Two years. Two years, Harlynn. April 9th, we learned you had already left us before we ever got to see your blue eyes, hear your cries....anything. 12:16 a.m. April 10th, you were delivered. And all was silent.
These last two years have become a collage of moments. There is no measurement of time anymore, outside of "before we lost Harlynn" or "after we lost Harlynn". Just a window where moments come and go - either waiting to be remembered, or forcing their way to the path of reliving.
I don't have lengthy memories of the sequence, or the exact events - just snippets of moments that tend to replay themselves in my mind since April made its appearance. Moments I can't forget, nor do I want to. Moments that haunt me, and moments that swell my heart with hope and anticipation of seeing you again.
The moment my water broke.
The moment the doctor asked your daddy if he wanted to cut the cord, and the nurse asked if I wanted to hold you.
The moment I felt your weight upon my chest.
The moment your daddy held you, longing to startle life back into those lungs.
The moment I kissed your hand. Your forehead. Held your toes.
The moment my OB held me in her arms as I wept. The moment another held my face in her hands.
The moment we had people surrounding us in our hospital room, just to love us.
The moment your sister came to see you, and we had to tell her what happened.
The moment Granny held you in her arms, looking at you so lovingly and shaking her head in disbelief.
The moment I kissed your forehead for the last time.
The moment we had to choose your casket.
The moment my best friend came walking up my driveway, after driving 700 miles to be there for me.
The moment I met Michelle at your visitation.
The moment I placed my hand upon your closed casket lid, knowing you were inside, separated only by a lid of fabric - but we were already worlds apart.
The moment my boss came to the visitation and hugged me, with tears in his own eyes.
The moment your sister yelled at her cousins to be quiet, because you were "sleeping".
The moment the snow storm caused us to reschedule your funeral.
The moment we walked to the front of the church, and I had no idea how my legs were able to move. I didn't want to take that walk.
The moment right before we started down the aisle, and I saw Dana's face, and somehow knew how very loved we were, and how very supported we would be from that point forward.
The moment your namesake, Mr. Harlan, read scripture at your service.
The moment your daddy picked up your casket to carry outside, and released a heart wrenching wail.
The moment we placed your tiny casket in the huge hearse.
The moment we hugged person after person inside that church, and I couldn't believe so many had come, but I was so glad they were there.
The moment we carried you to the little cemetery riser.
The moment the sun peeked through the clouds.
The moment I had to turn and walk away from you, and I hated myself for not being able to crawl in the ground with you.
The moment we sang in church, and Beth put her hands on my back as I wept.
The first time I tried to go to the cemetery, but couldn't because of the flood preparation barriers.
The second time I tried to go to the cemetery, and it was the same story.
The third time, and the first time I got to sit by your grave.
The times your sister blew bubbles for you.
The time someone left a care package, from you to us, on your grave. The purple egg with the purple mini koosh ball inside sits inside my desk drawer, and I pull it out every time I need a little smile.
The moment your daddy went out in the cold to take pictures of the brightest moon I had ever seen, because it made us feel a tinge closer to you.
The moment Michelle told me "I think we should start Harlynn's Heart."
The moment my friends sat in my living room, to give me a check to start your legacy, and everyone prayed together.
The moment we had a thank-you party, and sent balloons your way.
The first time I spoke to a group about stillbirth, and shared your story. I could hardly talk through the tears.
The first time I had a dream about you.
The first time I felt like I could pray again.
The moment I went with Michelle to help a family grieve the loss of baby Mauriana.
Every moment I've been with a bereaved family since.
The moment we met seven other amazing couples at Faith's Lodge, and the moment I saw my first tick.
The moments - and there are several - when your sister will tell me she misses you.
The moment we got the most beautiful gift, of a frame of four canvased pictures of you.
So many moments. So many memories. So much heartache. So much hope. So many ups, and so many downs. Two years.
So tonight, I bought those mini chocolate donuts I constantly craved while I was pregnant with you. I'll have them for breakfast in your honor. Tomorrow, we'll take you a cupcake. I even found purple frosting. We'll sing happy birthday - if Mama can get through it. We'll send you more balloons.
And not just tomorrow, but forever and always, we'll be missing you. Loving you. Longing to be with you again.
In the mean time, take a peek down here and see how many people are supporting us. If God lets you scroll through Facebook, get a load of all the profile pictures that are all in your honor, baby girl. We are so loved. I don't understand it. I don't deserve it. But I am so beyond thankful for it. Because oh how I need it.
My heart hurts so very much. But it also hopes far more than it did in those first moments after we had to say goodbye to you. When it's my turn to walk through those pearly gates, I'll fall down in worship to the One who got me through each of these moments and then some. I'll praise Him and be completely awestruck by His love and power and then I'll say, Lord....Where is my Harlynn?
Happy birthday, my love. Not one single day, not one single moment passes without you being thought of, missed, and desperately loved.