Cheeks red and aching from laughter, we headed to the car.
I could feel little fingers wiggling through the mittens that met my hands and tried to slow their excitement as it seemed we were moving up and down instead of forwards.
After as many snow-tubing runs as we could manage, we were still giggling over the rush of the afternoon when I saw the pink touch of cloud.
I felt her there just as strongly as the tiny hands in mine and I had to swallow back tears.
But they were not tears of guilt or sadness… they were tears of I’m doing this.
Tears of this-is-what-living-is-like.
And tears of she’s-smiling-down.
Because I know, with every fiber of my broken heart, my daughter is watching over our family.
I know there is nothing more she would want than a mom who’s not afraid to tube down an insanely steep hill and a daddy who is there to laugh with her at the bottom.
I remember the early days of grief, so raw that living the life stretched before me without Hadley seemed unfathomable.
I connected with moms who were in the place I am in now, years away from the day they said goodbye, and could not imagine ever reaching the place they had arrived… that of stepping with one foot and easily bringing the other after it, not a thought borrowed for walking or breathing or getting out of bed each day.
At some point, I realized that moving forward did not mean I was leaving my daughter behind.
I will forever remember her with tears but it is the good times in life that I tuck her memory close and take her spirit right along with me.
The higher the hill the closer her heart to mine.
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