Measuring Time with the Number of Days
Time is funny. How we measure time is unique as well. Some of us measure time by the number of seconds, minutes, or hours in a day. I now measure things by the day. Today is day 38 since Adeline left us. Some moments it feels like time is expansive and like it has been so long since I got to feel her lips against my cheek that last morning when she kissed me and told me that she loved me. Then there are times when the days seem to be flying by, that I can't believe that the fire ever happened, where I wake up in a sweat thinking that I have had the worst nightmare possible only to realize that this nightmare is my reality.
For a few days in the beginning it all felt like a dream. I felt like maybe I was in a coma, that maybe I had been able to do more, that I could have saved my baby girl and that I was lying in a hospital in a state of dreaming that was driving me insane with the thoughts of losing her. This is all not true, in fact the reality is that Adeline is gone and that she has passed. I could not save her and there is nothing that I will ever be able to do that will bring her back. No matter how much I long for her, beg for her, or cry for her...she will never again be here with me living. I believe that she is always with me in spirit. I feel her presence so strong at times that I know that she is trying to communicate with me in some way. She is such a powerful little girl that even crossing the rainbow bridge has not silenced her spirit.
I wanted to share this picture that popped up on my memories today on Facebook. Five years ago when my precious angel was four she made this face after telling me a hilarious story (she was always so good at telling hilarious stories). She told me that someone had left their baby in the street and that now she had to take care of two babies instead of one. She always had the perfect faces to go along with her story. Her face here conveys that disgust and annoyance that someone would make her take care of their baby too. I will always miss this. I will miss the laughter and enjoyment that Adeline provided to each and every one of us. I will miss the funny moments and the stories that she would come up with. She was truly special, one of a kind, and seriously the best human being that I can imagine walking this Earth.
So, I guess you can say that I am not really doing well. I know that on the outside I often appear to be doing well, but on the inside I feel like I am dying. I feel like I am dying a slow and painful death each day that I awake without her here. It is the most cruel thing in the world to live without your child. I am part of a mom's grief group and see so many posts about moms who have lost their adult children. In a way I am so jealous of these moms that they got to do all of the normal things with their child. This is in no way to discount their grief, as I am sure that losing a child at any age is just as hard. However, I am jealous that they got the little things in life...cheerleading, the 4th grade promotion, starting junior high, the 8th grade graduation, high school, prom dress shopping, high school graduation, having a child age out of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, college dorm room shopping, dorm room move in, marriage, children....none of these things will ever happen for my precious girl and I feel like I am dying inside when I think about the immense hole that is being left in our family, a hole that simply will never be filled. When you lose a child at the age of nine, and in my case the youngest, everything stops immediately on that day. All of my hopes and dreams for her future, which I was sure would have been so bright, ended on that day. I lost parts of being a mom, even though I have three other children, because she was my youngest and those are all phases and things that her older siblings had gone through. I can't believe that there will never be another grade school holiday party, no more surprising her with lunch and eating with her.
The kids have all had friends with wonderful families. In fact, I consider many of Andrew's, Althea's, and Huxley's friends' parents to be my friends now. However, with Adeline it was my life long friends that were having children at the same time as me. It was former co-workers and acquaintances that I had always admired whom I am now friends with because of my little girl. Please do not take this the wrong way...my friends, new and old, have been my rocks through this entire ordeal. The friendships that I have had longest are with many of the moms of Adeline's friends. This has made losing her especially difficult. This is because I am still going to be present and celebrating these accomplishments that I will miss with my own little girl, with her friends. I will still be at graduation when she should have graduated. I will still be at grand march and will see her friends without her there. While I think that I would have remained friends with the other kids' parents, I don't know that I would be as invested in their lives as I am in the lives of those children whom I have loved much in a similar way that I love my nieces and nephews. I love all of their friends, but is different when you have been there from the beginning of their lives and been a part of the many different stages of life with them.
I know that I am going to have an immense amount of inner turmoil. I will still love these kids and I will be there for them as much as I can mentally withstand. The four little girls whom Adeline considered her best friends have been little girls that have been at our house for years, having sleepovers and playdates before COVID hit and in some cases continuing these things during the pandemic. I am so thankful that I did get to celebrate that last birthday party online with her friends. I am also thankful that so many of the friends and family who have been a part of our lives have reached out. One of Adeline's friend's mom contacted me recently that her daughter is making a surprise bag for us of Adeline's favorite things. I know that I am going to cry when this sweet girl fives me this gift and I hope that she knows that my tears are thankful and that I love her even though I am missing my own little girl. Another one of Adeline's friend's mom made me photo albums, one of which is all of the pictures of her with her friends and one that is of her and with family. These albums are such a joy to flip through as each photograph contains a memory, a moment that is captured in time, a moment that I will never be able to recreate, a memory that is the only thing that I have to move forward with of my little girl. I miss her with every fiber in my being and these memories help me to feel like she is still alive to others, as I know that she will live on forever in the hearts of those in our family and those whom she was closest to.
Each morning is hard for me. In just a few hours, it will exactly 38 days since my baby left this world. There was a part of me that longed to fill that hole immediately. One of the first things that I could think of was that I could hire a surrogate and have another baby. No, not a baby to replace my precious Adeline as she could NEVER be replaced, but a baby to help fill the hole and emptiness that I feel. Then reality set in. I would be around 40 by the time that a child would be born. Shane would be turning 50 when the child was a toddler, I would be in my 60s when the child graduated from college and Shane would be in his 70s. This would not be fair to a child. It would not be fair to bring a child into a world to fill a hole that can't be filled. It would not be fair to anyone to have a baby in the house at the ages that they are. I have had to accept that there will be nothing that will ever help fill that hole, at least at this moment I cannot fathom anything filling that hole in any way.
The tears that flow are a constant struggle, but I know that Adeline is here with me. I know that Adeline is doing some things to make my life different than what it was before. I have countless little stories that show me that she is with me. One thing that has recently been mentioned to me, that I have not been able to get off of mind, is that no one had any symptoms or issues with COVID after attending the funeral services. For this I am very thankful. I am thankful that there was protection that allowed her friends, family, and those who had been touched by her life to attend the services and maintain their health and well-being.
I do have a little story to share with you. After the fire, my mom was talking with Althea and she asked her if she could have anything replaced that she had lost in the fire what would it be. Althea told her a special bracelet that she (my mother/her grandmother) had given her. My mom replaced the bracelet immediately that day and Althea got it quickly since it was a fast shipment. Apparently in that same conversation, my mom asked Althea what she thought that I would want replaced. Althea said that she didn't know but that Adeline had wanted to get me some earrings as a gift and that she had them saved in her phone to show Shane. My mom bought me these earrings. I am generally allergic to earrings and can only wear them for short periods of time, unless I buy a certain quality of earring. Adeline was the same way. I had bought unicorn earrings for the funeral and the important women and girls in her life each wore a matching (or very similar) pair. Then each person in attendance was asked to pick up a single unicorn earring and pin it to their lapel. This was so that Adeline would see unicorns on everyone as she was watching us from Heaven. I wanted to wear those unicorn earrings forever...but my ears quickly became irritated, were getting infected, and felt itchy and painful at the same time. On the day that I knew that they had to be removed, my mom showed up and gave me three earrings that my angel had picked out. Later, after her phone was found and turned on, I saw these same earrings as a screen shot in her phone. I put these earrings in and they were not expensive or anything like that. I never had any issues. I have not worn earrings for as long as I can remember as even 14K and 18K gold bother me so some degree. These are rose gold earrings with a sterling silver post. I should not be able to wear them by all accounts...but I am still wearing them and have no problems. I believe that this is again a sign from Adeline that she is with me. (Please ignore my very angry skin....apparently stress causes me to have redness...not many breakouts but my skin just looks kind of angry and sad.) Also, I am purchasing multiple pairs/have asked for multiple pairs of these earrings to keep in my jewelry box so that if one every breaks, I can replace it and literally wear this pair of earrings until I get to Heaven with my baby girl.
She is always leaving me signs. Yesterday at the gym it was a penny. I was changing my shirt and had just looked at the floor. After putting my shirt, I saw a penny tails side up right where I had previously looked and it had not been. In that moment, after picking it up, I stopped and told my sweet baby thank you. It showed me that she was there with me and I felt like it was her saying that she was proud of me for taking a step in the right direction with my health and well-being. I know that she would be proud of me for joining a gym and choosing the gym as a place to work out my anger, frustration, sadness, and sorrow. I know that she would want for me to be my best and right now I know that my best will never quite be the best that it was before losing her. However, I am striving to be the best that I can possibly be after the tragedies that we have faced.
I am trying to learn how to achieve deep meditation. I am reading about meditation to communicate with those who have passed before us. I want so badly to be able to hear her talk back to me when I talk to her. I want so badly to hear her voice telling me all of the amazing stories that she used to tell with that bold laughter and gentle spirit. I want to connect with her stronger than I have been. I just do not know how. I am trying a guided meditation to connect with a deceased love one today. I am sure that I will write about the experience later. I have always believed that it was possible to feel those who had passed on. I have always had an intuition that there were other presences around us. I have had so many weird things happen in life and I think that maybe these have been moments where my loved ones have tried to communicate with me. I know that for some of you this is going to sound weird, but many of you whom think that it is weird are the same people who believe that there have been prophets or those who could hear God on Earth to share his message whether through teachings or writings (including the Bible). The following is the meditation that I will be trying after I finish writing this morning.
My intuitive nature has only gotten stronger and more in tune as I have gotten older. I had known that something bad was going to happen to my family. I didn't know what, just like Adeline didn't know what was going to happen to her....but yet all signs point to her knowing that something was going to happen. I can still feel that intense sorrow, that lump in my throat, that sickness in the pit of my stomach, that voice that was telling me that something really bad was about to happen. I can still remember sobbing at night into my pillow and on Shane's shoulder, telling him that I was too happy, that life was too perfect, and that I knew that there was going to be something awful that was going to happen. I don't know how I knew these things. I can't tell you where this came from or how it happened. All that I know is that I felt something, something that was trying to prepare me for what was to come, but even though I felt this...nothing could prepare me for the fate that was to come, nothing could prepare me for losing Adeline.
I know that this is a LONG post and if you have stuck it out this far, thank you for reading about my journey through grief. Thank you for letting me pour my heart and soul out to you, one blog post at a time. I have always been a writer, just never a grief writer. Writing about grief is immensely painful, but also healing at the same time. It allows me to express myself fully with words that I cannot speak or express in spoken form. It allows me to say the things that I don't feel like I can open my mouth and say. It shows everyone what I am going through and allows me to be honest when I am having a bad day. The one thing that has really changed the most for me is that I no longer feel the overwhelming need to apologize for being me. I feel authentic when I am writing about my pain. I feel unapologetic with my honesty and this has carried over to life. I tell people when I am having a bad day, which I would have never done before. I am honest when I can not handle something, even something that I would have really wanted to do before.
On that note, yesterday I had to change a paper topic for one of my classes. I was going to write about the children that the U.S. government has basically stolen children from migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees throughout history. As I started reading articles that discussed these circumstances, it was immensely hard to think about. I can't imagine as a mother, even a mother who has lost a child, the pain of having a child taken from you and losing a child into a system where they might not ever be found. I can't imagine thinking about my child being out there somewhere, but not being able to be with them. I can't imagine worrying about their safety, their health, what they are doing, or how they are coping without me...all without any type of communication as to how to get them back. At this time, I am too raw, too fragile for that type of research. Thankfully my professor was amazing and allowed me to change my topic to that of the refugee human spirit. I get to research the hope and belief that life can be better that these individuals carry with them. The human spirit is a powerful thing. I know this from my own tragedy. I know the desire to pull through, the desire to be better, the desire for something different, for a better life for my children, for a hopeful future, for a future where there is less pain and sorrow. I carry this myself. I am trying to adjust this new normal, the one that will never really feel normal, and while I struggle my spirit keeps going. I have not really been that type of persistent person when it has come to myself before. I always put myself on the back burner, but because of the tragedy and the loss of my Sweet Adeline I have had to make my own mental health and physical health a priority. I can't be the mom that I want to be right now because of so many emotional factors and I know that the way to make the biggest difference is through getting healthy so that I can be the person that I want to. I need to be healthy to be the person she would want me to be.
I started therapy yesterday as part of my goal to work on my mental health. I liked my therapist really well, kind of a first as most therapists that I have went to seem to have rubbed me the wrong way from the beginning. She was wonderful and really helped me to express some of my feelings and told me that it was okay to feel the way that I felt. This reassurance helps me, because at times I feel like I am completely falling apart and like I am a complete mess. I am trying to get back to journaling, even if it is just one line or one sentence a day. Wish me luck as I know that journaling has really helped me in the past. In fact, I was able to rescue a few of my journals from the fire and can't wait until I feel mentally healthy enough to pick up my journals from the past five months when I was off of social media and seemed to journal more. I can't wait to re-record those precious memories of Adeline. I also can't wait to see what is recoverable from my computer. I did get it, but I have not been brave enough to attempt to turn it on yet. I was waiting and for now I need to keep waiting until I am strong enough to handle the fact that it might not work. Right now I can't fathom that.
I also joined Planet Fitness and started working out yesterday. I did some free weights, some weight machines, and some cardio. I chose the more expensive membership that allows for me to visit any Planet Fitness worldwide. We love to travel and I love that I will be able to keep up with my routine when we do. I found this first workout so healing and almost addictive. I want to go back and almost did last night. I will be going today after I take Huxley to his first therapy appointment. This membership allows me to bring a friend at any time with me and offers free tanning. I have considered tanning for some time since I have heard that it can help mental health, but to be honest I was afraid that it would cause me to prematurely age or look older than I do. However, I have not tanned in more than 20 years. I figured that with the place that I am in mentally now that anything is worth a try. I do not think that I will tan my face. I will just buy some liquid bronzer that I can add into my foundation as my body tans and my face does not. There is no reason to get early wrinkles....lol! After my workout. I got to do the Total Body Enhancement, an infrared treatment that offers some big benefits like better cellular activity and helping to tone the body. The vibrating plate that helps tone is not a magical cure all. Instead it is something that, when done daily in combination with healthy eating and exercise, can help to make the body more toned. I tried this for the first time and really enjoyed it. I am going to add it in to my daily routine. I also tried the Hydromassage table (there are also massage chairs) and I really loved how it helped to soothe my muscles after a good workout. In fact, it helped me to feel so much better than I did before working out and I woke up today and am not too sore. I think that I am not sore because of these two things as I know that I would normally be very sore.
So, while I continue on this journey. I know that my greatest source of inspiration will be through my precious girl. Adeline was a unique person. She was a person that I struggle to describe because she was so amazing. She was so wise beyond her years, such an old soul, so compassionate and kind towards others, never mean, always inclusive, a good friend to those who were her friends, and even reaching out and being a friend to those who were not her friend. That was my girl....my littlest love...my smoochie moo...my baby...my precious angel. I often wondered how God chose me to be such an amazing human being's mom. I have never once regretted anything having to do with my girl. She was so good, such a joy to be around, and quite possibly the best friend that I will ever have. I can't imagine anyone coming close to the encouragement that she gave me or the joy that I felt in her presence from the moment that she was born. I remember telling Shane that there was something really special about Adeline when she was a newborn and I was in the hospital with her. I remember sharing with him that she was the perfect puzzle piece to our family and that our family finally felt complete after she was born. Our family feels broken, we are like a puzzle with a miss piece. We are all still here, but we are struggling to finish the picture without her here with us and that struggle, while it might not be as raw or painful, will always be present. There will always be a piece of our puzzle missing.