I can't believe it has been two years.
I woke up this morning and I could feel it. That ache in my heart. That strange sensation of something missing in my life that should be there but isn't.
It feels like yesterday, not two years ago, that I saw those tiny little faces for the first time. Even time itself has been some how altered by Aubrey and Ellie's deaths. One minute time is flying by, the next it is standing still. I am still getting used to it.
I am still getting used to a lot of things.
Dustin and I took flowers to the cemetery today to honor them and let them know we are celebrating two very special birthdays. (I have pictures I will post later. I left the wire that connects my camera to my computer at my sister's house so when I get it back I will post the lovely photos immediately). As I sat there arranging the flowers just right I thought about how much has changed in two years.
And how some things haven't changed at all.
I still desperately miss my babies. That has not changed. And I don't think it ever will.
But I feel differently in other ways.
When Aubrey and Ellie died I felt mostly disappointment. For a long time I just couldn't shake feeling horribly let down. I felt let down by my own body, by God, by doctors, by life in general. The disappointment was so heavy it took almost a year and a half to finally lift. I still feel disappointed about certain things and in certain ways, but not like I did two years ago. It is not as consuming as it once was.
Slowly though my disappointment gave way to helplessness and I felt deeply overwhelmed by fear. I braced myself for what tragic, terrible thing would happen next, convinced my life was on a crash course with disaster. Thankfully I did not get stuck there long though. Living in fear was worse than living with disappointment and I fought hard to find freedom from it. I was tired of regressing in my healing and called out to God for help. When I feel the fear creeping in again I remember 1 John 4:18. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear... I often forget to accept God's perfect love. But I am working on it. And He is working on me.
Yet, even two years later, I am still a work in progress. Grief and all its emotions don't just suddenly vanish. It is a constant ebb and flow of triumphs and losses. There has been real healing in my heart in some ways yet some wounds remain gaping.
Lately it is loneliness that I struggle with most.
Grief is isolating yes, but that is not the loneliness I am talking about. Sure I struggle with feeling alone in my pain and alone on this journey. It isn't always comforting to know that the Jesus I love is walking with me when He isn't there the way I wish He could be there. He is there just as His Word promises and He is so gracious to me as I struggle with my humanness. But sometimes I just need something tangible and I get weary in my faith. I mean for goodness sake, sometimes I just need a hug. And I don't think that is asking too much.
But what has been bothering me even more is that my arms are empty. Where are my babies to hold? To kiss? To snuggle? I deeply miss the real, tangible things that disappeared when Aubrey and Ellie died. I never will squeeze their fat little legs or wipe their dimpled little bottoms. I will never hear first words or see first steps. I am learning that I love the hands-on part of being a mother. Even the mundane daily things. And the quietness of my house and my life gets to me.
I'm just not sure how to fill this void. And like I said before, the intangible comfort of my Jesus doesn't always do it...not because He is not enough, but because I can't seem to stop being imperfect in my pain. I just need something to hold sometimes. Something made of flesh and blood. Something real.
I got out of bed today and took my time starting the day. I stood in the shower an extra long time feeling particularly empty inside. I left the house for a mocha (for me) and flowers (for my baby girls) thinking about very little else. I didn't talk much in the car ride to the cemetery. I guess I wasn't in the talking mood so my son, who is always in the talking mood, did most of the talking.
"Why are we going to the cemetery again mom?" He asked, even though I had told him ten times already why.
"To see Aubrey and Ellie." I emphasised, "It is their birthday remember?"
"But they are not even there you silly." He replied.
I sat there feeling his words. I had been feeling them since I woke up but just didn't know it until then. They are not here. And that is what hurts. I know where they are, I know they couldn't be in a better place, but I still have to cope daily with the unchangeable fact they are not here.
And I am lonely without them.
In the quietness of the cemetery the cool breeze blew just as it did the day of their funeral. The sun was directly behind me and cast my shadow across the face of their headstone. In my silhouette I could see my big baby belly fall right on their names. I introduced Colt to his sisters and started to cry. I am only weeks away from holding and snuggling and kissing a very tangible Colton James. And although I am thrilled beyond words to meet my new little man, he is an answer to prayer and a gift beyond measure, I can't help but anticipate the sting that will also come with his arrival.
All the joy he will bring will bittersweetly remind me of all I missed when Aubrey and Ellie died.
I will be flooded with emotions no doubt, and I admit I am a little nervous. I am not exactly sure how I will respond to all that I feel in that moment. I am still healing and very raw. And there is still an empty place in my heart for my girls.
But at least I know one thing for certain. My heart may still have an empty place, but my arms will be full again.
And I can barely wait for that very tangible moment.
Happy Birthday Aubrey and Ellie. You are dearly loved and missed. Until we meet again sweet babies... Love Mom, Dad, Dustin and baby Colt.