I went home to PA to visit family and friends this weekend. You would have liked it there. The weather was pretty mild, though of course it snowed on the first day of spring. It would have been fun to take you there in the winter to go sled riding. And in the spring to celebrate Easter and your cousin Shay’s birthday. Summer would have been fun, going to Waterford Days and stopping for a nice visit at your Pap’s camp so your daddy could show you off to his family. The fall is great too – cool temperatures and beautiful leaves. You would have grown up looking forward to those visits up north, just as your dad and I look forward to them.
This trip was pretty special. I got to meet little baby Annabelle. She is only a few weeks old and her mama, Erin, and I liked to share baby bump photos while we were both pregnant. I took her some breakfast and we got to share labor and delivery stories, though there was but one baby to hold. I wish there were two; I wish one was you. For most of the visit I just looked – I watched as AB lounged quietly while her mom and I talked. I looked on as Erin breastfed her, changed her diaper, redressed her. Toward the end of my visit I decided to hold her. She was much heavier than you, but still felt so tiny. She was warm and smelled like babies smell, so sweet and clean. And as I cuddled her on my chest, I wished for you.
Joanna, no one can replace you or fill this hole. Holding AB was priceless, so special, even healing. It helped me remember that all babies are precious and all babies are miracles, even if they aren’t mine. But there is just one you. So someday when your dad and I decide that we’ll have another baby, we know that your brother or sister will be a precious gift, but not a replacement. Even in that upcoming joy – you will always be missing from our lives on Earth.
I also got the chance to visit with another friend named Erin. She and I have been friends 18 years this year. That’s a very long time, especially considering I only had you for 6.5 months. While visiting, I was entertained for the evening by Annakay. AK is almost two and is very sweet. I wish you could have been her friend, just like her mom and I are friends. AK and I danced, put hats on and marched around the house, shared a snack and watched the end of Tarzan together.
I find that being around baby girls and little girls is much harder on me than being around boys. Mostly, I suppose, because they are a constant reminder of what I am missing – you. However, I realized the sharp edges of my broken heart are ever so slowly being smoothed: playing games and dancing with AK warmed my heart and made it feel full for a little while. Though the hole where you belong will never go away, there are small, fleeting moments of pure delight that take my breath away. Even though I cried for you the whole drive home from Erin and AK’s.
Who you would have been, how you would have looked as you grew, what we would have played…I still dream of those things. But I know you are doing all those things in Heaven.
I am grateful for the strength to get out of bed each day and live here without you.
I love you.
P.S. Sweet girl, you’ve been in Heaven for 12 weeks today. How we miss you, Joanna.