There's a group of women who have lost a baby at some stage who have chosen to keep their loss very close. It's not wrong; it's how they've decided to cope and how they've chosen to honor that baby's life. These women will tell how they frequently look at their other children playing, and they imagine that little baby - the age they would have been, the new milestones they would be reaching, how they'd be playing with the other siblings in the family. I am not one of these women.
I think I've processed my grief from Lily's death in a very healthy way. I've had the freedom to talk about her and tell my story on multiple occasions. It still brings tears to my eyes, but rarely do I have a day anymore where I'm just sitting down and crying over our loss. Some of that is just the way I've chosen to grieve and move on, and some of that is out of necessity. My three, beautiful, loud children don't exactly allow me the "luxury of wallowing". Sometimes they don't even allow me the luxury of remembering. And for me, that's been a good thing.
As the girls have gotten older, though, it's seemed more and more important to remember Lily in a way that shows the girls that she was, and is, an important part of our lives. We give them the freedom to talk about her and ask questions. They frequently bring her up to total strangers in the grocery store (that's another story), and I think, to the best of Steve and I's abilities, we've created a culture in our home where Lily is still part of the family, if sometimes more so for the girls than for us.
This year, on the day Lily was born (August 22nd), I wanted to do something special, so the girls would be able to remember her in their own way and spend just a few moments thinking about this sister they've never met. I've seen so many beautiful examples of people releasing balloons in memory of a loved one, so that's what we decided to do. We told the girls that God would pick all of the balloons out of the clouds and give them to Lily so that she would know we were thinking about her.
Bella writing a message on her balloon.
Both of the girls, with their balloons
Steve and I's messages on our balloons.
Saying a prayer first, and asking God to protect our balloons.
Letting our balloons float up to the clouds.
The girls were thrilled at thought of communicating with this sister, Steve was a wreck, and I was...thoughtful. I was thankful that we took the time out to think about Lily, even if it made us sad, and I know it was important to show the girls how important she is to Steve and I, even if we don't talk about her often.