My mom taught me to write a hand written thank you note for everything. It was terrible as a child to sit after a birthday party or Christmas and write thank you notes to all our relatives. Now, I’m really thankful my mother instilled that value into me. Handwritten notes are a dying art form today. I’d like to write thank you note to every person who has cared for us well during the past few months, but that isn’t going to happen for some time, if ever. I’m still viewing getting dressed and doing something each day as a win. My counselor supports that belief.
It’s been almost three months since our world flipped turned upside down with the loss of our precious Maizie. Honestly, this month the loss hurts worse than last month. This should have been the final stretch of our pregnancy. Now we are in a sort of alternate reality where the things we had planned, prayed for and prepared for are not happening. My body is noticeably different than what I thought it would be. We had previously said no to several trips and plans that now we will be attending. The pack of women I was pregnant with have started having their children as I’m contemplating starting a first trimester all over again. As each pregnancy announcement is posted on social media I find myself thinking, “August? People are already announcing babies due in August? So even if I get pregnant now, I’m way beyond that. I wanted April.” This loss continues to feel pretty bitter as what I thought would be a very exciting Spring is turning into months that I’m dreading.
I’m trying to not choose despair or anger. I’m trying to choose joy. To choose joy, I have to choose rest, honesty and thankfulness. I have to choose counseling, community and crying when necessary.
Before December 6th, I thought I was a good friend. I thought I was the type of friend you’d want in the trenches with you when the battle came. Then I went to battle and found out that the people around me are way more thoughtful and compassionate and present than I ever knew to be. Today in order to choose joy, I’d like to choose thankfulness, by writing my thank you to so many of the people who have shown up for us.
Most people genuinely want to be a good friend to someone who is suffering. Often times, they just don’t know what to do or what to say. I hope that this list gives you some ideas of where to start. I’ve learned that saying something is far better than saying nothing and it is totally okay to admit you have no idea what to do in this situation but you’d like to do something.
To the family who didn’t hesitate to drive into town
To the cousin who drove from Austin to care for Emerson during our hospital stay
For the handwritten notes that are still showing up to my home
For asking what our due date was and putting it into your calendar so you don’t forget either
For using Maizie’s name when you talk about her
For visiting us in the hospital
To the friends who have stopped by just to pray with us
To the friends who drove into town to be with me
For all the text messages, phone calls and voicemails (some yet to be returned)
For the bottles of wine and baked goods
For letting us talk about other things and for being patient as we talk about the same things again and again
For sending us a Hannah’s hope box and a hope mommies box
For sending care packages to Emerson to help provide entertainment for her while mom isn’t feeling it
For sending books and devotionals
To ALL the friends who kept us fed for two solid months (and to anyone using my hello fresh promo code which gets us both a discount and helps me justify staying on that service awhile longer)
To the friends who said they were getting a babysitter, they would pay for ours too, and we’re going out to eat
To the neighbor who showed up the morning after our loss with hot breakfast. And who showed up again a week later with hot breakfast again. It’s like she knows mornings are the absolute worst as your reality sinks in all over again. She redefined what it means to be a good neighbor
To the friend who borrowed a car seat from a friend so that she would always be able to pick Emerson up at a moments notice
To ALL the friends who have watched Emerson for free in order to send me to counseling, or to provide me with some much needed quiet, or to give JR and me time together
To friends who have connected us with people who have been on a similar journey
For sending kind notes in your Christmas cards that acknowledged the bitterness of the holiday season for us and the arrival of so many adorable baby photos from so many
For talking to me about your pregnancy announcement before posting it on social media because you want to acknowledge that it may be difficult
For not rushing us through grief and for being patient as we sit in “not okay.” For acknowledging the continual difficulty and losses we are experiencing.
To the friend who meets me at the mall at a moment’s notice to help me pick out something to wear for a big event as I’m frustrated about my current size and not styling a large baby bump
For saying things like “I’m sorry,” and “I love you”
To the friends who donated to YoungLives in honor of Maizie’s death
For offering things – babysitting, food, pedicures – and letting me decide if that’s what I needed. When you offer something specific, instead of saying “let me know if you need anything,” it makes it easier for a got-it-together-normally girl like me to admit my need and accept help
To everyone who helped plan or prepare for my YoungLives fundraiser last week. You people made that event happen when I felt weary and defeated.
For continuing to show up, to ask how we’re doing, praying and checking in. You have made us feel not forgotten and you have not expected us to be over this yet.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35