It is hard to believe that nearly 16 weeks have passed since we had Sophia. 3 1/2 months. I don’t know how the days keep moving but they do. God’s grace truly is sufficient enough for us. Without it, this life would not be possible. Although I still think about her every single moment of every day, the tears come less frequently and I can talk about her with a smile more than a lump in my throat. Time is still measured in the “before Sophia” and “after Sophia” phrases but the good still always outweigh the bad. The pain and ache are as fresh as that day in July, but the blessings coming from it continue to amaze me. We will never be “over it” but we are learning to live with the reality of it. We continue to miss her terribly.
We have been keeping ridiculously busy, which helps. I try to be intentional about letting it all out though and not letting it build up for so long before I do. I have learned to see when it’s coming and get ready to go there. I have learned through this experience that grief happens naturally but mourning is something you have to do. You have to go there. You have to physically let it go. Grief is a noun, a thing. Mourning is a verb, an action. Letting myself mourn is a good thing and it is necessary.
It is also necessary to still be a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend. It is necessary to offer up my suffering for people who need more grace than I do. I can’t just stop being. If that were even an option, it would be ugly. So here’s what we have been doing to keep moving forward.
In late September we spent a weekend learning more about our faith at the Christ Our Life Conference. We heard some amazing speakers and going to mass with several thousand other Catholics is always beautiful. Our friends Gina, Chris and little Grant were there too, which was a very meaningful thing in itself considering that this very conference is where we actually met them 2 years ago! Toby & Lilly got to meet Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow who is the man who started Mary’s Meals and also happened to be one of CNN’s top 10 Heroes in 2010. Our family proudly supports Mary’s Meals and the kids send part of their gift money each year to feed children around the world through them.
The week before our due date(October 13) was crazy to say the least. A special memorial mass with the Bishop for Pregnancy and Infant Loss kicked off the weekend. We had a low-key day at home on the actual due date which worked out well since it was rainy and yucky. But, we also got to hang out with our favorite little guy too while his parents finished moving out of their home and into ours for the weekend on their way up north.
The day after our due date early morning mass was for Sophia, followed by a little memorial service at her grave site complete with a balloon release. We were overwhelmed and completely moved by the number of friends and relatives that joined us there. We are so blessed.
That afternoon our hospital held A Walk to Remember in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss month/week. Certainly no coincidence that all those things coincide with our due date. It was a beautiful ceremony and short walk around the hospital and we were joined again by family and friends.
The weekend ended on a very sad note as we said goodbye, actually “see you later” to our great friends as they moved on to Minnesota. Talk about an emotional roller coaster of a weekend! We are so thankful to have them in our life and will continue to be close friends even with a physical distance between us. Their sweet little boy was a God-send during this time of my life and I know he helped the kids to heal a bit too. He brought so much laughter, joy, and love to this family and will forever hold a special place in our hearts. He is already deeply missed.
Toby has also been playing on a homeschool football team every Monday evening for the past couple of months. Being the absent-minded mom that I have become I have yet to get pictures of him playing and next week is the end of the season. Monday night his team won and he even ran in for a touchdown. But yeah, no camera.
In the middle of that crazy week mentioned above, we bought some new chickens. 14 to be exact. We lost one of our original reds to the neighbor dogs so we didn’t want the one left to be a loner all winter. She now has several friends and Lilly is completely in love! Nothing could replace our little man when he moved away but these hens sure have been a great distraction for the kids.
We have also been in the midst of prepping the homestead for winter. Getting more chickens was all the motivation we needed to finally get the barn in shape. We now have electricity run out there for heating through the winter and keeping water thawed. We’ve been stacking wood, cleaning around the house, canning and preserving, and starting to winterize. Bring on the snow, I am ready to hunker down and get creative this winter.
Of course fall would not be complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch.
And carving pumpkins.
As she frequently does when we are out and about, Sophia joined us at the pumpkin patch too. Lilly says Sophia doesn’t want to miss out on any of the fun that we are having down here. I think she just knows when her mama needs to know she’s OK.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11: 1 ESV