Five years

I feel like I say this each year but HOW COULD IT POSSIBLY BE FIVE YEARS SINCE YOU MADE ME A MAMA. Five years of missing you, five years of moments and memories without you. This fall was extra hard for me realizing you would be starting kindergarten this year. I will never get to see you step on to that bus or pack your lunch or buy you a new backpack. I can only imagine what you would have worn and the shoes you would have picked out for your first day. I missed you extra hard this fall but I miss you every day.

You are a part of me and I feel you in the little things each day. But I also love the big moments that God gives us a glimpse of our little girl and shows us just a little of what you get to see. Like a beautiful sunset or a beautiful rainbow, the beautiful night sky or the sunshine shining through the clouds. Or the incredible ways you have changed lives and the incredible stories we have heard of how you have helped shape the future for families who have lost their little ones.

When I think about everything our family has been through in these five years, the good and the bad, I can’t help but see you in all of it and miss you through all of it.

Year 1 brought a new normal and figuring out just how to live without you. How to go back to our jobs and learn how to keep living, even when it hurt so much. Year 1 brought many sleepless, restless nights and many, many tears. Grief comes in waves and those waves were so intense in year 1. It brought us somehow through our every day while longing for heaven and longing for our little girl. It brought with it every first – first holidays and first birthdays without you. It made me stronger than I ever thought possible. It taught me so much about love and loss and family. In that year I became a mom and that is simply the best title ever. But I also had to learn how to survive being a loss mom, not just a regular mom.

Year 2 brought a couple things – it brought us a new mission to honor you and it also brought us your little brother. After months of grieving and learning how to live without you, we decided we wanted to honor you and what better way than to help other families going through what we went through. Year 2 brought about Faith45 – our way of tangibly honoring your name and somehow helping others. It still amazes me the impact you have made on this world in your short 45 minutes here with us. Countless families now you have helped in this impossible, heart-wrenching loss. Countless families we have been able to help because of you.

What a terrifying year also, because it involved opening our hearts to another baby and walking through a pregnancy after our loss. Each day I had to wake up and mentally decide to trust God that day. Each kick and each heartbeat, mine or his, brought with it worry and anxiety. Our 20-week ultrasound, I think I almost got sick with the waiting. Each week that passed was another victory. Then in January we welcomed your little brother. I can just imagine what the two of you would have been like together. I kept picturing bringing him home to meet you and what that would have been like. Instead, he is the oldest, here on Earth. And now that he is almost four, he is starting to understand that he has a big sister because we always talk about you and will forever tell him of his amazing big sister Faith.

Year 3 was mostly just figuring out life with a child here on Earth and a child in Heaven and what that all looked like. It was sleepless nights for a different reason and all his firsts, knowing we missed all of those with you. Seeing him smile and wishing I could have seen you smile. Seeing him roll over, take his first steps, learning new things every day and all the while being reminded that we will never get to do those things with you. It was a new grief we had to learn to live with.

Year 4, what a year. It brought us two more little girls and also a worldwide pandemic. We learned we were pregnant soon into year 4 and then 10 weeks later, had to say goodbye to another baby girl. Now, I have no doubt you know all about Esther and that the two of you are the best of friends. But man that was the next hardest thing I have ever been through. Another pregnancy, another loss. You two will forever be missed and forever be a part of our family.

Then in September, after walking through another pregnancy after a loss, we welcomed our third little girl into our family and our second child here on Earth. Holding her in my arms on the 15th (ironic) brought me back to that day I got to hold you. I simply starred and wondered and dreamed of the three of you together and all my little girls. When I look at her, I will forever see you and Esther in her. As I rock her to sleep, as I hold her hand, as I someday brush her hair and take her shopping and do all the girly things with her, I will forever dream about you two as well. She is pretty great, and I just know you all would have loved growing up together, sisters. My heart hurts when I think about it and I just long to have you here.

Year 5 was another year of just figuring out life with a little one here and a toddler, while missing you two. It has been a crazy year with the continued pandemic and just lots of yuck happening in the world. But inside our house, it’s beautiful. It’s hard, it’s long days, sleepless nights, tears over missing you, tears over not getting it right, tears of joy for all my kiddos but mostly, a full, full heart.

I cannot say it enough, I cannot believe it has been 5 years. I simply cannot believe I have lived 5 years without you here and 5 years of missing you. You are more loved than you’ll ever know – but then again, I guess that’s not true because you know the love of your Savior and that’s even better than the love I have for you. The picture I hold on to and will always go back to in the hardest of moments, is my two girls sitting with their creator and being held and loved by the one who promises me a day where I will get to hold them and love them myself. Until that day, please know how much your mama loves and misses you!