One year ago today, I wrote the post "After"...it was the first post I wrote after we lost Rip, and it was my 30th birthday. In it I said that I wanted to keep this blog going for a year, I wanted to see how my life changed after that devasting loss.
Some things haven't changed...there are still no words to adequately express how much we loved and love that little boy, how much his life means in our lives. There are still days when I feel very lonely, confused and so so sad.
But more days than not, I have felt hopeful and thankful. On that day a year ago, I hoped for a year that, despite our loss, was filled with love, laughter and maybe even a baby.
I have never experienced love like I have this year. I've learned that even in the worst situations, there can be good and the good that has come out of our situation has been the love...I never would have imagined that I could feel so loved by family, friends and total strangers. It makes all of the difference on those lonely days. I think I've also learned how to really love...the kind of love that comes with an open heart and will make my life worth living.
And we have laughed. Sometimes it has been hard to find anything to laugh about, but I am lucky to have a family that can find humor when it is needed most. That has been the other lesson I have learned from all of this, laughter is so importnant. Life is hard, but it is going to be so much harder if you can't find something to laugh about.
As for the baby, I am so chock full of baby right now that I feel like I have one of the suction-cupped Garfields stuck to my insides, with a different appendage in every nook and cranny. I am so so lucky to be pregnant with Gracie. She is an answer to many prayers.
Last night, I found Rip's blanket from the hospital. It is the only thing I have that he touched, and I am thankful to have that piece of him. Here in the "After After", Rip is still a part of our family. Of all the things I worried about last year, I think I was most afraid that as time passed I would lose him completely, but I haven't (in fact, when I started this post I glanced at the clock and it was 11:11...he is very good at checking in when it's important).
So, 31 years old. I could never have predicted how this year would go...but last year my prayer was that the good would outweigh the bad. Today, I sit here typing with a baby squirming in my stomach and an angel I carry in my heart, somewhere in this house is a husband who has loved us through it all and right next to me is a big brown dog who had the good sense to throw up all over the bed 365 days ago and make me start my life again. I am so glad that I did.