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.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Very Difficult Week

I’m sitting here at Hailey’s Place typing out this entry. (No they don’t have internet here…yet!) Anyways, I am extremely emotional right now…crying my eyes out as I type this. I’ve probably had more strong days this past year than weak days, but this past week has been quite the opposite. I’m not holding up so well. I don’t really know why I’ve been so much more emotional and sensitive than usual these past few days, but I’m sure it has something to do with Hailey’s one year “Heavenly Birthday” coming up on the 11th.

I seriously cannot even believe it’s been a whole year. I can’t believe I’ve lived an entire year without her here. I feel like the initial pain of her loss is all flooding back in a huge tidal wave. I didn’t think it would be this hard because I survived her birthday so well, but then again, her birthday is supposed to be a happy day, however the day that she died…not so much. It’s excruciating, to be honest. All my individual memories keep popping into my mind, randomly, unexpectedly, and very painfully. I can’t stop crying and I swear, the more I try to hold it in, the worse it is.

Today I went to the dentist, which believe it or not, Hailey loved! Probably because she never officially had an appointment, she just got to see her older sister be tortured while she played in the front office with the awesome staff. I had, however, made her first appointment, which I ended up having to call and cancel after she passed away, not fun. So, you can imagine that being there today wasn’t so easy. Luckily, the staff there is so nice and they knew and loved Hailey, so it makes it slightly easier. I mean seriously though, who would think the loss of your three-year old daughter would even affect you at the dentist! It’s all encompassing and ever consuming.

As I drove to her place today, I took a back road that Hailey and I used to LOVE to drive on. As you know, living in Southern California, there aren’t a lot of winding, nature filled roads. That’s why we love where we live. We’re right at the base of some mountains, so there are tons of back roads with trees (Yep, trees…real trees, not Palm trees, but real trees! Whoo Hoo!) I love to drive this road because it’s considered a nature preserve. It’s covered in Oak trees and there are lots of animals down there. We actually saw a fox crossing the road once! That’s a big deal out here! Anyways, I cried the whole way down it today because I remembered once convincing her to get in the car by telling her we were going to drive home on that road and look for the animals. Well, the whole way home, she kept saying, “Mommy, where animals? Where animals, Mommy?” I felt so bad because we didn’t see any that day. Where was that darn fox when we needed him! I also remember driving that road home the day Hailey died. I kept looking in the rear view mirror at her as she sat in her car seat, happily munching on her “lellow peesh,” watching Hello Kitty on the DVD player. Little did I know how my life was about to change in just a couple short hours. Wow.

I sit here and keep looking up at her smiling face on the flag we placed here and just want to crumble. I want to grab her out of it and hug her and feel her little body and hear her precious little voice say, “Mommy, me love you.” I’m missing her so much right now that my entire body literally aches. I keep looking around at all the other children's stones here and feel each of those parents’ pain as well. Each one of them here have parents, family, and friends who are thinking about them daily, missing them and grieving for them. That’s too much suffering for one place. As you all know, I have a lot of faith, but sometimes not even that can really help with the pain. I guess it’s just something that has to be experienced and felt with such a trial.

Lexi is at Lego Land with a friend today and I miss her almost as much as Hailey right now. It was actually really hard for me to let her go. I am so terrified right now that something is going to happen to her too. I want so badly to keep her home with me for the next week, in my arms, safe and protected. Although, I guess I thought Hailey was safe and protected, too, when she went down for her nap that day. It just goes to show that we really don’t have as much control as we may think we have in our lives, which is why we should try not to take the important things for granted. I also think that’s why it’s so important to have some kind of faith and believe in a higher being that we can trust. I’ll admit that’s the only way I’ve gotten through this and still allow my children to be out of my sight. I know He’s in control and will take care of everything. However, I wish sometimes He’d discuss some of His decisions with me first.

Last night I was writing Hailey a letter (I still do that a lot.) and started crying. Lexi walked into my room and said, “Mom, do you need a hug?” And yes, I did. I think I hugged her tighter than ever. At that moment, I felt like she was the mom and I was the child as I sobbed in her precious little arms. I don’t cry around her very often because she’s very sensitive to me and really worries about me a lot, but every once in a while I will, just so she knows it’s okay to cry and that I still miss her little sister with all my heart. 

After a few minutes we started getting her ready for bed. We’ve started this little ritual where I rub her feet and tell her stories about Hailey up in Heaven. (For those of you who know me well…YES, I actually touch her feet. That just goes to show you how much I love my kids! ) Anyways, I wasn’t sure if I was emotionally strong enough to tell her a story right then, but she begged me, so of course, I relented. Part of the story went like this, “Hailey was having a blast in Heaven and felt so free and happy. She loved stopping by and visiting her family all the time! But one day, she looked out her little Heavenly window and saw her mommy crying and didn’t know what to do. She wanted so badly to be able to give her a hug, but her arms would go right through her! (Lexi laughed at that!) So she decided to go whisper into Lexi’s ear to go upstairs and give her mommy a hug. Lexi didn’t know that the feeling she had to come check on me was from Hailey, but she did it anyways. Sure enough, I needed that hug. Hailey was so excited that she was able to whisper things into Lexi’s ear and actually make her do them! So now she is making a list of all the things she wants to make Lexi do by whispering into her ear!” Lexi LOVED it and laughed as she wondered what Hailey would tell her to do next! 

As it turns out, I got that idea from the book, The Message, which is based on a true story of a man who visited Heaven and was able to come back. I truly know in my heart that the story is true because of the miracles and memories he had of watching his family when he came out of his coma. Anyways, in the book he talks about how our loved ones are always around us and whispering things in our ears, as he was able to do while in his coma. Of course, we don’t always hear their actual voices. Their whisperings usually come across to us as ideas, but I believe this 100%. After telling Lexi that story, I could just hear Hailey whispering in my ear that it was true and she really did tell her sister to come give me a hug. It was a neat experience!

I’ve had several difficult moments this week missing Hailey, but during each one she sent me a little token of love. At the pool was the dragonfly. In my backyard was the huge, yellow butterfly. And last night, in my room, was the hug! I love her so much and know without a shadow of a doubt that she is with me all the time. The Lord is so loving and merciful and would NEVER completely separate loved ones from each other. I know that He allows Hailey to be around us all the time so she doesn’t miss us or miss out on our family times and also so we know she’s here! Amazing, is all I have to say.

Wow…this entry ended up on a much more positive note than I had expected. Once again, one of those tender mercies from a loving Heavenly Father, and one of those special moments from a loving daughter! Also, one of those examples of the ridiculous roller coaster my emotions are right now!


  1. Dear Wendy,

    I continue to follow along with your blog, even though I don't "know" you, I've commented a few times before, and my heart breaks for you every time I read a new entry. I just absolutely cannot imagine the ups and downs that you must be going through. I was just wondering- are you still seeing that grief counselor? I don't think you mentioned it in quite awhile, so I was just curious. I know that a counselor can't just make all the pain go away, but I know they can help a person cope as best as humanly person. (I've said it before- that is what my ultimate career goal is, so I am a little partial towards counseling!). But you know, you writing in your blog is a wonderful form of therapy in itself, so I am so proud of you for having the strength to do that, and to share it with others who worry about how you are doing. Even strangers who have never met you, like myself, are in awe that something so tragic could happen to a family as fantastic as the Vassilaros family (I know Sean and Dave from junior high/high school, and remember their mom Pat from directing school plays in junior high). I read the blog about Dave's wife having a joint-birthday party for Hailey and their son, and I was just so struck by the intimacy of such a sadness (if that makes any sense), but thought it was so tenderly sweet that you could all be there together at such a profound time. From reading your blogs, I know that your parents and sister are incredible as well, and you are just so blessed by so many wonderful friends surrounding you as well. Just as the counselor told you several months ago, you sort of have a new "identity" since the loss of your precious Hailey. But you should be proud of yourself for how well you are doing, especially helping Lexi while she is dealing with her own intense emotions. When you wake up in the morning, try saying to yourself, "okay, let's get through this day." As hard as it may be, try not to let yourself think about how you will get through the next week, month, or year at a time. Just get through the day. Those weeks, months and years will come along, too... and you know, Hailey will be with you and the rest of your family. Just as in the book The Mesage, you believe what the author wrote (I do, too- how fascinating!). She is with you- always. And so are all of us here who read your blog, even if we are strangers. God bless you and your family, Wendy.

    P.S. I have to end this in a way that will hopefully make you smile- you talk about your memories of Hailey yelling and being loud, etc., and I have to say, there are times when I think about her when I am dealing with my daughter Avery (she turns 3 next month). She is such a little chatter-box, sometimes I just want to say "would you just be quite for a MINUTE??"; she yells from another room for me to get her juice or something... it just cracks me up... I can relate so much when I read about Hailey, and it just warms my heart.


    Angela (Kuhns) Davis
    Easton, PA

  2. I read your blog and just wanted to tell you how beautiful your little girl is. I think about you often and I will be sending happy, comforting thoughts your way on Wednesday :)
    This touches my heart everytime I read it and thought I'd pass it on to you.

    Broken Chain
    We little knew that morning that God was going to call your name.
    In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same.
    It broke our hearts to lose you, you did not go alone;
    for part of us went with you, the day God called you home.
    You left us peacful memories, your love is still our guide;
    and though we cannot see you, you are always at our side.
    Our family chain is broken, and nothing seems the same;
    but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.