Wednesday, February 8, 2012

One Year

A year has come and gone. What an exhausting day. I've been under increased stress because my brother suffers from epilepsy. He had a severe episode yesterday that ended up stopping his heart. They had to revive him and luckily his heart got started back up. I was beside myself last night talking to my Mom. I know the pain of losing a child. I pray that she doesn't feel that pain ever. I pray we don't have to lose someone else close to us but I'm not sure that his life won't be taken by this awful illness. This illness has been haunting our family for 10 years with him. There's a part of irresponsibility on his part with taking his meds adequately and another part that the meds don't entirely keep the seizures away. His seizures are so intense that they literally contort his body out of figure. I feel so incredibly sorry for him. And I feel so sad to watch our family have to live this nightmare with him. I'm not sure if prayers work all the time, but hopefully something will turn around with him. I'd really hate to lose my brother.

So, my reason for blogging about that was because it led to a lot of grief last night. It had me in hysterics that we may lose him, and it had me reflecting on my last moments with Ainslee and how precious they are to me. The fear of losing my brother took over due my loss with Ainslee and the severity of his seizures. As I was going to bed, I was sobbing thinking that that time last year Ainslee was sound asleep in her bed. We didn't have a care in the world. We never thought death awaited us.

The weather was frigid. Winter was ever present and there were reminents of ice and snow. The week before Ainslee passed away we were all snowed in together. It was a huge ice/snow storm in Dallas and we couldn't leave. We got cabin fever quick. I'd give anything to go back to the days where we were snowed in. We had no choice but to just be a family. No work. No outside factors. Just us.

The day Ainslee passed flashes vividly in my mind. I relived it all today. Every moment of what we were going through. And finally when I got to the point of her time of death, Travis looked at me and said, "11:17." I said, I know, rotten 11:17.

We left our house after that and headed up to the cemetery. We were meeting my in laws, sister in law and nephew up there with Adrian to have a cold picnic with our daughter. We released pink and blue balloons as they are SIDS colors. We ate sandwiches, we put out beautiful flowers, and we prayed.

We left the cemetery and came home. Flowers kept arriving at our house in sweet memory of Ainslee. My mother in law came over and as Adrian took his nap, Travis, my mothers in law and I watched Ainslee's video we played at her funeral. That's when my weakness really set in and I just wept. How could she be gone? How can we still be standing? How can such a beautiful little girl not be around to be in any more of our pictures or be part of our family function? How were we going to do this without her?

So many thoughts and emotions quickly flood in and life once again is dark. The life we had the day before we lost Ainslee is a distant memory. We will never have that life of blissful happiness again. Smiling comes differently now. Sometimes it's a little harder. Sometimes it doesn't feel natural. But we do it anyway.

Grief one year later isn't much different than the week we lost her. There may be longer moments in our break downs, but the pain and grief are still very much painful. It is something that doesn't leave, it's now part of us. While I feel so incredibly relieved to have this day behind me, I know that I won't wake tomorrow with a new outlook and huge weight off my shoulders just because it is the 366th day. There's nothing magical that happens tonight as we go to sleep.

But, I will say that through this year I've learned a lot. I've seen just how much I need Travis. I've developed a new love for him that may not have been capable of achieving without the grief we've experienced together. He's a safety for me. I feel so safe with him and can be vulnerable in any situation. I feel our marriage has grown in so many ways this year and I owe that to our daughter. I've developed an appreciation and attachment to Adrian that far exceeds our prior relationship. When you lose a child, you really cling to those you have or your future children. I feel that he is a comfort to me as well and the satisfaction I get from simply seeing him breath is undescribable. For that, I owe to my daughter. I've developed a trust and a faith that surpasses anything I've experienced before. When my trust and my faith has been ripped out of my hands and I felt that life wasn't worth living anymore, I still turned to God. And I continue to do so. I've made long life friendships through my church community and the support I received from them is amazing. They are there for me day and night. They've seen me in my worst times and they are always there to catch me when I fall. They pick me right back up and motivate me to keep going. Ainslee lead me to my faith. I've always had a faith, I've always been a Christian, but she lead me to my church home. It's a wonderful feeling.

While there are a lot of broken pieces still shattered, most in which may stay that way, I can say that some have been pieced back together. We will welcome our sweet baby Hadlee in just 9 weeks. Ainslee paved a way for Hadlee. If Ainslee did not go to Heaven the day she did, everything would be different. There would be no Hadlee. So, I have to believe that good things are coming. Hope is on the way. And life and love will be restored.

It's been a long year. A painful journey. Yet it snuck up on me at the same time. It's too long since I've held her. Yet, how can it already be a year that she's been gone?

In closing, my hope for this year is that we will begin to fit more pieces back together and that we will see brighter days ahead. I pray we will find joy in the simple things in life and learn to see Ainslee in every part of it. My biggest wish is that our children, Adrian, Hadlee and any future children will see how much they are loved, how much they are prayed for, and what healing they have brought to our lives. I pray they know what they mean to our family and can use the things I write to know and always remember their sweet sister Ainslee. Although Ainslee may be gone, she is never forgotten. She is very much a part of our family. And she is very much alive.

Thank you to everyone who has shared this grief journey with us. It hasn't been easy by a long stretch. But it has been comforting to get the love, support, prayers, and encouragement that each person has provided to us. Although I have a ton of weak days and continue to have those regularly, more often than not, I do feel in some odd way that I maybe...just maybe be getting a little bit stronger. One day at a time.


  1. That was beautiful. In an unimaginable situation you manage to write and share so candidly your thoughts and feelings. I hate this for you but I know you have an amazing gift to future mothers who will lose their babies all too soon. May God bless you and still walk side by side with you reminding you everyday that he is there for you and he weeps with you. We are all better knowing you and Ainslee will forever live in our hearts. Every time I looked at Elijah I prayed for you and prayed in thanksgiving for all that I have.

  2. Praying in earnest for you right now Channan...missing Ainslee with you!

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to your brother. I can't imagine the anxiety and fear that added to Ainslee's angelversary.

    Praying for you, Travis, Adrian and Hadlee always!

  4. What a beautiful post. It sounds like you did a great job honoring her for her special day. You say it so well when you mention putting the pieces back together. It makes pefect sense to me. I continue to pray for your sweet family.

  5. Glad that they day went as best as it can...sounds like you did some amazing things in honor of Ainselee.

    So excited to meet your new little girl in a few short weeks!

  6. Always praying for you and your family. I pray for strength to find you through the toughest times, and for you to always feel how great God's love is for you.