I visited my girls in the cemetery for the first time on Christmas Eve. I have tried to visit them before but was unable to bring myself to go. I just was not ready. But with Christmas the following day I felt compelled to see them. I had to let them know that they were included in our lives and in our holiday celebrations. That I thought about them day and night and still cried for them. And I just wanted to spend some time with them. I have missed them so much during this holiday season. The night before I visited them I wrote them a letter:
Dear Aubrey and Ellie,
I am sorry that this is the first time I have visited you since your funeral. I have not been able to muster up the courage until now. It is Christmas Eve and I needed to come and visit, to bring flowers, and spend some time with both of you. I don’t want you to feel left out. You are still a part of my life. You are a part of everything I do. You always will be forever.
There is so much I want to tell you that I don’t even know where to start. First I want to say that I miss you both so much. There is not a second that goes by that I don’t think of you. I have tea with you every morning, I look at your pictures daily, and I cry, a lot. It is still hard for me to get out of bed in the morning and you are the last thought on my mind when I go to sleep at night. Living without you has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do. The only peace I have is knowing that you are both together, whole and restored, in the presence of the Lord, waiting for me. I can only go on because I know I will see you again.
I am so thankful that God gave you to me. I wish He would have let me keep you longer, but I don’t regret one second of being your mom. You two have changed my life more profoundly than any person or experience in my life. I was thrilled to death when I found out about both of you. I always felt privileged and special to be blessed with identical daughters. I was completely in love with both of you from the very beginning and my love for you has only grown, even after your death. You will always have a place in my heart and a place in our family. I will never pretend like you didn’t exist or keep you a secret. I am as proud of both of you as I am your brother and it is an honor to tell your story.
I am sorry that I didn’t know how to pray for you. I only ever wanted what was best for you both but I didn’t know what that was. I felt so helpless while you were alive. But I never gave up hope or lost faith, and I never stopped loving you. Forgive me for not dressing you before you were buried. I should have put clothes on you and looked at you and held you one last time. It was hard for me to think clearly at the time. I hope you understand.
Aubrey Elizabeth- I am so sorry for not visiting you in the hospital the Sunday before you died. Please forgive me for taking our time together for granted. It is one of my greatest regrets. I would give anything for one more day with you now. Also forgive me for not pumping my milk while sitting by your incubator looking at your tiny little face. I intended to do that and am not really sure why I didn’t. I regret it. Thank you for giving me so many special memories of you. You were so feisty and strong. I know you would have made a great big sister to Ellie. I loved the day I got to change your diaper and touch your skinny little legs. I treasure most how you opened your eyes a few days before you died. I know you could see me with those smoky gray eyes. It is my favorite memory of you. Whenever I picture you in my mind I see you looking back at me and it comforts me. And it was my privilege to hold you before you went to heaven. I wanted to hold you the entire time you were alive but was not allowed until then. It was my dream to hold you and it came true. I remember your cheek against my cheek. You were so tiny. I miss you everyday.
Ellie Alexandra- I am sorry for not giving you a bible verse until after you died. That was not my intention. I am so thankful that in the short time you were alive I got to make so many special memories with you. I was so worried about you. I was worried about you and your sister both but you got so sick so soon that I couldn’t help but be concerned. I love how you waved you left hand at me when you heard my voice. And I loved the day I got to lift you up while your dad changed your bedding. I loved sitting next to you while I pumped my milk imagining nursing you someday. I am so thankful that I got to hold you before you left us. I loved petting your hair and kissing you. You were so sweet. I think you would have been my easy baby. I miss you everyday.
There are feelings in my heart that I cannot put into words. My deepest pain seems to come only in the form of tears. Something happened to me when you died. You each took a part of my heart with you to heaven. I will never be the same. But I promise to heal. I promise to honor your lives with how I live my life. I will never stop missing you. I will never stop wondering what you would have sounded like or what color hair you would have had. I will always feel sad that you are not a part of my daily life or a part of my future. And you will never be forgotten or replaced. You are my precious baby girls. I will love you forever.
I will see you soon. Wait for me.
When my husband and I arrived at the cemetery it was cold and rainy. We put purple and pink lisianthus flowers at their grave. I intended to read the letter I wrote to them but could not bring myself to do it. So I folded it up and put it under the flowers. We stood there a while holding each other and cried. I watched my tears fall into the grass. I felt so sad. It was hard to read their headstone and accept that I buried my two babies. I never imagined such a tragedy in my life. But I was glad I went. I needed to see them. I needed them to know that I was thinking of them. I plan to visit them again soon. I hope to feel more and more comfortable each time. I don't think I will ever feel good about visiting their grave, but I do think I will have peace about it someday. At least that is what I hope for.