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!