Sunday, November 15, 2009

17 Months

Yesterday we cleaned the house -- deep cleaned. We all worked really hard. Then we got out the Christmas tree and set it up. Then Dad brought in our new Camille Christmas tree. I bought it after Christmas last year to hold all the angel ornaments. The girls wanted to decorate it.
One by one I unwrapped each ornament and the girls placed them on Camille's tree. With each one I felt the love of the person who took the time to find or make or buy the angel and send it to us. There was so much love in the room. I was so thankful again for all of you who sent us ornaments last year. It was so wonderful to think of Camille -- our own family angel -- as we decorated her tree.

After the tree was decorated we took the girls to Red Robin for dinner with friends. There we ran in to other friends. We saw a family there that we hadn't seen for a long time. Their "baby" was now a kid. The last time we saw them he was a newborn just weeks old. The last time we saw them was when they came to visit us in Camille's hospital room. I was so happy to see her new baby and get to hold him for a minute. I was so happy to hold a baby who moved. I was so aching to have my baby move.

And last night there was this newborn all grown into a kid.

I knew this weekend marked a "Friday the 13th." June 13, 2008 was also a Friday. I never really noticed or cared about Friday the 13ths before. I don't like them so much now. And today is Sunday the 15th. Today is 17 months. Babies born 17 months ago look like little kids now. And my heart - shattered 17 months ago -- is healing well. It is still sore at times, the tears still come easily. But I am healing.

It seems that first year, and especially the first 6 months or so of grief you are in a cocoon of love. At first the angels are so present all around you and the veil is so thin. They help you survive. They are like life support to you. They protect your heart from literally bursting.

In time you feel that heavenly cocoon wear away. But there is still a cocoon of friendship and family that surround and support you. They still hold your heart tenderly in their thoughts and prayers. But one by one, as time passes, there are new emergencies to think of and other problems to pray about. After a while the cocoon of support wears away and little by little we must make our way in the air. I feel I am out of the "cocoon" of new grief and mostly I find my new wings are keeping me in the air. And with these wings I intend to fly forward, not back.


Brittany said...

What a beautiful tree. I love that decoration that you took a close-up picure of. So beautiful. I really love that picture of Camille. What a beautiful little girl.

Rachel said...

We hit our 17 months on Wednesday. I can't believe how much time has come and gone. Wednesday Sophie was the exact age as Emma when she died ... and now Sophie is our oldest. We've now had Sophie longer than we had Emma and it's so hard to realize that. I thought of you this week, knowing that our two sweet little angel girls who came into the world on the same day left the world days apart from each other ... and that we've reached a new milestone.

Diana...aka...MeMe said...

I still think of you often and send prayers your way! The tree is beautiful! The girls are so great at decorating!!

Michael and Natalia said...

What a beautiful post, Stephanie. You have a gift of expressing yourself and describing things how they really are (the cocoon part). We feel exactly the same, as the time passes. I love your angel tree. This picture of Camille is my favorite. I'm so glad I "visited" today.

Christina said...

I am newly grieving- not a child but one of my best friends. She was 35 adn died last week of colon cancer, after a 5 year battle (with 2 years of remission in the middle of that). I have been reading your blog since shortly after Camille's accident, and at the time my friend was in remission and I didn't forsee being in these shoes so soon. The past 6 months, I have known for sure that my friend would pass, and still when I got the news I was in shock. It's funny you use the word cocoon- I had taken a trip to take care of my sister in Utah while she was on her last week of bed rest with her pregnancy and help her with her 21 month old toddler. She didn't know I was coming, I surprised her. It was a trip planned for both of us- I knew she needed help and I needed to breathe. When I planned the trip, the word from the doctor was that she had a week to live. 3 weeks later, when I left, she was still hanging on. I got the news that she had passed 2 hours after arriving at my sister's house. I felt like that week I was in a cocoon- serving my sister and her little family, being away from home in a fresh environment, and the shock that protects you at first. When I got home this week...everything hit hard. YEsterday was the memorial. it is all so raw. My beautiful friend and her sweet's just not right. I have been so grateful that I have followed your journey and am already aware of the roller coaster of emotions that have come and will come as I have watched you write about them. I know it's not the same as losing a child, but this is the closest person I have ever lost, and it is hard to imagine a time where I don't feel like my heart is no longer inside of my body. Thank you for being so brave to share all of your raw emotions as they are- to help others see that the things they feel are all part of the package.

Your Camille tree looks gorgeous.

Love, Christina

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, the tree is beautiful and so was your post.

I am so glad my little angel is hovering on your new Camille tree.



Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tree, and how touching to see our ornament; it was sent to you with so much love. I miss you, Steph.


Brooke said...

Several years ago, my mom was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. She had chemo and radiation and then a mastectomy all within the course of a year. During that year, she felt as though she was wrapped in a cocoon. A cocoon of Heavenly Father's love for her. She felt like she was floating a foot above the ground and was shielded from a lot of other bad things in life as she was trying to fight to stay alive. At the end of that year, she had the opportunity to visit Jerusalem and walk where Jesus walked. She had a special experience on the mount of olives and it was there that she felt her feet touch the ground. She didn't want it to happen, but knew that her time of sole protection and love was ending. She knew that it was time for her to start living other parts of her life. She always misses that feeling of being wrapped so tightly and being carried through such a difficult time. She talks of that experience often, probably trying to remember exactly how it felt.

I think for all of us, there are times when the Savior and Heavenly Father's love feels so strong that we're allowed to float so we can handle the pain of whatever it is we're going through. Isn't it nice to know that They love us and know us individually and value us enough to let us feel that much love?

Anonymous said...

I love your tree; what a wonderful way to celebrate Camille!!! I am glad you are healing. Just know that it is OK to still cry for your Camille. My brother passed away about 17 years ago, and at times, the tears still fall quite easily. However, they fall differently than at the beginning. I miss him still, but can think of him and enjoy the memories I have of him. Time will heal the raw ache, but we will always miss them. It's hard to put into words what I mean, but I think you understand, or will in time. Always thinking of you and praying for you.

Love you!

Judy said...

Such a beautiful tree - for a beautiful little angel girl!

vocalise said...

Beautiful thoughts and lovely photos...

Cheryl said...

I have read your blog for a long time but have yet to comment.

My daughter Lauren, was born the day your daughter Camille, rejoined her Heavenly Father in Heaven. 17 months ago.

I want to thank you for helping me truly enjoy these last 17 months. With two active boys, a husband who's busy with school, no family around and lots to do, your blog has helped me keep things in perspective. I take more time to love, learn, notice, record, play and enjoy my time with my children. When I get stressed out, I drop the vacuum and snuggle with my children.

Thank you for your example and inspiring words. Camille is precious and is so special to you and many others. I wish your family the best this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Anonymous said...

stephanie, it was an honor to be able to send an angel ornament for Camille! also a treat to get one for your girls to each open up and have for their little personal trees! your trees look beautiful and are decorated with love.

i hope you still feel the prayers of people like me- i haven't stopped!

blessings to you,
julie (sacramento