I step carefully near holidays.
Everything is softer in our home.
We are gentler with each other, realizing fallen dreams lean heavily on our shoulders.
As the dates come close, I trace them hopefully, maybe time will make it easier this year.
In many ways it hasn’t in others, it could be yesterday.
So many years later holidays should be easier.
No visible reminders of what I am missing, just a house full of noise and giggles.
I can do this.
But as I sat down to pour my gratitude into words today, I learned of another loss,
another mother who just said goodbye to her little girl.
I read her story of hellos and goodbyes, far too close to one another, and tears of recognition stung my cheeks.
Instantly I was reminded how near grief sits, how close to the surface it waits.
And I let it seep through.
Memories blanketed and I fell as they did.
I thought of my daughter whose hand I should be pressing into a salt dough handprint, who should be wiggling away as I braid her hair and I crumbled.
Whether she was two days or 8o years old I never should have had to say good bye because I am her mom.
Watching your child take their last breath in your arms is not the way life is supposed to work,
but for some reason this is mine.
And if I read my story as you are right now, I would hold it to my heart and not trade it for the most beautifully woven fairytale
because I am Hadley’s mom, just as much as I was the day she was born
and for this I will be forever thankful.
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