Dear Adeline | Learning to Live With, Not Without, You
It’s been two years since you came into our lives, sweet baby girl. Two long and hard years...
I almost didn’t write this letter today.
I wanted to, I really did, but my heart was hesitant.
I’ve been doing ok, sweetheart. I’ve been finding ways to live this new reality we call “life after loss."
Writing to you and revisiting those memories means I would have to acknowledge the pain and the hurt once again. I wasn’t sure my heart could handle it. I was afraid flood gates would open and consume me, and I wasn’t sure I had the strength to allow these emotions to return to the surface again.
I just wasn’t sure.
And yet here I am, writing.
Because I want a life full of love and with that comes the prospect of intersecting with the pain of loss.
Because the joy of knowing you far outweighs the hurt of losing you.
Because you, my love, will never be forgotten.
Because our futures will forever be with you, not without.
You will always be in my heart and in my thoughts… Everything I do these days is a direct result of knowing you. Even if we only got to hold you for a moment, we will forever be holding you in our hearts.
Last weekend, your dad and I went to one of our favorite spots, a coffee shop by a running trail along the waterfront. It’s kinda the perfect combination for us. He needed the peace of his feet methodically moving along the trail, and I needed to sit still and breathe.
So off he went and I found a spot on the porch.
It was a beautiful day, as the sun was shining down, a slight breeze in the air (which is rare for Texas). As I sat overlooking a boathouse, I watched teams of rowers loading and unloading their boats. I listened to the table of teenagers sitting next to me talking about prom and heckling their friends down at the boathouse as runners and dog walkers came in for their morning coffee.
There was a buzz in the air, Adeline.
I felt a hum of energy around me; it was light carefree. Everyone was enjoying the company of their friends, laughing, working together towards common goals, giving and receiving hugs and smiles. So many smiles.
All of this made me wonder, “Would I ever feel that light again?”
Would I ever be able to smile without a hint of sadness peaking through?
When your dad and I first met, your half sister used to refer to me as “kid-like” because I would swing on the swings, color in coloring books, play games, and jump into the water feet first. I haven’t heard her refer to me in that manner in some time and so I wonder, "Do I know too much about the realities of life to ever find that carefree, lighthearted spirit again? Can I find my way back to a place where the air is light and the laughter resounds, or am I forever destined to live in the shadows of my sadness?"
After a few days of reflection, the answer I’ve come up with is “Yes” and “No."
Yes, because I can make conscious choices to engage in my life more fully. I can slow down and pay attention to my life enough so that I can notice when a light-hearted moment is possible. I can grab onto those moments and relish, once again, in the freedom I find in smiling and laughing.
And no, because I will never be exactly the same person as I was before knowing you. The experience of knowing you, holding you, loving you has changed me forever.
Love you so very much, Adeline Grace.