I was the skeptical one. I'd heard people talk about "the one" and how you "just know" this is the person, your person. I never believed it, until it happened to me. In October of 2013, our whirlwind journey began. The next year was a year of bliss, love, and wonderful overwhelming joy.
There was a moment on a swing, two weeks into our relationship, where I said, "I feel like we're sitting in a moment, a moment that's going to change our lives forever." Little did I know then how amazingly accurate this statement would be. We married in June of 2014 and within a month's timeframe I became a step-mom to Josh's beautiful daughter and learned we were expecting.
Photo by Tyler Schmitt @ The Mill Photography Studio
That moment, when the pregnancy test says "YES" and your jaw drops to the floor. How can a person feel shocked, excited, and scared all in the same moment. We absolutely wanted more children but never anticipated it happening so quickly. We were overjoyed. We had a beautiful pregnancy and at 40 weeks and 5 days labor began naturally on the night of April 13th, 2015. As we walked out of the house, I looked at Josh and said, "Let's go have a baby!" Never could we have imagined what would happen next.
We arrived at the birthing center and everything seemed to be going well. Baby's heart rate was good, I was laboring fine, we were on our way. Three hours after our arrival, a moment I never could have fathomed happened...they couldn't find a heartbeat.
What do you mean you can't find it? Go get someone who can! I was in labor and they couldn't find a heartbeat. It took me a few moments to read between the lines of what they were saying. Our baby had passed away. I was torn in two, between my emotional need to fall apart and my physical need to hold it together. I couldn't fall apart, I couldn't let my emotions take over, I had to hold it together long enough to survive labor...so I did.
Josh and I had chosen not to find out the baby's gender. After many hours of labor, it was time. Time to meet our baby, a moment I thought would be filled with joy had suddenly become filled with fear. Could I hold her? What will others say? How do I savor these few precious moments with our baby? Fear was what the anticipation created and yet when the nurse told us it was a girl, all I could do was smile. In that moment all I felt was joy; I had a baby girl and she was all mine. Even though I knew she couldn't come home with me, I knew she was forever mine. My daughter, my Adeline Grace.
As the nurse handed her to me, I smiled through the tears. In that moment, I was overwhelmed with the joy of being her mother.
As I write this today, it's been just over one year since Adeline left this world. Navigating the currents of grief has been quite tricky. You're paddling with the current traveling along the river when all of sudden you hit a rock just beneath the water's surface. You didn't see it coming, and it provides a slight jolt that knocks you off balance. You thought everything was going smoothly and then all of sudden you are stuck. You lean to your left, then to your right, to the edge between a release from the rock and a splash into the water. Release comes and you begin to move again, back into the flow, swiftly down the river.
Everything is good for a while but inevitability you see another obstacle. This time, you can see this one coming but can do nothing to stop it: there are two gigantic boulders in your way. Your boat is too big to squeeze through them. You are stopped in your tracks, unable to move forward. You feel helpless, stuck, wondering "What do I do now?" It might take help from others, it might take creative thinking, it might take walking around, it might take sheer determination or willpower to squeeze through. Or maybe you just sit there and relish in the stillness letting the water rush around your boat. How and when we move through is different for every one of us.
Our therapist (yes, we see a therapist...best decision ever) told us early on that during this journey we'll have to give ourselves a little grace. Some moments will be good and others will not; some days will be good and others will not; some months will be good and others will not. She could not have been more right.
My heart's a little bruised and my boat has a few dents but I am still afloat. My goal moving forward will be to find presence, to be aware enough to address "the rocks and boulders" when they present themselves, while still enjoying the view as I paddle along this beautiful river called life.
Photo by Kendra Merrill
My world is no longer black and white. Adeline does not physically reside here on Earth nor does she fully reside in Heaven. She lives between, in my heart here on Earth and in Heaven. If a person's soul can exist in two different places at the same time, then there are certainly more possibilities for life than what I previously imagined. The rainbow of possibilities are endless.
Adeline's presence in my life has made it mandatory to live my life in alignment with my true self. I've been working towards alignment for some time now but until I met Adeline I was still struggling with embracing my true self and finding the courage to live according to my soul's desires. Adeline has quickly taught me how to live from the heart and to remember that every day we are here is precious gift.
My world is full of colorful possibilities now. Adeline has opened my eyes, given me direction, and provided me with the courage to pursue my soul's desires.
Photo by Kendra Merrill