MARCH 17, 2017

When I have a little girl, I want to decorate her room in mermaids.

Random. I know. But I was scrolling through sheets on Target’s website and stumbled upon a mermaid set. How cute to have a little Maine themed room, with seagulls and seashells and blue paint with white clouds pouted on the walls. I can picture it all perfectly.

When I think of having another baby, I think of the fall and being fully ready. I think of our trip up to Maine in October, and picture me, Chris and Everett, as our little three human unit, for the last time. Well not the last time because it takes time to make a baby–but you know what I mean.

That trip is going to be special. I’ve been putting yoga money aside each month in an envelope with “Maine” written on it.

Before Everett went to bed just now, we laid in his crib together (Chris always tells me not to do this because there is like a fifty pound weight limit, but I just can’t help it). He guzzled his night time bottle as I whispered into his ear, thank you for choosing me as your Mommy. 

Everett loves going down for a nap or bedtime. As soon as he’s in his crib, he wants that bottle. He gets so excited for it, kicking his legs and batting his arms with a big cheesy smile and those gnarly crooked top teeth of his. They’re so cute–everything about him is. I look at his blonde curls and just burst into love oblivion, each and every time. 

Oh, he says Mama now! It’s more like ma ma ma ma ma, but it’s a start. He muttered it at breakfast a few weeks ago and then later that day, while in the E.l.f makeup section at Target, he looked right up at me from that red shopping cart and said, “ma ma”. I just about fell over. I’ll never forget it–it’ll be one of those imprinting moments that last forever.

Like the moment I said my wedding vows under your willow tree, with the sun and May leaves above Chris and I. Or the moment I looked at the positive pregnancy test, so excited that my insides tightened up to the size of a bouncy ball. Or the moment I saw Dad, years ago, sitting on the couch, with his hands over his head and listening to your wedding song, For Your Precious Love. You only had a few more days to live, and it was like he was savoring something, trying to remember it forever.

Moments are our memories. And the memories I have with you are in my mind or written down on paper, safe and permanent.

Hayley-

Memories are the wonderful gift we are given when we lose someone we love. I hope you write down everything you remember about your Mom and the times you had with her. Time allows us to forget things that we never think we will. So take a minute here or there to jot it all down. You will enjoy it for the rest of your life.

I love you much,

Aunt Jessi xoxo 10-8-08

Aunt Jessi wrote that in a book called “I Remember You: A Grief Journal” and gave it to me a few months after you died.

I filled it with random short ramblings, all recalling stories and fights and situations and conversations that you and I shared.

Here are a few:

I was a little girl, maybe four or five years old and was laying in Mom’s king size water bed at the old house. It was still morning, her hair was still messy. I asked to put my legs “in the oven”, which meant in between her legs because they’d always be warm. And I played with her long blond hair, holding up the strands and pretending they were long neck dinosaurs from the Land Before Time movie.

Driving in the Hummer at the beach, just Mom and I. It was the last vacation we took before she died. She was sick, but in the positive wave of her chemo and treatment. We thought it was over–at least us kids did. I looked over at her driving and could tell how happy she was. She kept teasing, talking about all the things we were going to buy at the outlets. Mom sang her song, “gonna have fun fun fun ’til Daddy takes the checkbook away”, in the tune of the Beach Boys.

When she came home from her first hospital stay, Mom wanted pot roast nachos from Atrias. We all watched the Steeler game down in the basement, and I laid my head in her lap while she played with my hair. I felt safe for the first time since the diagnosis nightmare started. I was so thankful to have her back home.

We were in the old house, right between the kitchen and dining room. Dad was fixing or moving the refrigerator. Mom and Dad both sneezed and in her uppy, surprised voice said, “Oh my gosh Gaston! Can you believe it? We sneezed at the same time!” She always said goofy stuff like that, in that voice of hers–so much excitement, so much enthusiasm.

Every time I ever walked into her bathroom for something, she’d usually be in front of her mirror getting ready, sometimes naked and always with a white towel wrapped around her head. Both the bathroom and linen closet doors would slam together when I walked in, exposing her either dancing happily or looking super pissed that yet another child was bothering her. 

Her and I went shopping and ended our trip because we were fighting so bad. Our last store was Bed Bath and Beyond. When we got home, I was hanging up my new earrings and she came up to my room and asked, “Do you even love me?” Mom asked it seriously, with tears in her eyes. We hugged and cried. I was such a rotten teenager.

In fourth grade when I was having “friend troubles”, I was laying in her bed, not wanting to go to school–Mom and Dad were meeting with my counselor, Ms. Wurzel. She was getting ready in her bathroom and when she came out to check on me in the bedroom, she had on a dark green snakeskin shirt that I’ll never forget her often wearing, usually with leather pants.

I could go on and on. I love reading these. To someone else they will seem like gibberish but those little stories are what I have left of you and our time here together.

Mom, I think for the first time, I am truly finding peace in where you are from me–I don’t feel so utterly separated anymore.

I just haven’t found peace in where you are from Everett–I’m simply unable to understand why he’ll never be in your arms.

I guess you’re always holding him though. Not physically, but he will always be carried by you, always supported and always guided.

You’re in every look I give him. You’re in every kiss he receives. You’re a physical part of him, and he’ll grow up knowing that “Mommy’s Mommy” is around and within, both inside and out.

You will be the magic wonder that helps him understand so many things in this world.

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” -Roald Dahl 

Everett will believe in that magic–he will believe in you. All my kids will.

 

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