We've made it through the six month anniversary of our baby's death. We were on a much needed vacation with friends of ours, which was a blessing. We didn't really have time to reflect on this anniversary while we were away. Which was actually nice. It was nice to be so busy with joyful things that I didn't have time to think about what we were missing. Here is a picture of our family having fun on a boat ride during our vacation. I promise Isabel had fun too, although you wouldn't think so from her stoic picture taking face.
I think I've moved beyond the "I'm sad on every anniversary" phase. Now grief surprises me less frequently and when I'm not expecting it, but definitely less frequently. But when it does surprise me, I feel the way Isabel looks in that picture. My thoughts drift back to all the events of February.
I had time to contemplate things once we were back home and unpacked. I studied pictures of Mary Grace that we had taken. I went through some of her things that I keep in her memory box. I tried to not let my heart linger there too long. Just enough to "remember" for a few moments.
I still have Mary Grace's funeral remembrance card on our refrigerator. It's in the top left corner. Sometimes I'll look at it and think about taking it down, and one day I did take it out from under the angel magnet that keeps it stuck to the door...but I quickly put it back.
I have not been to her grave in quite some time and I do feel quite guilty over this. I know there is not a rule about how often you should go to visit your loved ones at a graveyard, but I guess when you start feeling guilty it's probably time to go, right?
It's just that it's been so gorgeous here the last week. We are getting the slightly cooler, almost-autumn temps with gentle breezes and it is just glorious! I have been praising God for the beauty of these days and it feels like a contradiction to sit at her grave on a glorious day.
There have been many things to keep me busy this month, that is for sure. Isabel starts preschool tomorrow and I am thrilled and a little heartbroken that the house will be so quiet for three hours on Mondays and Wednesdays. I know I am only looking at 6 hours a week of "Isabel-free" time, but I'm sure it will seem more quiet when you are wishing for a houseful of little voices.
When I filled out Isabel's preschool registration forms in January, there was a space for "siblings" and I remember noting "New sibling for Isabel due July 2009" with a smiley face at the end and exclamation points. Yesterday I turned in paperwork with the same "siblings" section and noted, "Baby sister, Mary Grace due July 11th, 2009, was stillborn in February. Isabel knows that her sister is in heaven and will speak of her frequently."
Time does not stop for grief and we are here, in the present, six months down the road. It is true what they say, "If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it." He has certainly guided us through the last six months and will continue to do so if we let Him.