I am often in awe at the amount of healing Logan and I have been blessed with over the past year. If you would have shown me a glimpse of our lives one year into the future before Eli died, I would have absolutely told you that the only reason we felt this much happiness and peace is because he had gotten out of the hospital and was on the road to recovery. The sting of losing Eli doesn't get any weaker, but we continue to get stronger and have a greater ability to handle it
Don't get me wrong, there are often days that we continue to struggle. We still experience tears, great heartache and "if onlys". Simple things like walking through Target and seeing the adorable little boy clothes tug at my heartstrings. Thinking of Summer coming is tough because I can't help but imagine how much fun we would have had watching Eli swim and play outside. Four little boy cousins were or will be born by this summer and I know he would have had so much fun with them. In just over a month he would have been old enough for nursery (isn't that crazy?!) and I know we would have loved dropping him off for the first time. If I'm not thinking about these happy things that could have been, I sometimes catch myself reliving the not-so-happy days Eli lived. It breaks my heart that he went through so much and experienced so much pain yet there was nothing we could do to relieve it or even explain to him why he was feeling the way he was. During the days that I feel down, I try to remind myself of some great advice I recently read: "…No matter how good or bad I have it, I must wake up each day thankful for my life, because someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs. Truth be told, happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them...”
One of the most common questions we get is: "How are you REALLY doing?" Honestly? We are genuinely happy. Of course we wish Eli was still with us but I would never wish away what we've experienced because of how much we've grown. I feel like an entirely different person from who I was 12+ months ago. My perspective on life, our marriage, my relationship with my family and friends and my goals have all vastly changed--in a positive way. I love who I've become and consider it one of my greatest blessings.
Hope. We have a lot of it. We have high expectations for our future and what it holds. One year from now Logan will be done with school and I'm sure there will be other exciting changes in our lives as well. (No, this is NOT an announcement!) People continue to wonder when we'll expand our family but we honestly don't have an answer because we still don't know ourselves. Some of you may recall that pregnancy was not kind to me. From about 5 weeks along until nearly 6 months postpartum I had a rough road and it was tough on both me and Logan. Physical challenges aside, neither of us is quite ready emotionally. The loss of Eli continues to weigh on us, some times more than others, and we want to be a bit more stable before we bless our lives with another baby. And, of course, the IVF journey we've chosen isn't exactly as easy as pie. We still need more time to work out all of the logistics.
If I think too much about all of the physical, emotional and IVF hurdles ahead of us I tend to get overwhelmed but then I remind myself that everything will fall into place exactly when and how it's supposed to. Right now, we aren't ready for another baby but we may wake up tomorrow and feel very differently. We will continue to trust that there is a specific plan and timing for that plan and know that if we do our part, the Lord will do the rest.
Without a doubt, one of the main reasons Logan and I have come so far this past year is because of the support we have received from so many people. Whether you're family, a close friend, a distant friend or simply a blog reader, we've needed each and every one of you. I now make a conscious effort to pray for those in need because I know how much every prayer helps. To those of you who have been with us in some capacity or another along this journey, thank you. Just as I said HERE, I continue to pray for each one of you.
Today has been a tender day. Unlike a birthday or anniversary, there's no way to prepare for an anniversary like this. We planned on staying home with just each other today because we had no idea how we'd be feeling. I woke up knowing the day was special, knowing the day was different, but not having a clue what to do about it. It's not a day you truly celebrate but it's not a day I want to mourn either. We experienced our greatest heartache on this day one year ago but we also experienced great relief knowing our baby was finally free of pain. Our hearts hurt every day that Eli is gone but also feel happiness knowing where he is. To say our emotions have been confused today is an understatement.
I'm so glad this day fell on a Sunday. Logan and I attended church and didn't have anything else we had to do. After church we took lunch over to the cemetery and had a picnic. I feel very spoiled since Eli passed so close to Memorial Day because the cemetery is so beautiful and the weather is perfect around this time. As we ate we listened to his funeral services for the first time. It was wonderful but difficult hearing all of those words again. I cried and laughed as Logan talked about the things that made Eli happy or mad. What a journey we had. After listening to the services we read the blog posts from when Eli was in the hospital and watched the video that was shown at his funeral. I could stay at the cemetery forever but it started to get warm so we decided to pack up after a couple hours and get out of the sun.
This text from my Sister-In-Law made me so happy. Eli and Lily were just a couple months apart and would have been best friends, I'm sure of it. Lily loves talking to Eli's pictures and apparently tried giving him kisses today :)
Oh, remember how I mentioned it got warm?
Am I pasty or what?! Goodness gracious. I hope that's not a sign for how my summer will be!
After visiting the cemetery we sat on the couch and watched all the videos we took of Eli. Most of them don't have great meaning but it's so fun remembering what our everyday lives were like in the hospital. We laughed as we watched the videos and were reminded of all the funny things Eli did. I cherish having those videos more than I ever thought I would.
Overall, the day has been very nice. There's no doubt we have felt Eli with us all day and I promise there's no greater comfort in the world. Each time I get discouraged or feel like I can't get out of bed one morning I try to remind myself that Eli wants us to be happy. The last thing I want is to let him down so I will continue to live each day striving to make him proud.
Until we meet again, little man!
Some of you may recall that Eli had the opportunity to be a part of the Primary Children's Hospital annual telethon last year. We had such a neat experience with it and were so grateful for the opportunity. We received a call a couple weeks ago from someone at the hospital asking if we would be willing to do a follow up interview during the telethon this year. Their biggest concern was that we were up for it emotionally and at a point in the grieving process that we would feel comfortable giving an interview. Logan and I assured them we were emotionally ready to do that and would be honored to be a part of the telethon again. I had/still have one reservation: The interview is LIVE! Put me in front of a keyboard and ask me to write and I'll feel very comfortable. Put me in front of a camera for an interview and I'll feel nervous and will probably stutter a bunch but constantly remind myself that they can edit out any awful moments. Put me in front of a LIVE camera and I'll be a nervous wreck! Remember the wonderful prayers all of you said for us for so long? Well, they worked miracles once (and still do) so I would thoroughly appreciate those prayers again as we prepare for this interview (I'm totally serious!). The time may change but for those of you interested in watching, the telethon will air live on KSL (6:00-8:00) on Saturday, June 7th and our interview will be around 7:10pm.
Finally, I had the unique opportunity about a week and a half ago to write a guest post on eternal families for a very neat blog. You can read it HERE. So many thanks to the sweet blog author for providing me this chance to get my thoughts on the topic written down. Even though they were all in my head, many things made a lot more sense to me after I organized them in writing.