Finish Line

Every year about this time I get an email asking if I want to purchase my Hippie Chick Run photos from previous years. The Hippie Chick was a run that Anna and I did together. I would run the 10k and she would meet me just before the finish line ~ it was our thing. The photos taken at the run are usually really expensive so I never wanted to purchase them.

This year when the email came it said that this was the last chance to purchase photos from 2013 so I decided to look at them once again, just in case. As I was flipping through the five that were taken of me this one appeared. I swear it’s the first time I had seen it. I cried remembering what it felt like to cross the finish line with my girls on each side. Every other year it was just Anna crossing the finish line but this year, our last Hippie Chick together, Abigail joined us.

holding hands finish line

I ordered some prints. This is my new favorite photo of the three of us. It speaks to my heart and when it arrived yesterday it was so clear to me why I love it so much. This is how I get through each day. Abigail holding my right hand and Anna holding my left, both gripping tight till I get to the finish line. The gold tons in the photo (that is how it came) represent Christ, He’s all around us wrapping us in His love and kindness ~ we are surrounded by His Grace.

The last couple of months have been tough. Fall lasted so long, there are still leaves piled up on our streets, and my PTSD has become something that is just with me instead of the usual waves that come every so often. Watching Alice grow, discover, learn and become a toddler has been wonderful and very emotional. There is so much I can say about mothering this beautiful little one in the midst of grief, but I will leave that for another time.

I have signed up for the Hippie Chick one time since the girls have been in Heaven but my heart wouldn’t allow me to go. After seeing this photo I think it is time to get in shape and prepare once again for “our thing” this Mother’s Day weekend. I know Anna would be super excited to have Alice run across the finish line with us.

This photo is what my heart needed the week before Christmas and our double birthday celebration on 27th ~ Abigail will be 16 (I can’t believe it) and Alice will be turning 2.

Anna and Abigail are holding my hands always and I am ALWAYS surrounded by His Love and Grace!

Fiercely and Unconditionally

wedding praying

The statistics are not in our favor. Eighty percent of all marriages end in divorce after the death of a child.  We are aware of this fact and we both see how what we have lost can impact our marriage in ways nothing else will. Like everything else though we get to choose which way this will go and whether the circumstance of our lives will strengthen us, or rip us apart.

It is not easy, grief and the reality of our situation makes everything hard. I can be smiling one moment and crying the next. I can be laughing and then in seconds be very angry at something that would never have angered me before. Sometimes I want to be comforted and other times I want to be left alone. I can be very critical  and I know at times I am not easy to live with right now.

Tom is so patient and so loving. He holds me even when I don’t want to be held. He is a wonderful father and he loves Jesus with all of his heart. He prays for me, for us and for our children daily. He feels a pain that I wish I could take away. He loves me.

I can honor Anna and Abigail in many ways; build a park, spread love and joy around the world through Love Rocks, start a non-profit and even create the most beautiful rainbow tree ever.

The one thing that will honor my girls and honor God the most though is to love, fiercely and unconditionally, my husband through this journey of ours. The bond that we have I know will strengthen, because our relationship does not just include the two of us. It also includes God, who brought us together 4 years ago when our paths crossed, and if we allow it He will strengthen us and make us whole again.

One day, we will all be in eternity together ~ this I know without doubt. Until that time I am going to love my husband fiercely and unconditionally for God, for us and for our girls in Heaven.

Today is our 3rd Anniversary and I am so blessed to have this man by my side through this journey called life.

I love you Tom Robinson!
tom and me

 

Our Bond

“Do you think I’ll change much as I get older?” That is what she asked as she was looking in the mirror at herself and brushing her long blonde hair. She had watched her sisters grow up and was wondering if the same was going to happen to her.

I knew what she was getting at but I wasn’t sure how to answer. She was desperate to be taller and look older, sneaking make-up when she could thinking she could make time move faster. She loved when her sister would bring her a bag of hand-me-downs, always thinking that they fit perfectly, especially if they fell off the shoulder a bit.

This young girl is my daughter, not the one I gave birth to, but the one who made me the mom I am by allowing me to parent her and love her unconditionally.

When she was frustrated about situations that were happening in her life I would tell her that life isn’t always fair but you get to choose how you respond. She took that advice and ran with it, showing those around her that life is what you make it – and for her it was going to be beautiful.

My Abigail did grow up right in front of me. She went from a little girl to a beautiful young lady in the matter of just 3 and half years. The process was difficult at times, as it should be when hormones are changing and things are happening to you that you just don’t understand. This past summer was hard for our pre-teen (and for her parents) but she was open with us and shared her thoughts and feelings and we were grateful for that.

We were both new to this phase of life. Yes, I was once a pre-teen but I had never parented one before and was trying to learn as we moved along. Abigail was very honest and always called me on my stuff, which at the time was challenging but afterward I admired her for speaking her mind and being open to the process of this mother/daughter relationship. I would usually walk away enlightened by her, often having flashbacks from my pre-teen years. She was moving through this time with grace, something I may not have said in the midst of it but can honestly say now.

She wanted us to have “our thing” and to share secrets that no one else knew. She asked once if I thought we would ever just know what each other was thinking and I of course said yes. I then reminded her of the time we were shopping at a fancy dress store where the women at the checkout was wearing a see-through shirt and forgot to put a bra on under it. Neither of us said a word while we were checking out but broke out into laughter the minute we hit the door. All I had to say after that was White House/Black Market and we would both start laughing.

The bond we share is unique to those who are opened to what happens when you allow yourself to love unconditionally a child that is not biologically yours. Our bond is based on trust, respect and the ability to allow another person to come into your life and fill your bucket. Abigail definitely filled my bucket.

Watching her grow up and become a young lady was truly a gift. My Abigail was beautiful in so many ways and I am so blessed to share “secrets” with her and so blessed to be her mom.

Abs 1abs 2abigial 3abs and me 3

Curious George

It was the first day of summer break. This working mom was able to just be a mom, full time, without having to leave her sweet girl every day while she worked. We planned to sleep in, watch Curious George in bed, eat breakfast, pack a picnic lunch and then head to the park for the day.

I remember thinking I was blessed because I had this time with Miss Anna: summers off. I was a single mom so being a stay at home mom was not an option. I remember being grateful for having a profession which allowed me this time with my girl. We had plans, big plans.

This picture was taken at the park that day. June 10, 2008

This picture was taken at the park that day. June 2008

This past September Anna and I were going through some old photos, this one (above) being one of them. I told her I didn’t want her to grow up yet. She had just started first grade and I knew that in no time at all she would be wearing a cap and gown to her graduation.

I was sad she was growing up, remembering a time when all she wanted to do was play with Mama. I remember thinking that I needed to count my blessings for all the beautiful memories we shared during this time in our lives when it was just the two of us:  when life was simple, sleeping in was an option and Curious George never got old.

Missing my Anna on the first day of summer break and remembering all of the beautiful memories.

mommy and annaalaska beautysmiles anna beach anna bike doll anna mama traverse city miss anna beautiful

 

 

 

Sorrow and Joy

Overwhelming sorrow of not being able to hold them and a deep sense of joy knowing my girls are with their Creator; that is what I feel.

On one hand I take deep breaths to get me through each moment, my heart aches in ways I never knew were possible, and I really don’t know how I’ll make it through another day without my girls. On the other hand my heart is full of love and joy; I’m overwhelmed by the grace that God has given me and I have a tremendous amount of peace that everything is going to be ok.

I look at their pictures, remember their laughs and watch video after video, desperately wanting one more second with each of them. I miss them so much. My heart hurts and as each new day brings memories of a time once shared, I feel a sadness that takes over my being. I feel the water getting deeper and deeper and I know I need to go under for awhile, to feel the sorrow and the pain that only comes with allowing myself to truly come to terms with my loss.

I feel His arms holding me as I take each step into the water, knowing I need to go to this place that will bring so much pain. I hear His voice reassuring me that He will not let me go, that He will stay close and make sure that I will resurface. I have seen His glory surround me and know that I will be ok, and that one day Anna, Abigail and I will be reunited.

Today, this very minute, I just want to hold them and be joyful and silly together.

mama and girls silly

 

 

Love Rock from Heaven

We were standing in our room exhausted from this weekends event when Tom looked down and saw it. A shiny rock with a blue and white heart signifying it was more than just a rock but a Love Rock. It must have fallen from a top of the door frame where other Love Rocks, which were made for our wedding, have found their home. I think in the three years we’ve been married I may have picked up two that fell from this ledge.

Tom picked it up and looked on the back, in this case it was more than just a regular Love Rock; beautifully written on the rock were these words, All my Love and Hope to You Love Abigail.

After a long couple of weeks preparing, and a long weekend of celebrating our girls gifts, this was exactly what we needed; A sign from our Abigail that all is well in Heaven.

We have found we can do so much here to celebrate, honor and bring love and joy, but nothing that we do will ever bring our girls back. I’m sure this sounds obvious to most but for Tom and I we sometimes (well, all the time) we just wish that we would unlock the door, walk inside our house and have them jump on us, arms wrapping tight around our necks with kisses all around. My heart hurts knowing that this will never again be a reality here on earth.

We are proud of our girls in ways we never thought we would be. Giving life to others goes beyond what we ever thought we would be celebrating. Their example of love and joy that has been spread across the nation through Love Rocks is something I could never have imagined was possible. Our life here is to celebrate our girls and to honor their love and joy in every way we can. We do so by listening to God and following the tugs in our heart that are clearly directing us. We will never come home to hugs and kisses, and our hearts will always have an ache, but we are proud and will continue to listen and smile when the girls give us a Heavenly nudge and in this case, a Heavenly Hug.

We have found a lot of Love Rocks these past few weeks but this one is by far our favorite.

abs rock