It has taken entirely too long for me to blog about my end of summer vacation. However, we are back in Rexburg after 7 weeks in Colorado and since I no longer have a job I have time between job hunting to blog
As the spring semester ended at school I was overwhelmed with schoolwork and more emotional than usual as the year mark of Molly's birth and passing approached. I would not say that missing Molly has prevented me from being a happy person. It has in fact, increased my joy because I have a daughter who I love and who I can miss. I feel blessed to be her mother. However, around the end of semester I found myself tearing up at everything. The memories of a year ago were on my mind constantly and I felt like I re-lived that night all day, everyday. (It is quite a dangerous mix to be 3 months pregnant after a loss and meeting the year anniversary of your daughters passing. Add stress of finals and its no wonder I cried about everything.)
So the last day of finals was the day before Molly's birthday, July 21st. I refused to be anywhere but where she is buried on her bday, and needed a day of driving beforehand. Being in Colorado with her body and with my family is far more important to me than getting a good grade on a Chemistry test. So, I decided to make myself a bit vulnerable and ask if I could take the final early. I didn't want to tell my teacher the exact reason, but just told him that I needed to be in Colorado on the 22nd and that I was helping my neighbor move on the 21st all day so it was incredibly important to me to take the test early.
He looked at me like I was just like the 20 or so students he sees every semester end who try and make up reasons why they need their final taken early and why it is vitally important for them and them alone. I could tell he was doubting my reasoning, though wasn't rude to me. He just said "Well while that is very kind of you to help your neighbor, it is not the trump card. The trump card only deals with family." As he said this, my eyes filled with tears. I was sad that I would have to fail a test and that in order to explain that I really had the trump card I would have to share with him my most personal experience. Unfortunately, the other students around me were listening and noticing I was getting emotional. This made me more emotional. Tears were falling down my cheeks and I just said, "Okay. That's fine. I'm sorry, but I will just have to fail the final and hope my grade is high enough without it."
My teacher looked surprised and panicked/embarrassed about my tears. I'm sure he was shocked to see how much it meant to me to help my neighbor move, and unable to understand why his comment made me cry instantly. He said "Oh, Amber Amber Amber. I will see what I can do. I'll talk to the testing center." I felt such a rush of relief that I then ***can you guess?*** began to cry even more. My teacher was blushing and went and grabbed a tissue box and realized it was time for class to start. He greeted the class in a more frazzled way than usual, and I tried to force my eyes to stop crying and it was proving difficult.
My chemistry partners looked at me with serious concern and I tried to make them understand and just said, "Don't worry. I'm fine, really. I'm just three months pregnant and irrationally emotional." They laughed and looked glad to not be pregnant.
So I ended up taking the final and getting the grade I needed in the class. (I emailed my teacher and explained about Molly, and he emailed back that he understood and I was set up to take the test early.) We was able to be in Colorado after an incredibly long road trip home to Colorado with Lucas driving my neighbor's moving truck and my sister and I following behind. However, we got there in time to settle in, greet our families, and wake up the next morning to allow our hearts and minds to be focused on our angel, Molly.
It is a weird feeling having everyone wish a happy birthday to her. It is strange to have my arms ache again just like the day she was born. I was incredibly emotional the entire day, but it was overwhelming enough that, surprisingly, I spent most of the morning tear-free and lost in thought. I wore pink and white for her, and we waited all day until the lighting in the sky would be perfect just before sunset to have a beautiful memorial service at the cemetery.
I had been nervous about how formal or informal to make the celebration/memorial. I wanted to honor her, and remember her, but I didn't want to ignore the sadness that I was feeling. I also wanted to remember how she has blessed us and how happy she makes us. It is a weird combination of emotions. I wanted to be honest with my feelings and was unsure how to go about it. So, we kept it simple and decided to just go with how we felt in the moment. We picked up a beautiful bouquet of roses for Molly, and three balloons. We wanted one balloon to symbolize each member of our little family. It was much like the balloon release at her memorial, but on a more personal level.
Once at the cemetery I was happy to feel nothing but peace. I did not feel a rush of sadness or longing. I did not feel angry or giddy. I felt only the same peace that I always feel there. The rest of the world was gone and this was just time with our family. As usual, I took my shoes off when standing over her. As my family and Lucas' arrived we all talked quietly and visited and gave her the flowers we brought. My parents also got her a bouquet and I was very touched.
It is hard for me to look at her headstone for very long. It is beautiful, but if I give it more than just a glance I cant help but imagine how close she is to that stone that marks her place on the world. Although, I know that her spirit could be right next to me, and that she is free to be with me wherever I am, I long to hold her and hug her, still. Being close to her little body is the best I can do. A few times I found myself tuning out the conversations around me and staring at her headstone and the flowers that, though beautiful, seemed hardly enough of a gift for her. My eyes watered and Lucas pulled me into a hug and kissed me. He rubbed my back, and I closed my eyes and tried to feel her there, too.
Sometimes, when you cant think of how to plan the perfect moment, it somehow happens anyway. I would say this was a wonderful, beautiful and perfect way to honor Molly, and I hope she felt our love.