cards.

I was looking at wrapping paper the other day at Target when I turned the aisle and saw them- Christmas cards. The exact ones that I sent out the year she died. Just days before she died I was signing her sweet name to the card.

I burst into tears.

Shane asked if I wanted to send any out this year and I really don’t want to. I decided that if someone sent me one I would send one back to them, but when the time came to fill them out it was too much so I ended up sending them to my mom, in-laws and my dad. I couldn’t even bring myself to write anything inside except “The Hayes Family”. That’s it.

Because how do you decide if you should include your dead daughters name on the christmas card? Do you then include the unborn child you’re carrying? I didn’t include Kenley in some cards, and in some others I did…I remember thinking about how I was jinxing my pregnancy by writing her name in the cards…

I hate this fucking Holiday. I really really do. It’s so painful, and hurtful in so many ways when it’s supposed to be so exciting and cheerful. Nope. Not for me. The holiday makes me feel like I want to curl up and die. It makes me physically sick to my stomach. It makes me angry, and frustrated, and grumpy. It makes me feel the grief so much heavier and louder.

I just can’t believe how close we are to her second birthday. I don’t even have anything planned. I don’t know what to plan. I want to do something but I have zero emotional strength right now and I am afraid I’m going to just let the days tick by and bam it will be here and I will have nothing for her on that day.

Grief has a hold of me and is making it nearly impossible to get anything done. I cleaned the toy room the other day and I literally could have slept for 5 days afterward. I can’t keep up with house work. The laundry needs done. Shane has been working 6 day work weeks for the past month, and I am sinking fast and hard over here.

I knew it would happen. I knew the days leading up to her day would be awful. I knew it.

I just miss her so much that its all I can do.

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giving.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing keeping me sane during this month is giving back. I’ve always wanted to adopt a family for Xmas but every year I’m too late and once again this year I suck and can’t find a way to do it. BUT! I’ve been giving back in other ways. I’ve donated to my sweet friend Alison’s project in honor of her daughter, Meredith (find it here!), I plan to donate a toy to another friends project, complete my random 3 (acts of kindness) for FJB who was born still a year exactly before Kenley, and there are tons more things I’m planning on doing this season to help heal my heart.

I found a wonderful project to help fill Kenley’s stocking on Christmas morning, and I hope that it works out but I’m also terrified. I cry a lot at Christmas. This year will be no different I’m sure and to read these cards sent to my daughter…I hope it warms my heart. If you would like to participate please let me know.

Tonight Alden fell asleep in the car and when Shane got out to get her out he called for me to come look at her. He said “who does she look like?”…Kenley. Exactly like Kenley. It was so weird to see…and when you put the pictures side by side it isn’t the same as when I saw her tonight. I can’t believe how similar they look! I know they’re sisters but at birth you’d never have been able to tell!

I’ve been having a hard time lately; the Holidays are the WORST. I’m trying to stay occupied and what not but I have no motivation, no drive to complete anything, and I’m getting completely overwhelmed by the smallest tasks. My boxes from IKEA we’re supposed to be here today and they’re not…the friend who made the majority of my hats and blankets hasn’t told me when she plans to ship them and I need them asap, just a million things on my plate and I can’t seem to pick one and work on it.

We have a leak in our roof.

Our dishwasher broke.

I’ll keep going….

But instead I’ll just leave these adorable pictures here. It makes my heart swell with love thinking that this is possibly what Kenley would have looked like except with dark hair…

for my children.

If it were up to me, I would not put up a tree anymore. When your child dies 4 days after Christmas you just kind of really don’t give a shit about the Holiday anymore and would rather ignore it.

Instead, for my children, we bought our tree tonight. Seeing Alden look at it broke my heart and made me smile all at the same time. Landon loves Christmas time so he was excited and couldn’t wait to put the ornaments on. Which he did…pretty much all in the same spot.

I love my children and I will do anything to make them happy…and if that means I smile through tears every year at Christmas just to see them happy…I will gladly do so.

the ribbon made a K….I know she was there with us.

thanksgrieving.

Today was hard. I figured it would be, it IS a holiday so of course it’s going to feel awful because one of my children is dead. I tried to block it out and pretend it was just another day but as the day rolled on it became unbearable.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade made me cry… three times. I understand that it’s a huge thing, but I hate it. Don’t need to see tons of Christmas floats, or fucking JoJo Siwa taking selfies for her 6 million IG followers, and I REALLY don’t need to hear Christmas music, on Thanksgiving, while waiting to see Santa on a float full of toys and reindeer. No thanks.

Landon ran to the screen when Santa came on and I started crying. It just broke my heart. He is still such a little kid at heart and I forget that sometimes because he’s so smart and acts so mature. But, he’s six.

I’m so thankful for Landon, and his health and everything he brings to my life. He made me a Mommy, and has molded me into the woman I am. He gave me patience I never knew I had (or was capable of honestly), and he has given me so much joy over his lifetime.

I’m so thankful Alden is here, alive and healthy to celebrate her first Thanksgiving. She enjoyed plenty of goodies today such as: Turkey, Yams, pieces of a croissant, cheese, mashed potatoes, and some pumpkin pie. She has brought so much light to my darkness and made me feel things I literally thought I would never feel again. She smiles at me and I just want to cry because she loves me so much. I am her everything and for that, I am truly thankful.

I’m (surprised) and thankful for the little girl growing inside of me. She doesn’t know how lucky she truly is, and I can’t wait to love her and give her an amazing life.

I’m thankful for my hardworking Husband who stayed home by himself today because he had to work. This is the first Thanksgiving in 13 years that we have been apart, I believe. He usually has the day off but due to schedule changes that didn’t happen this year. I love him more than he will ever be able to comprehend, and I am so thankful for everything he has given me over our relationships timeline. He has made me into the wife that I am today and I am so thankful to walk this journey with such an amazing man by my side.

And finally, I’m thankful for Kenley. I wish that she were here every single second of every single day (this is not an exaggeration), and I would give anything to make that happen. I’m so thankful that she made me a mom for a second time. There was a time in my life where I thought I would never be able to have any more children. When we received our dismal infertility diagnosis I thought it was all over, but I pressed on and knew I wanted more babies. Then, she came to me. After an intense round of fertility treatments I was pregnant. With a sweet baby girl nonetheless. I was pregnant with my lifelong best friend.

I’m so thankful that she only knew love, and Christmas music; That she was always warm and never knew pain. I’m thankful that she got to take baths with me, and go to Harry Potter world in Florida, and fly on a plane! I’m thankful for the 38 weeks and 4 days that I carried her, and talked to her, and loved her.

I am so thankful to be her Mommy, but my Mommy heart is so heavy during these times. While these things are things I’m thankful for, I’m also grieving them. I will never get to tell her about Harry Potter world and how I had to eat so frequently to avoid puking while we were there. Or, how we said we would bring the kids back someday because it was so cool.

I grieve the loss of every Holiday without her. I grieve the loss of the normal days, too. The learning I’ll never witness, the identification of colors and numbers and who Mommy or Daddy are. Her smile. Her laugh. Her voice. Her grasping my finger while she eats. Her cry. It’s everything. I will never have another day with one of my children and sometimes I truly believe people forget that.

Yes, it has almost been 2 years since she died, but she is still and always will be my daughter. I will always long for another second with her and it will always be impossible. She is always missing from our family. She will always be a missing seat at our table.

This year, I am thankful for so much, but I am also grieving.

Ramblings.

I’m getting a pedicure and these two women walk in and sit across from me…a few minutes later a bit walks in and everyone just stares at each other. This kid, like 16-17?, walks up to the women across from me and he SMELLS to high heaven of weed. I thought my pedicurist was going to die.

Also, why do people think it’s appropriate to answer their cell phone, on speaker, in public? I do not give a flying fuck about your conversation. And if you’re mumbling so no one can understand you it’s even worse. Speak clearly it’s not that hard!!! How lazy can you be! Such a pet peeve.

Andplusalso I wish I knew what the pedicurist was saying because I’m sure I would laugh right along with her.

I counted up my pjs for donation this morning: 44 girl, and 37 boys. I also counted the hats and blankets I have: 37 total hats, and 2 blankets. I’m waiting for a friend to send me 40 hats and 40 blankets! I cannot wait.

Today it snowed for the first time. Just tiny little flurries, but snow nonetheless. When I saw it I just cried. Two snowy seasons without her. Landon’s school binder is already into December…it’s blowing my mind and making me feel overwhelmed and anxious.

I cannot believe it’s freaking almost Thanksgiving already…ugh. Time just seems to move way too fast, and way too slow all at the same time…

I’m currently 22 week pregnant and baby girl is growing right on track. She was measuring about 3 days ahead which isn’t abnormal and I’m surprised she isn’t measuring farther. I set my next few appts and one is in January already. I can’t believe it! I feel like Alden was just born and now we’re going to have another one.

What is happening!

Landon has strep throat. He went to his first sleep over on Friday night and the mom called at midnight to ask if she could give him Tylenol because his throat hurt but he didn’t want to come home. The next morning she called around 8:45 and said he wanted to come home. Poor guy was crying when I got there. He came home and slept until 1:45! When he got up, he had a fever of 104. I kept taking his temp every 15 minutes and it just stayed consistently that high. When Shane got home I took him to urgent care. Sure as shit, strep.

I hope Alden doesn’t get it…she had a REALLY rough night last night (bed at 7, up at 9:30, and I couldn’t get her to sleep until close to 1:00-1:30- I lost track of time). Finally I just decided to put her in our bed for a bit and usually that gets her to calm down but this time it didn’t. She just kept screaming and wouldn’t calm down. FINALLY she passed out and at 2:00 I put her back in her crib.

She then woke up at 5:03 and I fed her. I decided I would try to get her back to sleep and it worked (hello, exhaustion) and she ended up sleeping until 7:00ish. She’s been pretty great all day, all things considered.

I think it will be an early bedtime for everyone tonight.

early morning convo.

Shane: “We sure do make beautiful children”

Me: ” Yeah, we do” (cue tears) “I fucking hate the Holidays…I can’t believe we should have an almost 2 year old”

Shane: “I know, I can’t believe it; I hate them too. I wonder what she would look like. I think she would be dainty and skinny just because she was smaller when she was born. She would be a ball of energy too”

Me: ” I don’t let myself think about it as a defense mechanism, I think, but when I do go there I think that she would have cute little brown pig tails…” *tears*

Shane: “It’s only our second Holiday without her. It’s still fresh, even if it’s not AS fresh, it’s still new for us”

Me: *tears*

 

girls night.

Last night I went out with a couple girlfriends of mine. We went to an outdoor mall, then to the movies where we could order dinner while watching the show. It was so much fun, and I’m really glad I went! We saw the movie Bad Moms 2 and it was so dumb funny- exactly what I needed on a night out.

I won’t lie, when I heard that it was about Christmas I kind of wanted to run and hide and make up an excuse to not go because ALL things Christmas make me want to die. Just the time of year alone sends chills down my spine; thinking of my pregnancy timeline with Kenley brings the white hot lightning feeling no matter what.

I’m pretty proud of myself that I was able to mentally check out enough to enjoy the show and not let the Christmas theme cause me serious anxiety. There are so many Christmas things happening and it just kind of sucks. Like…I know it’s coming. I can’t stop it, I can’t ignore it because I have living children who deserve to enjoy the holiday and experience the happiness that it should be. I want to have my consciousness wiped from Halloween until about….February 6th.

Just let me muddle through the everyday crap until all the holidays are gone and it’s one day before Landon’s birthday. But god even THAT causes me severe anxiety and sadness. I remember his birthday right after she died…it was so sad. My poor baby boy, and my poor sweet girl who wasn’t there to enjoy it. Who never will be….

I dunno. These times just bring out the darkness. Everything seems SO heavy and awful. Thinking about celebrating thanksgiving makes me want to curl up and not leave my home. And well…Christmas can go suck on a lemon.

I know these holidays will be different because Alden’s here and I will be slightly distracted by her presence and probably enjoy myself somewhat but it’s just the worst feeling knowing you have a piece of your family missing. It’s awkward and sad and frustrating as hell. We will always be that family with the dead child. Always. And sure maybe other people don’t view us that way or will eventually stop viewing us that way but I WONT EVER STOP VIEWING US THAT WAY.

Timelines suck. I will forever be thinking of what I was doing on X day at X time around the time Kenley died. I will FOREVER blame my OB for not encouraging me to go to L&D, but instead making me feel like a burden. I hope Kenley’s death weighs heavy on that OBs office for fucking EVER.

I wish I would have been strong enough to advocate for myself…just more confident in trusting my gut…maybe just maybe.

It’s so hard to think these things, and I find myself shoving the grief down more and more lately, or maybe it’s not even that so much as it’s just settled into my life now? I’m used to my grief; there isn’t much that changes about it these days.

It’s here. It’s part of my life and will always be a part of my family.

My grief is me and I am my grief.