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Feeling Your Presence, My Sweet Adeline

Some days I feel your presence so strong around me. Some days if I close my eyes, your presence is so strong that I believe that you are right beside until I open my eyes again. These are the days that the fire and everything about it feels like bad dreams. These are the times that I sit and think about your amazingness and cry. These are the times that I can sometimes reflect about things we used to do and smile. I never know if a memory is going to stir a smile or a flood of tears. I just know that I want to try and feel out every memory because feeling you is the most important thing in my life. My Sweet Adeline, I would have given anything to save you. Daddy and I would have both traded places with you because we know that you would have lived an amazing life and we both have already lived such full lives after having you kids that we would have taken your place if we could. We both wish that there was something more that we could have done.

I lost some videos and things from my phone (please say prayers that my phone turns up as we had it and it somehow got misplaced in the crazy...please pray that I can find it and that it can be salvaged or at least that the videos and photos can be saved from it). Several of the past months did not back up. As as I opened my videos, this was the last video that I had of you. These were the pajamas that you were wearing that last night when you went to bed and the pajamas that I last touched as I got you out of bed. They are the pajamas that I saw you laying in when I was taken to the hospital room after being told that you were gone. They were the last thing that you will ever wear alive. As the tears flow this morning knowing what was to come in these pajamas, I remember shopping for them with your sister and cousin when we were in Iowa on a ski/tubing trip. I remember how excited the three of you were to have matching pjs. I remember how much fun that weekend was and the joy that you expressed when you were tubing down the hill. It was one fo the best weekends and I had so much fun with you. I wish that we could go back to that moment and that I could savor it a little bit more. There is a part of me that breaks inside with each of these memories for there will never be another shopping trip where you get to pick out matching pajamas. There will never be another time where you get to go tubing. There will be no future memories like this with you and that literally makes me feel like I am dying on the inside.

There is something a little eerie to me with this video, which I did not see until after we gave the kids the puppy. I didn't remember it either, but there the video was. There have been so many of these moments and so many of these treasures over time.

The details of the fire are becoming more clear to me. I was in shock and still have moments where I feel all of those same overwhelming feelings of shock. There are moments where I have to walk away because I can't hide my next freak out, where I silently sit in the bathroom with my face pressed into my towel sobbing so that my other children do not hear me. There are times when I can do nothing more than pray that I can continue and be the mom that they need for me to be. There are times that I can laugh now, I can share about things and there are times that I can tell stories of you without crying. There are other times that I cannot even mention your name without tearing up. My Sweet Adeline, I miss you so is a deep longing that I cannot begin to process or describe.

As the details of the fire become more clear to me, I am struggling to understand some of the things that happened. I remembered trying to crawl, run, climb up the stairs, but what I did not remember is that there was a certain step that I would get to and it was like there was a wall that I was running into. I was literally knocked back down the stairs, no matter what my attempt was. This is what I believe was God making sure that I did not go before my time. As Adeline was lying there after I heard her collapse, I did every single thing that I could to get back up those stairs, at one point holding onto the railings and attempting to pull myself up the stairs, but then I got to the same point and would fall down them each and every single time. My mom and I were talking about this because I told her that there was something there that day that prevented me from getting to her, I believe that what it was kept me alive for some reason. I believe that this was something bigger than myself. I don't know how else to describe it, but when I was talking to my mom I told her that I would have done anything to save Adeline. I tried so hard to get up those stairs. I literally could not climb up there, I could not get past the middle of the stairwell without feeling as though I had been pushed back down. There were bruises all over my body from trying to climb those stairs until the police came and made me stop. They told me that they had to protect me and that if I could not sit they would be forced to make sure that I could not enter the property. I listened because I did not want Althea or Andrew to see that happen. I went and sat and held Althea while I was screaming and begging that someone find my baby and bring her to me.

I can tell you the exact moment that she passed. I remember sitting in front of my neighbor's house waiting for my husband to be taken to the ambulance for the severe asthma attack that he was having. I remember looking at him and screaming, "she's dying, she's dying." Today the feeling of that moment came back to me. I believe that this was Adeline telling me goodbye and that this is why I knew what was happening. I will never forget that they brought her limp lifeless body out within 30-90 seconds after I had that feeling. I knew then that she was already gone. They removed my husband from the ambulance and sent him in a police car to the hospital as they took her away on a stretcher. Later the police officer came back and gave a ride to Andrew, Althea and me. We arrived at the hospital and when they would not give me an update on her, I knew that she was not well. They finally allowed me to go see Shane and I saw the fireman praying (or that is what it felt and appeared that they were doing) and standing together. It was beautiful. I remember after the doctor told me that she was gone and I was losing it and being led into her room to tell her goodbye before she was taken by the coroner, I saw those same firemen with tears in their eyes trying to turn away to protect me from seeing their sorrow. It was the most difficult moment of my life, but there was some comfort in knowing that those who were there trying to rescue and save her were completely dedicated to focussing on saving my baby's life.

On mornings like this one, I wake up and think that it has all been a bad dream, that I will wake up and she will be here with me. (Perhaps, I have been in a coma and this is not reality at all.) Then I realize that this is my reality and that there are so many things that I can do in life, but bringing her back or having her here with me are not options. While this is the most devastating feeling, I am struck with the very real realization that this is my life. From that moment when I lost her, this was to be my life. The fact that I could not get up those stairs and that I felt that force that I believe made me fall down them every single time, shows me that it was not my time. So, I know that my focus needs to be on bringing the most meaning possible to Adeline's life, dedicating myself to helping others understand fire education better, and helping to prevent the tragedy that we have faced from happening to other people.

I chose this song this morning because I always felt such heartbreak and pain when I listened to this song. After losing Adeline and understanding the heartbreak and pain that he felt when writing this song, I can't imagine being able to perform it. I know that this is his job but I did have a lot of vocal training and vocal performances throughout my life. I can barely sing certain songs as the tears flow like rain down my cheeks.

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