Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mattie Claire's 2nd Birthday in Heaven

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Dear Mattie,

Two years ago today, I thought I was about to get the most precious gift...our long awaited little girl!  My contractions were prominent upon waking up that morning, and they continued to increase in intensity and frequency through the day.  We made final preparations to head to the hospital as I tried to lie down and monitor and time the contractions.  We finally kissed your brothers goodbye and excitedly and hopefully headed to the hospital.  On the way to the hospital, it had started raining heavily, and your contractions were coming even closer together...less than 3 minutes apart!  I was getting anxious we wouldn't make it in time.  By the time we arrived, I consented reluctantly to using a wheelchair and let daddy wheel me up to labor and delivery.  I was given a hospital gown to put on and directed to a bathroom in the triage room.  I managed to get the gown on through some painful contractions and finally got to lie down on the triage room bed for monitoring.  Up to this point, we only thought of the joy of finally getting you here.  We had no cause for concern.  We had made it to the hospital on time.  Everything was supposed to be fine now.  But as the nurse searched for your heartbeat with the doppler, those first little fears began to arise that tried to steal our joy.  After several long minutes where I just figured you were curled up and so low that it was more difficult to hear your heartbeat, my doctor arrived with an ultrasound machine.  And then those dreadful words that were the stuff of nightmares were said..."I'm sorry.  There is no heartbeat."  Anyone who has heard those words will attest to their immediate devastation.  How could you have just suddenly passed away when we should have been hearing your first little cries?  When exactly did it happen?  So many questions.  I couldn't really even stop to think or grieve because of the immediate need to bring you silently into this world.  It is still hard to talk about or remember that night, but I don't want to forget either.  I don't want to forget you.  Probably the second worst thing to losing a child is the passing of time that dims our memories of how you looked and felt.  I remember holding you in my arms all night and the next day until I was released from the hospital.  I selfishly did not want to put you down.  But now, it hurts that I can barely remember what your soft skin and hair felt like.  I don't know what you would have looked like as you grew.  Few babies look much like their newborn selves after the first few weeks.  I don't know what color eyes you would have had.  Would they have been blue like Evan's and Mattox's or turned more hazel like mine and Daddy's and Brody's.  Would you have kept that gorgeous dark hair or would it have lightened up?  Would you have been a good eater like big brother Brody or more picky like big brother Evan?  All of these questions will continue to weigh heavy on my heart and mind in the years to come.  And that's okay.  It helps me remember you.  I am thankful that I can still see the beauty in life and that I can enjoy watching your older brothers and now your little rainbow brother grow.  I cherish the moments we spend together.  I still long to share your life with you too, but I hold onto the hope of seeing you again.  That is what gets me through each day.  I hug and kiss and cuddle your brothers as I would do for you.  We all love you and will never forget you.  You will always be our precious baby girl.  Today, we will celebrate you.  Yes, this is a celebration just like we celebrate your brothers' birthdays!  We will have a little party with balloons, decorations, and cupcakes tonight.  We will think about you and what you would look like eating your cupcake and how cute you would look with icing on your face.  We love you to the moon and back, baby girl!  That will never change!

Love always,
Mommy, Daddy, Evan, Brody, and Mattox

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Perhaps you would have worn a birthday outfit like this one. 

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And I am sure you would have loved a little sparkly shirt like this one.  What girl wouldn't?

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Or maybe you would have been a Mickey Mouse fan like big brother Brody and this little Minnie Mouse outfit would have been perfect for the birthday party theme. 

One thing I am thankful for is the availability of sites like Pinterest that allow me to find such sweet little words that really help explain my feelings for you.  I don't know how I would have chosen to remember you in the days before technology.  I think about parents in the past who went through this loss.  I have heard their stories.  One couple was in a news story recently that especially touched my heart.  They were in their 70's and had suffered the loss of their baby many years earlier.  Despite the custom of the day being to immediately take the baby away so that the parents couldn't see or hold their child because it was believed that would help them get over it faster, these parents never forgot their baby.  They are living proof of the steadfastness of a parent's love for their child even when they never got to hold that child in their arms.  They never got pictures.  They didn't even get to bury their child as the baby was taken and buried in the grave of some other unknown individual.  Somehow, in their old age, they were able to discover where their baby was buried, and they got to go and visit her.  I felt their peace in knowing.  I hurt for them for all the years they went without being able to know and remember their baby.  I don't want that to be us.  I want to look at our daughter's face everyday and remember.  I want to share her with the world.  These are just a few of the words and thoughts that express how I have felt the last two years.

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Anyone who really knows me should know how much I love this story.  I read this part at Mattie's funeral. 

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Sometimes, it is the simplest words that get to me. 

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One of the toughest parts of losing a child is explaining it to siblings. 

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  1. Sherry - I really wish that there were words that I could express for you to know how I feel. I am so very sorry that Mattie could not be with you on her birthday. I think of your little sweet heart often. Prayers for you friend.

  2. I remember reading Mattie's monthly updates...when she would have been one month, two months and so on....
    Praying for you friend. :)

  3. I though of you all day on Mattie's birthday Sherry. She often comes to my mind as I wonder along with you, what she would have been like. I pray for you and your family every day as you continue to live without her. She is one very loved little girl.

  4. I didn't have words to adequately express my grief and condolences for you two years ago, and I don't now. But you have always done such an amazing job of writing things and explaining things. I am in awe of you in this regard. In my times of sadness I also pin little sayings like this because they say what I cannot. I hope it's helpful for you. You have some really beautiful ones.


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