I have come to my computer to write so many times in the last month. And I cannot seem to get my thoughts to paper. This is difficult for me. I have always been able to express my feelings through writing, but now I struggle. There are so many things that are affecting me, I am sure. Bryan just got home from a deployment, his first since Natalie’s accident. He was gone 6 weeks. That was hard. We have just passed the 8 month anniversary of Natalie’s death. I am still in shock that she is even gone, much less that it happened 8 months ago. I have been to the hospital several times for check-ups and lab work. Nothing to worry about…but every trip to the hospital is difficult. Walking in reminds me of walking in the first time. Walking out reminds me of the night we said good-bye. I am thankful that I go to a different floor than the one Natalie was on. We are closer to Alie’s arrival. I will admit…I am scared. I know we will be fine, adjustment will be difficult, and we will be joyful as we grieve. All of these play into what I am feeling, and how I deal with all of this.
While Bryan was gone, Emily and I went on a mini vacation. We ventured to the cabin, Briarpatch, in North Georgia with Mom and Dad, Kimberly and Mark. We had not been there, as a family, in about 15 years so this was well overdue. We had a great visit, Emily ran Kimmie and Mark to exhaustion, and made lots of new memories in a place that holds so many wonderful childhood memories for me. My first trip to the mountains of North Georgia was in October of 1980. I was 2 ½ years old then. And I literally grew up there. Last summer, I took the girls there. It was the first part of a 2 week trip on sharing all my childhood favs with Emily and Natalie. I have to say…that was one of the best decisions of my life. I am sad that Bryan was not able to go with us, but I am so glad that Natalie experienced all of those things before we lost her. Being at the cabin was hard this year. I never thought it would be a place that would bring tears to my eyes but it did this year. I kept thinking of last year, of all the things we did together, places we visited, and I kept thinking that we will share all of it with Alie as well next summer. I don’t know how many times I looked at the pictures to remember what a happy place it really is, despite my sadness this year. I wish Bryan had been there to help me through it, although I know it was important for him to do what he was doing. Thankfully my family was so supportive and understanding. I do have to admit that it was nice being at the cabin. There is no cell service (to speak of), no internet, no TV, just nature and the company with you to keep you busy. It is relaxing. We are planning on going next year, this time with Bryan and Alie joining us. And I cannot wait to share the farm with them. Hopefully the cows will still be there next year…I know Emily will want to share them with Alie. She loves the cows!
Bryan has now been home for a week, and Corey is back as well. It seems that life is getting back to normal, but it is really a strange “new normal” that we are all living now. There is an obvious absence in our midst, one that makes me a little uncomfortable.
Court has also been postponed again. This was difficult to hear. I really want this part to be over. I feel like it just continues to drag and as I prepare to have to listen to the details of the day again, I am crushed again by having to wait. The bad news of all of this…the new date is after Alie arrives and after Bryan will leave for his 6 month deployment. And this whole scenario, which should have been resolved about 2-3 months ago, does not really have an end in sight.
I think yesterday was the hardest though. Last year, we spent the 4th at the cabin, actually at Rib Country eating amazingly wonderful ribs until we exploded. This year we headed to Town Point Park, where we always go to watch fireworks, and it was weird. I spent the whole time thinking about how we never took Nat to see the fireworks, she never went to Town Point for our annual tradition, and that last year was her one and only July 4th. I wanted to cry, hide, change things somehow. I wanted her back. I wanted her to experience that. This year was so similar to 2 years ago. I was pregnant with Nat then and it was Corey’s first year with us. This year we were all back together there, pregnant with Alie this time. So similar, but so very different. I think we all knew that she was missing and she would have loved the lemonade, the singing, playing on the grass, dancing with her sister. Can I just say…this sucks! I have grown to really not like holidays. I am grateful that there are only about a dozen of them. Maybe after the first year and the “she was here last year but now she is not” moments have passed it will get a bit better.
Alie is doing well. We got a peek at her the other day at my check-up. She looks great, weighing about 4 lbs. She is kicking tons, moving all the time, and making it difficult for me to sleep. But, that is how it should be and I am enjoying every moment of this. Next Saturday we are going to do a 3-D untrasound and I cannot wait to check out her chubby cheeks. I am sure they are chubby…both Em and Nat had them so she has little chance of escaping that family trait. Plus, it is an extra look at her and how well she is doing. Emily is excited. When we had Natalie’s 3-D, Emily got scared that they were hurting me and we had a hard time convincing her otherwise. This time, she is so excited to see her. Nine months is a long time to wait when you are 4 years old and she lets us know just about everyday. When I explain that she is too small to come home now and would have to stay at the hospital if she was born now, Emily quickly changes her mind and wants her to stay in my tummy. Officially we are just under 2 months from my due date, but she will be here at the very end of August. It is getting close and we have so much left to prepare for her arrival…we better get busy.
That is about it for now…we are here, we are hanging in, we are surviving. We are excited for the new beginning that will be here shortly and we are grieving still for the lost moments of our sweet baby girl. I guess the best way to say it would be, “We are.” I can start so many sentences with this…and I don’t think that will change anytime soon.
Good night all...
Hillary, Bryan, Emily, especially our angel baby Natalie, and our kicking Alie