"Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”
-William Shakespeare

I've been dreading this day.  There have many days I wanted to come to this blog.  To write the feelings I was having but with everything going on it seemed like just too much to try and feel these feelings too.  I pushed them to the side.  Until things happened that made me see them.  Like when my neighbor had her baby.  Whenever Henry or Hannah talked about the baby that died.  When the wind blew my mementos of Hope on the floor and I had to go back and look through my pile of remembrances.  

When the pandemic started I feel like I had to push the feelings of grief to the side.  I had to go into survival mode.  I became the teacher to Henry and Hannah, I grappled with the uncertainties of what our future would look like.  The same thing everyone else was feeling and I just couldn't deal with the grief on top of it so I pushed it to the side.

Until today. 

People asked me what I had planned for this day and I told them I couldn't think about it.  I knew I had my tree to plant.  That was as far as my planning went.  The friends that sat with me those first couple days and helped guide me through all the hard decisions of how to remove Hope from my body reached out and created a way to honor her when I wasn't capable of thinking about it myself.

They created the day of Hope.  And they created it in a way that gave me the space to mourn and take it at my own pace.  They asked that those that wanted to support me to plant a tree, a flower, an herb, any plant and tag it on social media so that I could go through my feed and see beautiful flowers and plants.  They knew how much I loved plants and how it's one of the many ways I feel like I've tried to work through these feelings.  It was perfect.  

Along with this I've been running.  I started running pretty consistently as soon as I was able to have the strength.  It was one of my outlets and I kept up with it.  I did the C25K program and ran my 5k.  And then I kept going and tried to get to the point to where I could run a 10k.  I struggled with it.  I was supposed to complete it a couple of weeks ago but I couldn't.  I was just short of the mileage and I just couldn't make it through.  So I decided that I would finish my 10K on my due date.

It seemed right for multiple reasons.  Running helped me deal with the emotions in a healthier way.  Running it on my due date felt like that even though I went through something super hard I can still be strong.  Running was a way that I felt I could honor Hope and running it felt like a show of how far I had come from starting out where I couldn't even walk to the bathroom without help to 7 months later being able to run 6 miles.  

I asked another good friend that has been there for me to run it with me.  I was hesitant to include anyone in this because I felt like I should do it alone but then I had the realization that at no point through this journey have I ever been alone.  I've had friends, family and my Savior and Heavenly Father who strengthened me and help pull me up when I couldn't stand.  

At 6am this morning my friend drove up and we started the run.  I've run the same course for 2 weeks previous except for the .12 miles at the end.  While running I prayed and also talked to Hope.  There were times that I told her I couldn't do it, it was too hard.  There were times that I told her I would do it for her because she wasn't going to get the chance to run.  And I made it.  At the end my emotions almost spilled over but for some reason I felt like I couldn't allow that yet.  I couldn't allow myself to feel it yet.  And so I pushed through.  

The rest of the morning I ran errands and I chose not to feel.  But then my sweet husband told me he wrote me an email the night before and I could read it when I was ready.  I read it and I feel like it was as if someone hit a wrecking ball to my dam of emotions I was trying to hold back.  Small moments of emotion overwhelmed me like cracks in the dam but I pushed it to the side.  

The rest of the day I went along as normal, trying to keep it all at bay.  And then it cooled down and I knew I needed to plan my Hope tree.  I became angry.  I was so very angry.  I was so angry that it was so difficult.  Angry that I didn't know where to put it.  Angry that the flowers fell off.  Angry that my kids weren't willing to help.  Angry that my husband took too long to bring the tiller over.  Just angry.  I didn't want to be having to plant a tree to remember a baby that I wouldn't get to meet in this lifetime.  

After we finished getting the tree in Nick took the kids inside to put them to bed.  I stayed outside and went to sit in the chair next to the tree and flower we had planted and the moment I sat down the dam of emotions broke.  It was too much to hold in anymore.  I sobbed and sobbed.  The same question ringing in my ears.  Why?!  I still don't understand why and I don't think I'll understand the why in this lifetime and sometimes its hard to take.  I thought about the things I was missing out on this day.  I thought about the feelings I had when Henry and Hannah were placed in my arms and how I was missing out on that experience with Hope.  I thought about the exhausted joy that I was going to miss out on.  I was missing out on watching Henry and Hannah get to know their new baby.  I thought about all the things that were supposed to be.  

It's 9 months later and the same questions and the same feelings are still there.  I don't know if they will ever go away.  It's still confusing.  There are moments I feel relieved because I love the dynamic with have with the kids as we are.  There are moments when I feel such intense grief that I can't push through the day.  There are days where I feel like it was all a dream.  There are days where I question myself if I'm making too big a deal of this.  

Then there are moments where I wish I could go back to the months right after because those moments were some of the hardest but most tender moments of my life.  I've never felt the Lord's hand in my life so vividly as I did then.  I felt strengthened.  I felt like every moment of every day I had my Savior and Heavenly Father there with me.  It was amazing and I miss it.  

I wish I could write this blog today and tell you how far I've come from when I first lost Hope but I have to be completely honest and say that sometimes I feel like I've regressed.  I feel like I've lost the clarity that I had.  I feel like I haven't been dealing my feelings in a healthy way.  But as I sit here thinking that I realize that is what grief is like.  I feel like it's two steps forward and one step back.  Grief can be so confusing.  And I feel like trying to grieve right now with all that is going on is daunting.

I know there have been good things that have come out of this experience.  I know I've become a more compassionate person  I know that it's taught me to be better at mourning with those that mourn.  I know that I've learned truths that I'm not sure I could have learned any other way.  I just hate admitting these things sometimes because then I feel like I'm saying I'm glad I lost Hope.  Which I'm not.  There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about her.  Again it's confusing and uncomfortable.  

I don't have great wisdom to share in this post.  All I can write is that I'm still sad.  It's still hard.  I still struggle.  But at the same time I can function.  I can find joy.  The waves that come drown me for a few moments but most days I'm able to stay afloat.  Most days it almost feels like I've imagined the waves that I know tried to drown me before.  


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