Seven months ago today, at 12:16 a.m., I pushed one last time and felt the wave of pressure leave my abdomen as the nurse wrapped Harlynn in a blanket to place her in my arms. Her still, perfect body, conformed to my heaving chest as I sobbed over her. Desperate for the things I would never have with her, I wrapped my finger with her hand, pleading it would somehow wake her from her eternal slumber. Those moments, that day, replay themselves continuously. So much I remember, and so much I've forgotten.
It isn't any easier, now that it's been seven months. The fact is, it makes it somewhat harder. Hard to fathom that seven months have passed by without her here. How can time not have frozen, even for a moment? How can seven months have flown by? How can the world have kept spinning as if burying her in it's earthen ground didn't slow even part of a rotation? Seven months. Seven months.
I just can't seem to wrap my mind around it. I remember so much of those days, the hospital, coming home - it doesn't seem possible that they took place all those months ago. Weeks, maybe. But months? So much has changed and so much continues to change. Every day I think about what she'd be doing, what she'd look like, how many times Haley would try to blame her for something.
Last Sunday we went to visit our dear friends who just had a baby girl. Haley was covering their daughter with kisses and hugs. She wanted to hold her, cuddle her, and not leave her side. It was adorable. And it was heartbreaking. She should have had this. She should have been able to do this with her sister. When it was time to go, Brent asked Haley if she was ready to leave. As she crouched by the bouncer with little baby L sitting in it, she shook her head no and said, "I'm not ready. I don't want to go." I didn't blame her. The entire time she knew I was pregnant with Harlynn, all she talked about was giving kisses and hugs and helping feed the baby, and give her baths. And here, before her, she had that opportunity. She didn't want to leave.
I can't express to you how it made me feel, because you wouldn't understand. Some of you would try to "reason" with me on why I shouldn't feel that way. So to avoid me getting completely upset with you, I'll just tell you - you wouldn't understand. But it was devastating. And comforting. And once again, my heart swelled with pride for the beautiful little girl my Haley Laine has become. It isn't fair she lost her sister, nor will it ever be. But she was loving on her vicariously through baby L. I know it. I could see it. She is such a good big sister.
Now, as we enter the holiday season, I'm thinking of ways to make memory after memory with Haley, and including Harlynn in each of them. We'll bake cookies and frost them with purple frosting. We'll fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child with things Haley would have wanted to give her sister. We'll get an ornament, Harlynn's ornament, to display front and center on our tree. We'll talk about all of the reasons Haley is still an amazing big sister, and all of the ways she'll continue to be one. We'll read the Christmas story from Luke, and wonder what Harlynn is seeing in Heaven as she fellowships in person with the Lord.
And on Christmas day, the day that marks 37 weeks since losing her - the day that represents us being without her for as long as we were with her - I imagine another day of simultaneous heartache and joy.
I realize my sentiments may seem the same. That I may sound as if I'm on repeat when I talk about missing our daughter. But what I express is all I'm able to understand. I have to process through it, no matter how long it takes or how many times I have to say it. And each of you are innocent bystanders I've taken along for the ride.
So as today marks seven months without Harlynn, I have to give pause. I remember her powerful karate kicks. Her hiccups. The doll we were going to give her. The spoiled little sister she would have been. And I have to give thanks - that if anyone were able to know her, love her, remember her - that it was us. That it was our family.
We love you, little girl. Every moment, of every day.
Next: Watching Over Me