you came to me like a dream, the kind that always leaves just as the best part starts, it all ends so abruptly

It's New Year's Eve. Ethan fell asleep around nine o'clock and my husband is home from work early to rest off day four of Manbola. All this means is I have some quiet time to sit on the couch (granted, I probably should be cleaning my house but where's the fun in that?) and maybe turn my brain off for a few minutes. You know, exempt myself from the pissing contest that is "who had the best 2014" statuses on Facebook. I'm not in the running. Not even close.

The beginning of 2014 was amazing in the way that makes you feel like you're floating through each day, your feet unable to reach the ground because you're so inflated with happiness and goodness and promise. All of the incredible milestones in my pregnancy helped make the beginning of 2014 the dream that it was. I got to watch Ethan slowly fall into his role as big brother, one that he wanted and looked forward to and took seriously as he helped me paint his baby sister's room for her. For a while, we were so happy. We were getting ready to bring home our second child and then the middle of 2014 hit and we wound up bringing her home a lot differently than we intended. In the span of two weeks, the dream that we were living slowly morphed into some kind of sick, twisted nightmare and I'm still trying to get myself to wake up from it all. I feel dazed. I'm also slowly adapting to permanently feeling dazed. It's probably normal to long for your old self back but at some point you realize your old self isn't going to come back so the best you can do is learn to live as the new you.

2014 gave me a beautiful daughter. It took her away, but it gave her to me first. My body and my life and this world are all changed because of the impact her tiny body left behind. 2014 was the year that let me hold her and kiss her and there will never be another year to let me continue my time with her. It's a sad thing to feel grateful for, but I'm grateful for it, the time I was able to spend with her. It will never compare to what could have been, what should have been, but it was time spent with her.

Of course, the beautiful little boy sleeping so soundly in his bed with a pile of matchbox cars by his side and a toy plane in his hand, decked out in seal pup pajamas. He is the beauty in each day. He is my motivation to get up in the morning. He is the reason I can smile and mean it, laugh and feel it. He is happiness tucked into harem pants and raglans with spaghetti sauce on his nose and dirt in between his toes. When I first found out I was pregnant with him, well, I thought he saved my life then. The truth is, he saves a little bit of this life for me each day.

I'm still healing. I'm wanting to rid myself of every ounce of pain that 2014 insisted we feel but I'm not wanting to wish away the moments that I spent with Ethan. I have cherished each one. I have taken in every hand hold and shared laugh and conversation and song. I am grateful for his joy that he so generously shared with us every day of 2014, even the painful ones. I have found hope in his smile. It's hard to want to fast forward through the immense joy and strength he has given me.

2014 was a hard year. We lost a child and that kind of grief doesn't end when the year does. All I can do is take the hope that Ethan gives me without realizing it, take the strength that he lends me, and push on.

2014 taught me the meaning of friendship in a raw way. It taught me that when tragedy strikes, you'll know who loves you by who swims upstream to reach you while you're suffering. Thank you to everyone who reached us. Thank you to everyone who stood next to us as we marched on after Wylie's death. Thank you to new friends who came into our lives because of grief, because your strength rubs off on me a little more each passing day. Thank you to everyone who never let me think for a minute that we were in this alone. I did a lot of growing this year and not by any choice of my own, but the world looks different from my new view and with my new perspectives.

This is probably the first year since I was a teenager that I've stayed up until midnight on New Years Eve (I mean, I have an hour to go but, still, a record for me). It's not on purpose. I never really know how to turn my mind off and it felt appropriate to make a post to say goodbye to the most painful year of our lives even though I began this post by not wanting to reflect on it.

See you in 2015.


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