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During the Storm

Every day since the day that I was told that Adeline was no longer with us has been a storm in some way or another. I will never forget how the Heavens seemed to weep with me for the first year every single time that I went into Canton. If it wasn't a day that I was crying, it was still overcast...even if it had been sunny every day since I had previously visited. It was my sign from God that He sees my pain and feels the depth of my sorrow and. longing.

(2019, the last year our lives were "normal" only to never be "normal" again...the last full year we got to spend with our whole family...the last full year we got to spend with Adeline...the last full year before many things have changed and yet so much has remained the same, including the immense love that I feel when I see this photo and think about the life that I got to live the loves of my life!)

Tonight, a beautiful storm is raging outside. I always loved the storms and Adeline would always come snuggle up next to me or crawl into bed with me when it was storming. While I had been great about chasing my other kids out of my room, I never did that with Adeline. I was more calm and there was a peacefulness or patience that seemed to surround her from within me. It was something that I have never felt prior to holding her and something that I have not felt since I last said goodbye to her body on December 27, 2020.

It has been more than two and a half years since I last got to see my little girl. The pain of having almost lived 1/3 of her life since she has been gone is the deepest sorrow and pain that I have ever felt. I am not okay right now but I have too many hats to juggle to really take time to not be okay.That is the life that I am living.

Work is the most amazing experience. I finally feel as though I get to fulfill my purpose and do the one thing that I know that I am good at. I am actually excited for feedback from my advisor because I want to hear thoughts and ideas on how I can be my absolute best. It doesn't help anyone if you aren't accepting of criticisms. Our criticisms are the things that really help us to grow and learn more about ourselves.

We celebrated my brother's birthday this weekend. It was another family event that I had to go to where the lack of her presence was felt. I attended a funeral and felt awful because I did not really cry. I didn't cry because she was old. She had lived 88 years, got to fall in love, live a beautiful life, leave a legacy in her family, etc. I want to be able to do all of those things with Adeline, but I can't. She was only 9 years old and for some reason this is the path that God had for me.

Lately my sorrows have been so overwhelming. I have felt sick, I want to scream. I want to cry. I want to beg someone to listen to me, to validate how awful this truly is. I want to break down, crawl into a little ball, hug her bear, and never get back out of my bed. But I also want to live. I want to watch Althea, Huxley, and Andrew accomplish their goals in life and experience their firsts and their getting to grow up with them. I want to see them have all of the experiences that makes life great. I am trying to give them as many travel experiences as possible while I am here on this earth...not just because I love travel and having new experiences, but because I love being able to share in those experiences with my family and in knowing that I am helping them to have the life experiences that I too have truly cherished most.

We have some exciting travels coming up in the next year. On one hand, I want to cry...I want to beg God to just give me back my girl and I will live any type of life you want me to. I want to scream at God that I am so angry that my little girl is not here...that I don't get to see my little girl grow up! However, that is not something that I can do. Instead I have to focus on being the best version of me, the best possible me, and being the me that would make Adeline the proudest.

One of my friends sent me a little meme that said "Imagine if our children are up there looking down on us and pointing out how proud they are of us like we did when they were born and in the hospital nursery." I keep this in mind all of the time. The days that I don't want to do the right thing. The days that I want to take my anger and aggression that I feel out on someone else. The days that I just want to be mean, this has always come to me. This one simple little quote has changed my life and meant so much. (Thank you so much Holly. God is certainly working through you because you literally reach out to me or send me something every single time that I am having the absolute worst day and I am reminded to work towards making her proud.)

Forgiveness is one of the things that I have spent a lot of time working on over the past year. I have learned so much about forgiveness since losing my girl. I used to think that when you forgave someone or when someone forgave you, you were entitled to have a relationship that was the same as what it was before. However, that is not what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is deciding that you are going to let go of something that is weighing you down in your heart. You are giving up something that is holding you back from growth, keeping you stagnant, and in some cases causing you to regress into behaviors that you would never want to. Forgiveness is not for the person who has hurt you.

Forgiveness is for you. It is for you to live with that weight removed from your life. This does not mean that you have to accept anyone back into your life either. It is completely healthy to say, "you crossed a line. You hurt me. I am going to have to get to a place where I am okay with trusting you and bringing you back into my life and to be honest, that day might never come." You have to maintain a level of strength that will try you. You have to hear about perpetuated lies that are being told about you in regards to situations. You have to still go through with the glares, the grunts, the attempts at talking in front of certain people but glares with others, the fake-ness, the desire to just scream the truth in defense of yourself (and in some cases it is 100% reasonable to stand up and fight for your character when someone is intent on destroying it in some desperate attempt to make themselves out to be the victim. However, since I have worked on forgiveness...I am not really even mad anymore as long as boundaries are not crossed. When boundaries are crossed, it is not worth it, you can't continue to put yourself in a situation too have a relationship that is toxic and unhealthy for you. You have to break generational bonds and curses. You have to protect your children from toxic behaviors that you were not protected from (we all fail in some ways as parents, every single one of us....I really have some freaking amazing parents, but they failed me because they had a strong belief that God would want them to forgive and forget so they continuously chose to go back into the toxic situation as it was what God would want. (So, I am 100% not judging my parents or saying that I would have even chosen anything else at that time...or even before I lost Adeline, because I didn't. I continued to go back on my word when I said I was done. I continued to pretend things were okay and went away when they never did. I harbored resentment and anger every time I thought about the fact that I had not done what I should of and stood up to my lifelong bullies...and I wouldn't have to be honest. I only do now because the reality that life is far too short spending any time doing something that does not serve a greater good/purpose in your life.

You can forgive. You can say that you can forget...but we all know that this is a lie in nearly all cases. In most cases, you continue to harbor insecurities towards the person, trust issues, resentment, anger (sometimes), hurt, and sorrow at the extended grief that you are going through in my case as when you walk away from people that you do love, but just can't be around, it hurts. It's not easy. It is hurts and it hurts really bad, but knowing that pain and knowing the actions that caused that pain is something that you have to become aware of so that you can protect your children and change your life for the better.

Today, I had just started sobbing when the storm began to rage and sob with me. I was inspired to share a little with you because I am not able to sleep and I feel like there is so much that I am supposed to be saying right now. For some reason, my heart has been thinking about these things a lot lately and how I can be the best version of me. I have put lots of thought and time and energy into trying to really consider what is best for our kids...what is going to be the best for their mental health and well-being, what is going to be best for their long-term emotional needs, how they are going to remember their childhood, life with their sister, and life after we lost their sister. I am trying so hard to be the best version of me, to be a better mom, to be as present as I physically can be, and to really learn to find common ground and thinks to love with all of my kids.

Althea and I have so much fun going to the theater, thrifting, sushi, and sometimes taking drives alone together to chat. We really laugh a lot and are finally becoming closer again. I understand that it was probably a lot of me now and that I was scared of ever being as close with one of the other kids as I was with Adeline. It was different with Adeline because she was still little, she still needed my help, she still needed me to remind her of things with school and help with Google classroom, she was getting there but we were always together those last months of her life. She watched documentaries with me, watched my favorite movies from when I was a kid together while I graded papers, and she genuinely loved these same things that I did...things that none of my other kids have ever been interested. The week before Adeline's death, we had started a mid-century home blog together and were going through mid-century real estate listings, sharing our favorite ones, our favorite features, etc. It was something fun that we were searching and doing together when we had breaks in between/before/after school.

Huxley and I have also been growing closer and I am loving learning more about him. Who knew that he liked Post Malone and Drake...two artists that I would go see live. I am learning more about the things he enjoys, we are going to an Illini football game with 2 of his football friends in October and I told him I would take him sometime to am Illini basketball game with a different 2 of his friends later. I don't have a car to haul more than 5 people anymore and honestly, it would be a lot to watch that many kids and try to get drinks and snacks, etc. So I think that this is going to work best and I am so excited that I get to have these experiences with him.

We can live

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