Saturday, December 16, 2017

34 to 43 Looking in a Mirror

Today marks my 43rd birthday. I have always had a thing with numbers. I love symmetry and the perfectness of how ordered certain numbers can be. I find balance in them. Some numbers stick with me or stand out to me. The number 16 has always been a favorite. It is the day of my birth and a perfect square of a perfect square.

So in this birthday of 43, my mind has wandered to its mirror image year of 34. I remember distinctly my 34th year. I documented every day of it on this blog. I particularly remember thinking in a poignant moment, "34 is too young to be visiting your daughter's grave."

10 years ago, with 4 little girls we were anticipating moving into a new home in less than a month. Life with 4 little girls was not easy but I loved it. Sabrina was in first grade, Jon was working from home and my parents had recently returned from their mission. We were living in their house. I was 33.
My four little girls. 

By the time I turned 34, I was a different woman--an old woman. I felt old. That year aged me like no other could. It felt so strange to feel so old and not to have the number of my age match how I felt. Now, at 43, I feel like my number is slowly but surely catching up to how I feel. So I own my number. I welcome each year. And while I enjoy the present and am savoring each day with my kids here in my home, each year is also one year closer to seeing this face again.

Camille 10 years ago.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Cami Kindness Week 2017

April 19th is Camille's birthday, which mean today is the first day of Cami Kindness Week! I would like to invite anyone who sees this to join us in doing random acts of kindness this week in Camille's honor. We like to think this world, at least for this week, is a little better place for her having been here.

I can't believe it has been almost 9 years now. She would be turning 10 this week. Wow. As news came to me this week of friends of friends who are in that fog of grief having just lost their child, I was reflecting on just how far we have come. I can still recall those early days with great clarity, but 99% of the time I think of Camille with a smile now instead of sorrow.

I still think of her every day. I still ache to my core to hold her and smell her and feel her moving in my arms. But, I do see purpose in her life and feel its continuation beyond the veil of death. I have times when I feel her near and often I feel her influence in our lives.

This Easter season, I send up my gratitude once more for the Savior of the world whose perfect love was manifest in His sacrifice that conquered both spiritual and physical death. He has swallowed up my grief. His gift of life gives me hope. This is the Gospel -- the Good News of Jesus Christ. He lives. And because He lives so does she and so will we all. Glory to God on High.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Unexpected Grief

When Camille died, I expected I would be grieving in some form or other the rest of my life. I expected to share that with my husband and to some degree my daughters. We knew her and held her and loved our little Camille.

What I didn't expect was to have my sons, who were born after Camille passed away, to grieve over her loss as well. My sons know about Camille. We talk about her in our family, but not everyday. I still think about her everyday, but there are often long stretches of time when we don't talk about her.

So today, when my 5-year-old came to me with a sad face and I asked him why he was sad, his answer surprised me. "I miss Cami." His older brother pointing out that he never knew Cami didn't make Harrison feel any better. He said that the thought of her just popped into his head and he just missed her and was sad that she died.

I asked if he wanted to see picture of her. He said he did and climbed up on my lap as I started a slide show of photos and video we have of her. As pictures faded into other pictures all with her sweet face in them, I felt him turn a bit and wrap his arms around me. He snuggled his head more securely into me, while still able to see the screen. And he sobbed. He watched the pictures of the baby sister he never knew come and go and just cried.

After a good cry, he felt better and we got on with our day. But, I was left with a renewed awe of the eternal bonds of family. I know families are meant to be eternal units. Those feelings of longing and loss and love that accompany family ties, even to those members of our family we never met in this life, are evidence of this to me.

I look forward to that day when the longing and loss are gone and we are together again enjoying the fullness of Love that can be offered by Family.