Friday, December 21, 2012

This Christmas...

So many hearts broken around the world this holiday season... the parents I've met through my journey that are inevitably losing or have already lost their angels due to the same condition that Leila had. The families of the innocent souls taken too soon in Connecticut last week. Families is soldiers having to spend another Christmas without their loved ones. There is so much bad in this world, and it seems to be getting worse and worse. There's no excuse anymore, people. Today is 12/21/12 and we're still here. The madness has got to stop. 2013 HAS to be better. I'm holding a gun to it's head and giving it no choice (yes, I realize the irony in that statement).

Among the heart break that our family has endured these last few weeks, I have also realized just how much good there is in the world. In peoples hearts and souls. People that don't even know us personally have come out of the woodwork and supported us beyond anything we could have dreamed. They have sent Christmas gifts to our boys and us, meals to our house, raised money for our family so that we have have a happy holiday despite our little girl only being with us in spirit. Our friends continue to reach out daily to ask what they can do to help. My coworkers held my hand when I fell apart upon my return to work. We're truly blessed to have each and every one of you in our lives. You have helped make what would have been a very difficult Christmas a bit merrier, and I am so thankful.

My New Years Resolution isn't going to be a cliche one. Lose weight. Eat healthier. Drink less. My resolution, once I have gotten myself into a place where I am healthy enough to do so, is to give back. One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that no one can go through tragedy alone. Everyone needs a hand to hold. I want to be that hand. I want to put a smile on a face that hasn't had one in days, because I know what that feels like.

My sweet baby girl, how I wish you were here with me. How I wish we had been able to spend this Christmas together. I know you are watching over me, holding my heart and helping me survive this. Please continue to do so. I need your guidance every day. Some days, when I can't carry myself, I need God to carry me and I know you're right there with him. I love you and miss you so much.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Untitled... why? Because my eloquence has escaped me. I can't think of a fitting title and I don't want to waste my time trying because it's time to vent. I have hit the point in the stages of my grief where I am angry. I'm angry that I didn't get to feel your heart beat on my chest for even one minute. I'm angry that there are moms out there who have had miracle babies live for days, weeks, even months in their arms and I didn't get one second. I'm angry that you didn't stay for our last eleven weeks together. I'm angry that Christmas will be without you, that every second I live forever is without you.

Of course I'm not angry with you. Under all my anger is so much pain that is stabbing me in the heart with every breath. That pain is intensified by the most indescribable love I have for you, and the hurt becomes unbearable at times. The loss I've endured in my life, though difficult and awful, is nothing compared to you leaving, and no one feels it quite the way I do. Your dad hurts, your brothers hurt, your family hurts, but they didn't carry you and it's not the same. Dallas always wants to tell me how much he misses you, and I want to let him but it peels another layer off my heart each time he brings you up. It's not that I'm trying to forget you. I'll never forget you. We have designated a special time at bedtime where we will talk to you every night. Sometimes we might smile, sometimes we might cry, but we know you're listening and that brings a mighty comfort.

I went to the doctor today for my post-partum check up... the anxiety I felt walking into that office was ten times what I felt when I walked in after your diagnosis. Women with babies in their arms and bellies. I am so jealous of them. It's a selfish and inappropriate jealousy, because these women are happy and healthy and that's wonderful for them, but unfair for me. I have lost twenty pounds, but gained only three when you were with me, which puts me at negative seventeen. It takes all my strength to wake up in the morning, let alone put food in my mouth. I feel a crazy person, and if you looked in my purse, you'd certainly think I am. Bottles of medication, your blanket that I can't let go of. My doctor wants me to take antidepressants, but I am fighting it. Maybe it's time to stop fighting. If it might help, I'm willing to try it.

I'm looking forward to the day when I can write a happy, hopeful entry here. Today just isn't that day, and I know you understand. It will come, and that is what keeps me going.

I miss you more every day, my sweet angel baby. I hope God is holding you as tight as I would be if you were back in my arms.

Mommy <3

"You’ll get over it…” It’s the clich├ęs that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life for ever. You don’t get over it because ‘it” is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never closes. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?”

- Jeanette Winterson, Written On The Body

(Painted for us by my beautiful and talented friend Holly Wahlstrom)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

One Foot in Front of the Other

My days since Leila's birth have been as so: Avoid getting out of bed to get in the shower. Once in the shower, avoid getting out. Once out of the shower, avoid drying my hair. Once in the car headed to my destination, avoid going in. I've come to realize that just because my world is at a stand still, the rest of the world isn't. Our children need to be cared for, the house needs to be cleaned, and the bills will keep coming. Where is the energy to do these things going to come from? How will I make sure my responsibilities are cared for, while still taking time to grieve and allow healing?

With very inopportune timing, Will's new business opened just days before Leila arrived. With that fact also comes the fact that he is at work about fifteen hours a day. I waver between whether to try and busy myself to take my mind off not having him here with me, or laying in bed and crying. Unfortunately, I haven't had much time for the latter. There has been so much to do, and I will be returning to work next week so this now is the only time I have to "do". I'm overwhelmed. I'm tired. I can't focus on my grief. Even my words, which are normally pretty well put together, are jumbled and I can't quite figure out exactly what I want to say here. How are we going to make it through this?

The answer: God, the love of others, and belief in myself that I will survive this. One day, one hour, one minute, one breath at a time.

I believe, though not a minute goes by that at least a second is full of doubt. I will keep putting one foot in front of the other. We will make it.

For those who have asked how they can help, please consider a donation to the Leila Grace Memorial Fund at US Bank (Account # 153665833767). Once our expenses have been covered, any remainder will be given to the organizations that have graciously helped us through the last few months. We realize that the holiday season makes finances tight for everyone, and of course will still be happily and gratefully accepting prayers and kind words. God hears our prayers, and he will continue to carry us through.

Emilee, Leila's proud mommy.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Birth of Baby Leila Grace

Love you forever and always, baby girl.

Baby Leila Grace - Our Journey in Photographs

I wanted to share the slideshows I created for Leila's service yesterday with all those who were unable to attend. It meant a lot to me to be able to make these myself and have them to watch forever. I hope you enjoy them as well. See the post titled "The Birth of Leila Grace" for the second video. Turn up your volume and have your tissues handy. <3

I will share soon all about her service, when I am feeling strong enough to write. Until then...

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Hey God, Are You Listening?

Hey God. It's Emilee.

I'm going to need you pretty badly today. My family will need you. Our friends near and far will need you. I know you're a busy guy, but can I ask I huge favor? Please place your hands upon us as we make our official send off to our little girl and celebrate her life. Can you do that? After all, I gave you a beautiful and perfect angel last week.... I think that's a fair trade, don't you?

You have a lot of people to watch over, hold, protect and heal... but that's your job, and I hear you're pretty good at it.You have lead me through this journey, even when I had strayed from you and your word for a long time. You have kept me breathing, kept my feet moving one in front of the other even when I was frozen and felt I couldn't go forward.

Lord, there are people who are struggling with this loss in a different way than we are. Very special and important people we really love and need, but will unfortunately not be holding out hands today. Please wrap them in your love and comfort and let them feel your presence.

You gave me, William, our family and the whole world such an amazing gift in little Leila Grace, and for that I thank you. I wish she didn't have to leave us so soon, but I know she is in your loving arms and basking in the glow of heaven.

Hold my hand as I drive to the church today. Keep my head clear and allow me to arrive safely. Take extra special care of us, as this day will be incredibly difficult.

I trust in you.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Message from a Broken Heart

One week ago, you left us. My belly, my arms and my heart are empty, I miss you with such fierceness that there are moments when I don't even know how to breathe.

As I was driving home this morning from taking Will to work, I had a million thoughts in my head. A thousand things I wanted to write, and now as I sit here, I can't manage to remember any of them. I'm trying to keep myself busy with cleaning, running errands, I even went out with friends last night... the last thing I remember is falling asleep in Will's arms with tears running down my face. Nothing is taking this pain away.

Because my head is in such a fog, I am going to write my thoughts out a little differently that I typically would. I am not going to elaborate on each thought as I usually do... I just need to get them out of my head and onto paper. These thoughts are raw and honest, and not pretty. This is my broken heart speaking:

I know you are free from pain and suffering, but I am not. It's not fair. I want to grow a pair of wings and join you. Not a moment passes where you are not my main focus.

I miss you holding you in my arms. A day was not enough. I am carrying around the blanket you were wrapped in like I'm a toddler. It comes with me in my purse when I leave. It comes with me to bed at night.

I cannot eat more than a few bites of food. My appetite is non-existent, though I have found my appetite for alcohol has grown. It's not healthy. I cannot allow myself to abuse substances to numb the hurt. They work, but only briefly and I have a life and a family to care for.

I am not the same person I was before I lost you. My heart is in a million pieces and will never be put back together the same way.

I hate that all that is left of you is ashes. Your urn is beautiful, I carry you in a dove on my necklace, but I wish it was you and not just what remains of you.

I don't see me when I look in the mirror. I see a woman with swollen, puffy, bloodshot eyes that make-up cannot hide. Her skin is pale, she looks worn and tired. That woman doesn't smile much either.

I feel like I am failing my son, your big brother who loves you dearly.. He needs so much love right now and it needs to come from me, but I haven't been able to pull myself together. I don't want him to see me cry all the time. I want him to keep being a child, and play and have fun... but I'm not quite ready to join him.

I have so much to do, and I don't want to do any of it. I don't even want to get out of bed and shower some days. The world does not stop turning just because mine did, and I want to pause time so I can just be.

I'm dreading your services tomorrow. I know they will be beautiful, and there will be so much love in that church, but I want them to be perfect. You deserve perfection. I'm also dreading it because I feel like it is closing a chapter and I am not ready to close. Soon, people will stop sending messages of hope and kind words, people will begin to forget about us and your story as time goes on. Leila, please know that time will NEVER take you out of my head or heart.

I love this photo. I was happy. I had you with me. 

I miss you. I need you. I love you. I'm broken. Please be by my side.