It's been eight weeks since we came home from the hospital without you. Eight weeks since we held you for the first and last time. As each day passes, our longing for you increases. We miss you so very much. We love you even more. We aren't sure how to go about our days without you here. You're still a part of our daily lives, and you forever will be. How we wish it were in a different way.
We sent you a purple balloon tonight. We all wrote little notes on it - I helped Haley with hers. She made her very own "H" and she was so proud. She is one smart little cookie. I asked Haley what she wanted you to know so we could write it on the balloon for you to see. She answered, "That I love her." She's your awesome big sister, Harlynn. Daddy and I each wrote you a note, too. We went to the back yard and let it go. Up, up, up, and away. We watched it for the longest time. It was still a teeny speck in the sky before we came inside to eat dinner. I kept the metal washer the balloon was tied to, and wrote on it. I'll put it with the rest of our keepsakes for you.
This has been my first week back at work and it's been rough. People don't know what to say or what to do, so they don't say or do anything. There have been a few, and thank God for them, who have been willing to be vulnerable with me. I read another article and after my first couple of days at work, it resonated with me so powerfully. I don't want people to be afraid of me or uncomfortable around me - I want them to know that I am forever changed for having the privilege of being your mommy. I want them to know that you will always be a part of our family and they'll need to get used to hearing your name. Eventually it will be easier to walk through my office door each morning, and people will talk with me again as they once did. I do wish I could have brought you to work to show you off, instead of having to cry alone in my office for not having you here.
I went to a special ceremony today. Before I got pregnant with you, I graduated from a Women's Leadership program put on by the United Way here. Today was the graduation for the class that came after mine. I was blessed for having attended. I heard some powerful speeches, and was in tears a few times. One of my fellow classmates, and a dear friend, held my hand as I cried. I wish you could have met her. I wish you could have met all of them. They would have fawned over you, I'm sure. I wanted to tell you something about being there this afternoon, Harlynn. As a mother, I have all these hopes and dreams for my children. I thought about what choices Haley will make as she gets older, and I thought about all the things we won't ever experience with you. I would have loved for you to go through a program like this one day. It struck me as I sat there, though, how you ARE a leader, sweetie. Even in your death, you are a leader. You've taught me, and so many others. You've taught me the importance of transparent honesty. You've taught me the value of vulnerability. You've given me a new perspective on absolutely everything. You've led me into new relationships, strengthened existing ones, and have taught me how to truly cherish people. You've taught me the importance of keeping promises and staying true to a given word. You've taught me self-control. You've taught me how to be firm in my faith. You've led me to be a person I only ever wished I could be before. The Golden Rule - treat others as you would have them treat you - I see the importance that carries in a way I didn't before. There is so much I have now that I wouldn't have had were it not for you. My hopes and dreams of everything you would be in life were shattered when we found out your heart was still - yet somehow, you've fulfilled them from beyond the sting of death. I am so proud to be your mommy. I am so proud of all you were able to accomplish - without even trying!
I have a feeling you're not done yet. Our lives will go on and your name will be used in some pretty special ways. You'll continue to give hope and healing to more than just your daddy, your sister, and me. You're going to accomplish more. I'm going to work to make it happen.
I love you. Every moment of every day.
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