you about the families, I want to extend a special thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who have helped to make these opportunities possible.  We could never do this on our own.  It is all because of your generous donations, participation in Hailey's race, support, and prayers that we have been able to touch these peoples lives.  May God bless you and your families for your continued love and compassion in honor of our precious Hailey.

(I am going to keep the names of these families anonymous for their own privacy, however they have all agreed to share their stories and pictures on Hailey's Foundation website!  You can find the link on the right hand side of my blog.)

The first family we "haloed" has 4 children.  Their second child is a 5 year old little girl who found out 2 weeks after her 5th birthday that she had bone cancer in one of her legs.  Although the doctors ended up having to amputate her leg, she has been an amazing inspiration to her family.  Her spirit has not wavered and her mom even said that she's been trying to do cartwheels.  We happened to call at the perfect time because they currently have a leak in their house that desperately needs to be fixed, but they couldn't afford it due to medical expenses.  It was such an honor to be able to give them some money to help out and also acknowledge their faith and strength!  They were so grateful and will hopefully have a wonderful Christmas!

The second halo was given to a single mom who has a daughter with Trisomy 18.  Apparently, she was not supposed to survive past the age of 1, but is still living and thriving at the age of 5.  She was nominated by her daughter's paternal grandmother because her son (the father of the little girl) has chosen to walk away from the situation.  This grandmother continues to support her grandson and his mother in the best way she can, but unfortunately they are both dealing with some major financial struggles.  The mother was devastated that she couldn't afford to give her precious child a Christmas.  She was so thrilled and grateful to have received this Halo!!

The third family has a child who has many health struggles.  He was in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy for three hours a week until their insurance copay became beyond what they could afford.  This situation is one that's dear to my heart because Hailey was in 5 hours of therapy a week, which drastically changed her life and gave her the ability to do so many things she would have struggled with.  Unfortunately, this precious little boy hasn't been to therapy is several months now due to the financial strain it has put on the family.  They were so surprised and honored to have been nominated and chosen to receive a halo!

Next on our list was a little girl, age 2, with brain cancer.  Unfortunately, the type of cancer she has is wrapped around her brain stem, inoperable, and incurable.  The doctor told her family there was nothing more they could do and that they should go home and enjoy every moment with their little girl.  As her mother started researching the cancer online, she found a doctor in Texas that does alternative medicine and was able to cure several children of "incurable" cancer.  Of course, insurance didn't pay a dime of it, so the family pooled together everything they had and ventured forward in the journey.  As of now, their daughter is symptom free!!!  Their one dream is to take her to Disneyland, which they posted on their blog.  When we talked to the mother she was telling us how she just put the entire trip on her credit card and was going to deal with it later.  Well, later actually came sooner because we were able to help her pay that trip off and make her dream come true!! She just cried and thanked us over and over.   It was such a beautiful experience. 

Our last halo was to a family who had a son born 70 days early.  He was still in the NICU fighting for his life when they were nominated, but upon talking with the family we learned that he passed away a few days ago.  This was a tough call because the emotions were still so painful and raw.  They originally said they felt that they shouldn't accept the donation because their son was no longer here, but of course we insisted.  They were so touched and with tears flowing we were grateful to hopefully give them one tiny moment of joy this Christmas season.

The choice Sean and I made to start this foundation in Hailey's honor has been one of the best decisions we've ever made in our lives.  Although at times its painful, and I wish we never had to take this road, it has also been full of miracles, joys, and healing.  We are so blessed to have such supportive and compassionate people in our lives to help make this foundation a reality.  And again, I'll never say it enough, thank you so much to all of you!!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hailey's Christmas Dress

Last night I went shopping with some of my girlfriends for our monthly "Girl's Night."  As we were browsing through the store I found the most adorable Christmas dress for Ava.  I debated buying it and then decided against it because I hate spending money on clothes that I know will only get worn once or twice, and realistically this dress was one of them.  So I put it back and continue browsing.  

Next thing I know I come across the same exact dress in Lexi's size.  This is rare because Lexi is seven and Ava is two so the style of clothes between those two ages aren't usually the same.  So then I started re-debating buying the dresses because Lexi, even at seven, loves to match Ava.  She's always trying to get me to dress Ava in the same or similar outfit as she's wearing that day.   Anyways, I considered it more (I know...a lot of thought over a dress!) and then thought of Hailey.

The Valentine's Day before Hailey died I looked EVERYWHERE for three matching dresses to get the girls' pictures in, but couldn't find anything.  Eventually I settled on three similar dresses and called it a day.  So I kind of felt that finding three adorable Christmas dresses in the exact sizes I needed for the three girls was almost like a sick joke.  I'll be honest, it hurt.  I didn't expect it to hurt so bad or affect me in such a harsh way, but it did.  I couldn't imagine only buying two of the dresses without one for Hailey, but on the other hand, why would I buy the one for Hailey since she's not here to wear it? I debated if it was crazy to even consider it.  Was I being ridiculous or in major denial?  Was it creepy?  Why did I even have to think about dumb stuff like this?  How unfair.

One of my favorite things in the world was taking pictures of my girls all together, so every time I take a picture of Lexi and Ava it stabs my heart...especially if they were matching.  I know it's something I'm going to have to figure out and accept because I have a lifetime of pictures without Hailey and I can't not take pictures of my other kids because she's not in them.  Anyways, it's just one of those stupid issues that come with losing a child that I'm just going to have to deal with...for the rest of my life.  :(

So, back to the dresses...I ended up buying all three.  I just couldn't bear to only buy two when I have three beautiful girls.  Now came the next debate...What do I do with Hailey's dress?  I was trying to think of a way I could incorporate it into the picture without it seeming too weird, but couldn't come up with anything.  

As I was discussing my ideas and options with my friends, one of them said, "Why don't you find a family in need who can't afford to buy their little girl a special Christmas dress?  Then you could donate it to them in Hailey's honor?"   Ding, Ding, Ding...Jackpot.  I loved the idea!!  This way a wonderful little girl can look "beau'ful, as Hailey would say, and as Hailey is, for Christmas!

So all that being said, or typed, I have no idea how or where to find this little girl.  I asked Hailey to help me and now I'm asking all of you for your help.  If you know of a deserving little girl, who's family cannot afford to buy her a "beau'ful" Christmas dress, please email me at the address on the top of my blog.  If I receive more than one request, I'll put the names in a hat and draw one.  I'm totally willing to send it wherever it needs to go, so it doesn't matter where you live.  The only thing I'm hoping is that the family would be willing to send me a picture of the little girl wearing it, so I can see her smile and think of Hailey, but that's not a requirement!


Wow...such a big fuss over buying a Christmas dress, huh?  But I'm hoping all the fuss will result in a special little girl looking "beau'ful" and having a special Christmas in honor of my little Hailey!


Here's the famous dress.  (It's a size 4)

P.S. I decided to dress Lexi and Ava in their dresses and take their picture at Hailey's Place so she can still be a part of it!

Thanksgiving Weekend and a Really Neat Dime Story

I know I'm a little late for a Thanksgiving post, but I've been meaning to get around to it, so here I am.  This year was quite uneventful (in a good way).  I have to say, that unlike Halloween, it was easier to get through this Thanksgiving than last year's.  I still have so much to be grateful for and I've learned to really focus on those things because you never know when one of them will be taken in an instant.  I've become so aware that no matter how bad life can be or seem, it can definitely always get worse.  So I'm trying to keep gratitude in my heart and enjoy my family the most because everything else is just material things.  I mean, don't get me wrong, they're nice to have, but most can be replaced...people, family, cannot...Ever.


We always go to a little town called Solvang, up near Santa Barbara, each year from the Friday to Sunday after Thanksgiving.  Last year was literally excruciating for me.  I wrote a post about it back then, but haven't gone back to read it.  Actually, I haven't gone back to read any of my posts yet because each and every memory and moment is still much too painful for me to relive...even the positive ones.  The emotions attached are still so strong.  I guess that's why this blog is good for me.  One day I'll be able to go back and relive this journey, but for now, I'm just getting through every "today."  


Anyways, back to Solvang.  Last year I remember walking through all the little shops reminiscing about Hailey and wondering what she would have been doing.  It had only been three months since she had passed away, so as you can imagine the emotions were still very fresh and raw.  It took all I had to keep from breaking down into hysterical sobs at each new Christmas song I heard.  Eventually the pain did become too great and I completely broke down.  I sat outside in the courtyard of our hotel and cried hysterically.  It was tough.  Just writing about the memory makes my eyes well with tears.  


But this year was different.  It was a little easier, which I hate to say or admit because in a lot of ways it scares me.  I'm so torn because I relish those days where the agony isn't so profound because the relief is much needed, but on the other hand, I dread them because I'm so afraid it means I might be "getting over it."  Of course, I'll NEVER get over it, but this is just uncharted territory that I'm not used to dealing with.


So, while in Solvang, of course, I was looking for my dime.  I kept begging Hailey to send me a dime so I knew she was there and was going to continue to join us every year, even if only to drop off that little token of love.  As I walked through the little streets and shops my eyes were crazily scanning the ground the entire time, but to no avail.  So I was pretty bummed, to say the least.  I was also a little worried that maybe she was forgetting about us.


Later in the evening, Sean, my sister, and I decided to check out an Indian Casino down the street.  (Thanks Mom and Dad for babysitting!)   I instantly perked up because I thought if there was anywhere I was bound to find a dime, it was in a casino.  Well, I quickly discovered that technology has also taken over the casino world and no machines took coins.  Seriously?  Not to mention, they had no dime slot machines, only pennies, nickels, and quarters.  Every machine only takes bills and whatever you win comes out in a receipt that you have to cash in...no more jingling of the coins as they all pour out.  My hopes were dashed.  But...knowing Hailey, I should have had a little more faith.  After about a half hour there, Kim went and found a quarter slot machine she wanted to play.  I sat down next to her to watch.  After about 5 minutes I happened to look down and see a white receipt in the bottom of the machine.  I asked her if it was hers and she said it wasn't and that she hadn't even notice it.  So, I picked it up hoping it was someone's million dollar winnings.  Well, it was way better than that!!!  It was for .10!!!  Yes, ten cents...a dime, if you will!  




I couldn't believe it!  What are the odds that we would happen to sit at the one quarter slot with a receipt for 10 cents left there?  My spirits soared and I was thrilled for the rest of the trip.  (Oh, and I didn't cash it in.  I had to keep the proof on that one.)


Way to be creative Hailey!  I love you baby girl.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The aMAYZing Race

Wow!  I don't even know where to begin or how to put this experience into words.  I guess the first thing to say is thank you.  Thank you from the very bottom of my heart to all of you who supported us in this cause.   I have so many good people in my life.  I don't know how I got so lucky in the area, but the Lord has truly blessed me abundantly.  Family, friends, and strangers alike supported us in so many different ways.  Many drove the 6 1/2 hour drive to The Valley of Fire State Park so they could be there personally to run, walk, or volunteer in Hailey's honor.  Then there were those who couldn't physically make it there, but still took the time out of their busy Saturday to show their love and support by walking/running the race from wherever they were!  One of my best friends and her neighbor ran the 5K in 40 degree weather outside of Boston, just so they could be a part of this event and show their support!!!  They even made shirts with Hailey's picture on it!  Getting the text with that picture brought the hugest smile to my face.  Lastly, there were so many of you who sponsored a US troop overseas in Afghanistan.  They also ran at the same time as us from where they were stationed.   The love and support we received has been overwhelming and I'm still having trouble finding the words to truly express my gratitude.


The scenery was absolutely breathtaking, but the terrain these runners had to conquer was not easy...very hilly and windy.  Being at the race was somewhat surreal to me.  We've been talking about it and promoting it for months now, so to see how it all came together was awesome.  The amount of work that went into making this race possible was beyond what I could have even imagined, yet my husband pulled it off, with the help of a very special friend...Thank you Tracy!  There were 368 participants, representing 3 countries and 39 states.  Amongst all those aMAYZing runners, we had a man with a prosthetic leg run the entire marathon.  It was such an emotional moment seeing him cross that finish line with his arms in the air and the look of pride on his face.  There was also a 4-year old little girl...the same age as Hailey would be now...who RAN the entire 5K!  After running, she came up to me and handed me a dime and said, "This is from Hailey."  I was in awe of her. (Oh, and that was her second 5K, by the way!)  The last runner to finish was a woman in her late 60's who also completed the entire marathon!


I have to share a truly aMAYZing experience that I had.  First off, I am so very embarrassed to say that I considered leaving before the race ended.  We had been up since 4:15 in the morning and by then it was after 1:00pm, plus there were only a few more runners out.  I was exhausted, not feeling so great (Don't forget I'm pregnant now!) and had a 6 hour drive home.  I rationalized to myself that not every single person who ran the race was running for Hailey.  This particular race has been going on for many years now, so I knew that some of the runners were regulars.  I figured it wouldn't really matter that much if I left a little early.  (Gosh, I am so humiliated to admit that and feel absolutely horrible and selfish that I even thought that way, but I'm only telling you all this because the rest of the story is too great not to share.)  Well something inside me said that I needed to wait to see every single runner cross that finish line...every single participant was just as important as the next.  So I did. I stayed. And the last lady to finish was the woman in her late 60's who had just completed the entire marathon.  First, I have to say that seeing her cross that finish line brought out such emotion and pride in me.  I wasn't expecting that at all.  Then, something I was expecting even less occurred.  That same lady walked up to me, asked me if I was Hailey's mom, and when I said yes, she took a dime out of her pocket, handed it to me and said, "Here, I ran with this in my pocket for 26.1 miles in honor of your little girl."  (Okay, the tears are flowing right now as I type this.)  I almost fell over.  I couldn't believe it!  I was absolutely speechless at the irony of the entire moment.  Here I was going to selfishly leave before she made it back, thinking she wouldn't really care if I was there or not, and yet she was running with this dime in her pocket the entire time.  Let me just say, that was one of those life changing moments that I will NEVER forget.  That dime holds a special place in my heart and home.


Now, speaking of dimes...I asked Hailey just to send me one dime that day so I knew she was there.  After arriving, Tracy (the wonderful lady in charge of the race) made an announcement to everyone introducing Sean, Lexi, Ava, and I as Hailey's parents.  (That was quite emotional in itself.)  After the announcement, groups of people I have never met before started walking up to me and handing me dimes!  It was so awesome.  She not only sent me one dime...she showered me with them!!!  I love her.  I haven't had a chance to count how much money I received in dimes yet, but I decided to use them to buy something really special to leave at her place as a memento of all those people who supported her and her family.  I'll update you all and post a picture when I decide what to get.


I'm still not sure how much money we raised for Hailey's Foundation, but the one thing I am sure of is that I can't wait to start using it to give out "halos!"  Christmas is the hardest time of the year for me without my little Hailey around, so I think being able to help others with her foundation will definitely bring a lot of joy. (Probably even more to me than those we're helping!)  I will keep you all updated on all the halos we give out so you can see the difference that your hard earned money is making to those special people in need of a little extra love.  Who would have ever imagined that so much good could come from something so tragic. That being said, I want to close by saying, Thank again...thank you, thank you, thank you...for all your continued love and support.  None of this would be possible without all of you. May God bless you and your families for your compassion towards those who are struggling in life.


P.S.  I hope to see you all there next year at the 2nd Annual aMAYZing Race!!!


A few photos:
Our Family

Check out that scenery.


Hailey's two sisters representing her cause.


About to start the race!

Lexi came in first in the Kid's Fun Run!
(Way to represent!  Hailey would be so proud.)


Hailey's flag flew at the finish line.
(It's in the bottom right hand corner.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

It Doesn't Always Get Easier With Time

The title says it all.  I have to say, that in a lot of ways, that for me personally, it has gotten a little harder.  It could have to do with the pregnancy, but honestly, I don't think it's all that.  I'm definitely more emotional and quick to shed tears, but it's the deep rooted pain that seems to be the worst.


I used to always say that I wish I'd cry easier and now that it's happening I'm not so sure I want that.  It's very rare that I cry in front of people, for any reason, but especially Hailey.  I'm not sure why...maybe because I'm afraid if I start I'll never stop.  You know how when you're trying so hard not to cry and someone gives you a hug and it just causes the tear ducts to overflow?...well, maybe that's what I'm so scared of.  Or maybe it's just that I don't want to make the other person uncomfortable.  I mean, honestly, it would make me uncomfortable if I were them.  I've personally experienced losing a child, yet I still don't think I'd know exactly what to say or how to comfort someone else going through it.  So how is someone who's never been there supposed to help comfort the sobbing mess that would be me?  Anyways, I do find myself crying pretty much everyday.  Sometimes at the most random times and things. Sometimes much more than others. 


I just miss her soooooooo much.  Some days it is almost unbearable.  I get so lonely without her, especially when Ava is napping for several hours and I'm home.  The funny thing is that I'm not lonely being "alone," I'm just lonely being without her, if that makes any sense.  Being with other people or keeping busy doesn't help with this kind of loneliness because it's all about her.  I want her.


I think part of the reason I feel so lonely without her and I miss her so much is because it feels like she's slowly slipping away from me.  Not her spirit, but her as a human being.  I knew her as a 3-year old.  I knew her likes and dislikes, the things that excited her, the things that made her yell her cute little head off, etc.  But now, when I think about her I'm lead to wonder who she would be today.  I can't answer any of those above questions for Hailey as she would be today and honestly, that sucks.  It hurts.  I often find myself looking around when we're together as a family and wondering where she would be in the mix.  What would she be doing at that moment?  What would she be saying?  Even, where would she be sitting?  


I know it's not good to dwell on those thoughts and I don't.  But I do think them about a hundred times a day.  It's the not knowing, the wondering that kills me sometimes.  I try to tell myself that there's no point even going there because that Hailey didn't and doesn't exist right now, but really, I dare anyone in my shoes to try not going there!  It's almost impossible.


Anyways, I just had to share all that and get it off my chest.  My faith is still as strong as ever.  Hailey is still spiritually as close as ever...the proof is in the dimes I still find just when I need them!  But the grief and pain is also still as strong as ever.


Maybe even a little stronger sometimes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm Pregnant!

I started documenting my pregnancy journey as soon as I found out, so here it is from the beginning until now! 


Wednesday, September 29th

Oh my gosh, I just found out I'm pregnant!  Sean and I have gone through much thought, prayer, consideration, even heartache to arrive at the decision to try for another baby.  It all came down to us knowing that we would never regret having another baby, but could possibly regret not doing it.  So here we are, no regrets.

When I first saw the positive test I was shocked.  We hadn't expected it to happen so quickly.  Then, I got really excited, only to be overcome with sadness and grief in the same 10 minute period.  All of a sudden it hit me.  I was going to have another baby and Hailey wasn't going to physically be here to celebrate and experience it all with us.  I would never have a complete family photo with all my children.  I would never have a complete picture of all my children together in their Halloween costumes or on Christmas morning or just hanging with the family.  I was moving forward in my life, in a huge way, without Hailey.

I sat on the couch and broke down. It hit like a tons of bricks...so many thoughts and emotions flooding through me like I've never felt before.  I felt guilty, as if I was betraying Hailey for feeling excited.  Yet on the other hand, I felt guilty, and as if I was betraying this new baby for feeling sad and crying.  I was so confused and torn.  As I cried, I then began to worry that something would be wrong with this baby, too.  How was I going to handle that?  I couldn't do it all again.  Hailey was my special girl...in so many ways.  I couldn't go through that with another baby.  I couldn't deal with the worry, uncertainty, highs and then lows, pains and triumphs, heartaches and joys.  My mind was a tornado of thoughts and emotions, some very realistic, while others just plain crazy.

As I sat there in that moment, I heard this voice in my head say, "It's okay Mom.  All will be fine.  I've got it covered."  The voice and impression was so strong...something I literally cannot put into words.  It was absolutely "amayzing!" Well, then I cried even harder...good tears this time.  I knew then that Hailey would be as much a part of this baby's life from Heaven as she would have been from here on Earth.  I'm still not totally thrilled that she won't physically be here, or even close to okay with it, but I have no choice in the matter, so I'll take whatever she'll give us!


Sunday, October 3rd

Yesterday I found out I have a sinus infection and didn't know what to do.  I am in serious pain and feel horrible.  A friend of mine, who's a nurse, told me to call my ob/gyn and tell her the situation.  So, I did.  Of course, I haven't been in to see her yet because it's been less than a week that I've even know I'm pregnant.  She gave me a prescription and told me that she was very confident that it would in no way harm the baby.   She said it was much better to take the medication now before it got worse or I ended up with flu or something else.

One of the reasons I am so uneasy about taking any medication is because Hailey's esophagus defect happened within the first 6-8 weeks of development.  Every single one of her doctor's have assured me that it was nothing that I did to cause it; it was just a fluke thing in the development.  Even so, as her mother, I still wonder if I did something wrong.  So the thought of doing anything that could even remotely cause problems to this baby not only terrifies me, but sickens me.  I asked the doctor if she were me and pregnant and had the history I did with Hailey if she would still take the medication and she assured me that she would.  So, I reluctantly had her call it in.

I didn't pick it up last night because I still wasn't sure of what to do.  This morning, however, I woke up and felt even worse and finally decided to go get it. Sean was completely supportive of my decision to take the medication.  But, on the way to the pharmacy I was still bothered by it and decided to call my sister for some advice or reassurance.  She didn't answer...thanks Kim!  Then I called my parents.  They didn't answer either...nice.  Lastly, I called my nurse friend who originally told me to call the doctor the day before.  Do ya think she answered?  Of course not.  

That's when I realized why no one was answering.  I was seeking reassurance from everyone except the one who knew all and could give it to me right then and there...God.  I knew He would answer!!  So I prayed.  I told Him everything about how I felt and how uneasy I was about this whole medication thing.  I needed to know that it was okay.  I told Him about Hailey and how much I swear I heard her tell me she was watching over this baby and I really wanted to know if that was true. 

So I went to three different stores to get a humidifier filter and my medication.  I paid at two of the three stores with cash...so not me!!  I never have cash.  Anyways, both times I paid with cash, when the cashier handed me back my change a dime dropped and landed tails up!  It was so crazy.  The first time it happened I didn't really think anything of it because everyone drops change sometimes.  However, I'm assuming that Hailey wanted to make sure that I did think something of it because it happened a second time at a different store.  Both times I had a full hand of change, but only one dime dropped and landed tails up!  That was all I needed to know!

It was her I heard the other day and she does have it all covered.  She's going to watch over her baby brother or sister and I don't need to worry.  I love my girl...and the Lord too!  I am so blessed. 


Emotions 


Well I'm sure it has something to do with the pregnancy, but my emotions have been crazy this past couple weeks.  I've been brought to tears at least once a day...sometimes by the most unexpected things.

For instance, the other day I was driving Lexi to school and passed by my neighbor's work building.  He was the one that Hailey absolutely adored.  Now, I drive by his building every single day while taking Lexi to school and never before has it invoked such emotion in me.  I began thinking of the day Hailey died.  He met us there at the emergency room and was giving Hailey a blessing when the doctor called her time of death.  I remember him collapsing in sobs, just as Sean and I did.  He loved her so much, probably as much as possible without being her actual father.  That memory and the thought of how he was there when Sean and I needed him brought tears pouring down my cheeks.  Luckily, Lexi was too busy watching a video to notice.

Then, the other day I had to move some stuff off her little memorial bookcase so the air conditioning people could get some things by.  I was in my room and thought I'd take a quick peek at the guest book from her funeral.  I've never really looked at it before, but didn't think it would be that big of a deal.  Well, big mistake.  It was a big deal.  I was immediately transported, as if in a time machine, back to that day.  It was as if I was reliving it all over again and seeing each of those people, who so graciously came to honor my little girl, for the first time again since she died.  Wow, the emotion and tears were flowing.

Halloween was another one.  I heard the second time around on holidays isn't usually as hard as the first, but in this case that was wrong.  I think last year I was still in total shock.  Halloween had only been 2 months since she passed so I was still numb and probably believing she'd be back soon.  This year, reality was there.  Having to go visit your daughter at her gravesite on Halloween is just plain unfair (and heart wrenching.)  I cried the whole way there, there, and the whole way back.  We had a flag up of her in her Halloween costume the year before she died and she looked so happy!

Anyways, those are just a few of the times I was caught off guard with my emotions.  I think that's the absolute worst thing about grief...it is so darn unpredictable.  As soon as you think you're going to be okay and the hardest parts are over...BAM...it comes up and slaps you across the face all over again, completely unexpectedly.  But on a positive note, the blessings that come from staying close to God and not shunning Him in such times of pain are also much larger than expected.


Sunday, November 7th

Well I'm officially 9 weeks along now, so we decided to announce it to the world.  It was a tough decision.  I wanted to wait a little longer because I had a miscarriage between Lexi and Hailey, so I am still concerned it could happen again.  My excited hubby convinced me that all will be okay, so I did it...I posted in on Facebook.  There's no turning back from there!  :)  I still worry because after all we've been through losing Hailey I'm not sure how I'd handle a miscarriage or all the sorrow and pity that would come from others.  (Not that I wouldn't want the support, but in a lot of ways, I think it would be easier if no one really knew.)  Anyways, it's too late for that now!  

Last week, Sean and I went and had an ultrasound and saw the baby's heartbeat.  The doctor assured us that it was very strong and all looks great, so I'm hoping that's a sign for times to come...all will look great.  As I've gotten used to the idea of having another baby, I've come to feel more excitement.  I'm already dying to know if it's a boy or girl!!

Today at church I was talking to a friend and telling her how I feel like this baby will bring a lot of joy to our home, as well as open the door for more spiritual experiences between our family and Hailey.  This new precious and innocent soul will come into the world just as precious and innocent as her older sister left.  I think they'll have a special bond together and the baby will be very well watched over.  After telling my friend all this, I went into the bathroom and was digging around in my diaper bag (Ava's diaper bag!) for my lip gloss.  Well there on the very bottom was a shiny dime laying tails up!  I was so thrilled!  Hailey is so close to us all the time.  She is "amayzing!"

Anyways, that's the journey so far.  I'll keep you all updated and posted as things move along.   I have to say thank you for all the love, support, and excitement that's been shown in response to the news of our new little one!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Primary Program

Last Sunday was Lexi's Primary Program at church.  For those of you who aren't LDS, primary is basically Sunday school (and a bunch of fun, Gospel based activities) for children ages 3-12.  Once a year they have a Sunday service that is "run" by the children.  Each child gets a part, either a scripture, sentence, thought, talk, song, etc.  

This year Lexi was assigned to give a talk on how Jesus Christ is the Son of God and a God of Miracles.  (I'll attach it below for those who are interested in reading it.)  The day before we got her topic we received a children's video in the mail about how Jesus Christ raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, so we decided to focus on that miracle.  In the end of the talk we (I guess, more me than we) had written a small paragraph about how this miracle was so important to us because Hailey had passed away a year ago and we know that Christ has conquered death and Hailey will rise again one day as Lazarus did.  

Well when Lexi was practicing her talk last week she told me that she didn't want to read the part about Hailey.  Oh man, that hurt.  Of course, I didn't show it to Lexi because it was technically HER talk so it should be how she wanted it.  It took me a while to get over the sting of it and then I realized that when we had written her talk I kind of prodded my own agenda into it.  So, as much as it kind of hurt, I was proud of her for standing up for what she was comfortable with and making her talk, just that, HER talk.  (It's hard for me sometimes to not make "everything" about Hailey.)

I've made a very conscious effort to allow Lexi to grieve as she wants and feels comfortable doing so.  There are times that she doesn't like to talk about Hailey to others, such as in her talk or when I wanted to include a photo of her in our family photo on the first day of school.  Also, sometimes when I visit Hailey, Lexi will want to stay in the car.  I have accepted that and never make her feel guilty about it.  However, there are also times when she openly wants to share her sister with others.  Yesterday, she told me her teacher was teaching them about The Day Of The Dead that is celebrated in Mexico. Lexi asked her if she could bring a picture of Hailey in to share with the class, and bless her teacher's heart, she was happy to allow Lexi to do so!  Inside, I was thrilled that she was remembering her sister.

I guess this is all part of the grieving/learning process.  It's hard enough being a parent as it is, but when you have to parent a child who's been through a trauma (a trauma that you're also dealing with), that puts a whole new spin on things.  I've made it my mission to help Lexi grieve on her terms and within her own comfort zone.  She is a unique individual, as we all are, and needs the freedom to do her own thing, as we all do.

Anyways, back to Sunday's Primary Program.  I thought of Hailey and how she would also have been up there with all the other children giving her little part.  I thought I'd be okay with it because I still had Lexi to watch and be proud of, but ended up being completely caught off guard at how difficult it really was.  

Seeing the class that would have been Hailey's standing along the front (some proudly waving to their parents the whole time) just about ripped my heart right out of my chest.  I couldn't help but imagine her up there fidgeting and giggling and waving and then belting out her little part into the microphone as loud and proud as she could.  Every time the children started to sing, my stomach did somersaults and the tears started to flow.  Luckily, I didn't have any tissues with me so I held back quite a bit as to not make a scene! 

Then when Lexi got up to give her talk, the tears started to flow again.  This time because I was so proud of her and how brave and strong she is.  Hailey would have been in primary with her, yet she goes every week and sees all the other big sisters with their little sisters and she's all alone.  She stood up there and nailed her talk.  She was beautiful.  I can't even put into words how, for a small moment, I so strongly felt Hailey's presence, sitting in the pew right between Sean and me, watching her big sister, with a huge smile of pride on her precious little face, whispering to all her new spirit friends, "That's my big sister!" 

When Lexi was finished and came back to meet us she said, excitedly, to me, "Mom, I saw you crying all those tears of joy!"  Wow...that almost made them flow again.  I would never tell her that most of the tears I cried were full of pain and sorrow for the void of not getting to see both my girls up there together sharing their pure testimonies of Jesus Christ.  But as I thought about it for a minute, Lexi was partially right.  There were a few tears of joy as I thought of the fact that my little girl already knows everything those children were talking and singing about.  She's there!  She's there with her Savior, Jesus Christ, experiencing it all first hand.  Just as she said to her nursery teacher two days before she died, "Teacher, teacher..." To which her teacher replied, "Yes, Hailey?"  And Hailey replied back, "Teacher, me know Jesus."  And yes, yes she does.

The front cover of the program had the most beautiful picture of a little blonde girl tucked into Christ's bosom, just gazing up at him.  His arm was around her and I instantly thought...there's my Hailey.  She is here...she's represented right there on the program.  (I wish I took a picture of it to share.)  The tender mercies of the Lord are so wonderful!

The program...
(Doesn't that totally look like Hailey?)


Lexi's Original Talk
(She excluded the part in italics.)

Last week we got the video Lazarus Lives in the mail.  When I found out my talk was on how Jesus is the Son of God and a God of Miracles we decided to watch it for Family Home Evening.

In the video Jesus said that one day everyone who died will rise again from the grave, but we have to have faith.  Then Jesus’s friend Lazarus dies.  Lazarus’s sister is very sad and tells Jesus that she feels like death is so final and she would never see him again.  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me shall never die.” After Lazarus was dead for 4 days, Jesus came and made him rise from the dead.  It was a true miracle!

Jesus said, “I have done this so you can see that I have power over death.” 

This miracle is very important to me because my little sister passed away last year and I know that one day she will rise again like Lazarus.  I have faith that because Jesus is the Son of God He can perform miracles. 

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.