Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Angels and Butterflies

Today our little girl would have been 17 years old. Of course, she wouldn't be a little girl any more. She would be driving, dating, about to start her senior year in high school. She would have had lots of friends and boyfriends. She would have been out shopping at the mall, spending money on clothes that she just had to have. She would have been rolling her eyes at her parents. She would have been calling her big sister to ask about advice about college. She would have been an awesome aunt to her niece and nephew.

Of course that list goes on and on. She would have been and could have been anything. But what she is is gone. She has been gone for seventeen years. It's so hard to believe that so much time has passed. That I can still remember the details so vividly. We only had her for such a short time, but we loved her so much and still miss her so much today.

Most of the people who read this blog know about Gabrielle. And if you are reading this and don't know about her and want to know, just ask. She is our littlest angel. She never had the chance to even take a breath in this world. She never had the chance to cry out, to look at her mommy and daddy, to meet her sister and brother. And all the grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins who never had the chance to hold her.

But life is not fair. Things happen that we just don't understand. Things happen that are hard to accept. After she died, I wrote in a journal. I think that's what finally helped me sort through what I was feeling. I wrote in this journal for a year. It's hard for me to go back and read it now, because it brings back alot of painful memories and I was very angry for the first few months. It's hard to hide that. I also joined a support group that dealt with miscarriage, stillborn and newborn deaths. That also helped. This group had a newsletter that anyone could contribute to with stories or poems or letters. I had written a poem for it. The title was "Our Littlest Angel". It's amazing how words can just flow when the feelings behind it is so intense. For me, sharing something that was so personal was hard. But over the next year, I wrote and submitted a couple of writings for them to print. It helped me so much. But even though I wrote a few pieces, my favorite will always be "Our Littlest Angel". It was my tribute to our baby girl.

I have done things over this last seventeen years that make me feel better. Other people may think it's weird or strange, but I felt that if it made me feel better, then it didn't matter what anyone else thought. I hang a Christmas stocking up each year with her name on it. I make sure there is an age appropriate gift under the tree with her name on it each year. I put up a small Christmas tree with little decorations on it that was put on her grave that first Christmas after she died. We still order flowers to put on her grave every birthday. And many thanks to Stan, who ordered a dozen white roses for her this year. I sign cards to family and close friends with a G inside a heart along with our names. And a couple of years ago, I got a tattoo of a butterfly in Gabrielle's honor. It's small and it's only for me. Again, if you don't know the meaning behind the butterfly, just ask. I love springtime because that's when the butterflies come out. Every time we go to her grave, we always look for butterflies. Usually we see them.

Over the years, I have had many opportunities to talk about Gabrielle. I love talking about her. My nieces and nephews were young when Gabrielle died. But now that they are older, some of them have asked me about her. And it may make me cry (usually it does), but that's okay. I love it that they ask me. I love that they don't act like she didn't exist. I love it that they are curious about her. And now, I love thinking that my mom is up there holding Gabrielle tight in her arms.

To our little angel, who left us too soon, we love you and miss you.

Happy Birthday.

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