Monday, June 13, 2011

3 Years

June 13 today. Three years ago I enjoyed the last morning and early afternoon I would have with all four of my little girls. I remember Camille waking up unconsolably sad. She kept crying and screaming and it seemed nothing I did would soothe her. This was atypical for her. It worried me. I wondered if she might be in pain or sick.

Finally in desperation I gave her a sugar cookie with pink frosting. It was not the best breakfast in the world, I admit, but it made her happy. I was glad to have found something that would stop her worrisome cry. The rest of the day she was her normal self.

Later that morning she snuck into the pantry and climbed the step stool. She called and called for me. I finally got a minute to stick my head in and see what she was up to. She was so proud of herself. She looked at me with her big smile and stamped her foot down on the top step where she stood. I called to Jonathan. He came over to see. I said "that is our little girl right there Jonathan." She was so delighted to have us there noticing her big accomplishment.

I made homemade macaroni and cheese for the kids. She loved it. I put her in her high chair to eat some while I went to chase Lauren down to change her stinky diaper.

Minutes later my whole world came crashing down and my life and my family changed forever.

Three years later, I am so grateful that it is three years later. I am so grateful that I am not hurting as badly as I was three years ago. Does it still hurt? Yes. yes. But it is not the searing debilitating pain that it was three years ago.

I am so grateful for the joyful ways my life has changed in the past three years. I am grateful for my two sons who have been added to my family. I am grateful for the wonderful ways my girls have grown and developed as people. I am so very grateful for the deeper, richer, and even more purposeful relationship I have with my husband. There is not doubt to either of us that we are stronger as a couple now because of this trial.

I am grateful for the acute appreciation losing Camille has given me for each of my children. I truly do appreciate them every minute. Even when Noble is tired and on a path of destruction through the house or the older girls are being disobedient or fighting or sick or otherwise being naughty. Even when I am up at night with Harrison so many times I have lost count or I am being thrown up on, yelled at, hit, or pooped on. Even in those less than lovely moments of motherhood, I appreciate and value and thank God for my children and that I am privileged to be their mother.

I have been riding waves of emotion this weekend. My heart is feeling the high tide of the season. I haven't yet had a big cry but I have felt one building. It is like those days when you can feel the storm in the air but no rain has fallen yet. I will let it come when it does. It will come and it will go and I will move forward into yet another year in my life as an angel's mother.

31 comments:

Lena Baron said...

Thinking of you tonight. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

Kate said...

I am grateful for your blog and the way it makes me want to be a better mother. Thankyou for this beautiful post. Thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie, that is such a gorgeous photo of Cami at the end of your post. I don't think I have seen that one before. She has such a beautiful (almost wicked!!) smile on her face.

I am thinking of you. I read every word, as I always do. I am just going upstairs now to give my kids a kiss whilst they sleep, and will think of Cami and you when I do.

All my love,

Jane

m&msmommy said...

Thinking of you and praying for you.

Love and prayers being sent your way...

Joyce Kay said...

I am thinking of you. I don't know the pain that you have gone through in losing a child but I know that God will keep His arms wrapped around you and your family. A little angel is looking down and smiling on her family that she will meet again some day.
Children are a precious gift from God. He has given them to us to raise in a Godly way. I pray each day for my children and for God to help me raise them the right way.
My cousin lost a child in a house fire. Her child had just turned 6 years old 2 weeks prior to the fire. Though that pain hurt so badly, we know that God was with Abbie and is still with her. She is looking down on us smiling her beautiful smile. Since that day I have hugged and kissed my children just a little bit more. Told them I love them all the time. Tried so hard to have more patience and to let the housework go and spend more time with them. God never promised our lives would be easy but he did promise us eternal life. May God Bless you and your family. Keep blogging!

Cheryl said...

Those anniversaries are so difficult as it seems like the memories are so much more fresh and painful. Hugs to you and your beautiful family. Not only has Camille's accident made you a better mother she has made me a better mother as well in that I appreciate my children more and being a Mother more. Thank you for sharing your feelings and experiences as to be a light to others! I am sure Camille is near as she misses you as much as you miss her!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the example you are to me. Thank you for being my teacher...teaching me how to be resilient, courageous, hopeful and even joyful while I battle to survive deep trauma and hurt in my own life. I thought of you the other day while driving down a dark and unknown road being built near my home. I had never traveled it before and I was so scared, but there was a speedy and experienced driver in front of me who I followed and was grateful for. I got home safely...that is what this blog is for me right now...what you are to me right now. The lead car who I follow to get me home safely. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Emily @ RemarkableHome said...

Thinking of you and loving you!

Laura Lee said...

You are amazing! Thank you for sharing!

Andrea said...

Thinking of you guys today.

Anonymous said...

Written beautifully...thanks for all your deep insights, you have taught me much & made me think much of the way I am a mother. I can be, and should be, more patient & attentive all the time with my children. Thanks for the sweet reminder. And boy oh boy, do I admire your courage & strength. Thanks for sharing & making me a better mother.

Melanie said...

I echo all the comments before mine. Thank you for sharing this with us. You are such an inspiration- reading your blog and applying your has definitely made me a better, more appreciative, more patient mother. Sending love and prayers your way!

Olsens R Us said...

Thank you for such a tender post. You have a gift for eloquently describing the raw emotions that many of us cannot express. As you ride this wave of grief may you be buoyed up by all of us who are praying for you.

Mom of 3 said...

I have only been reading your blog for a short time (I linked off of Shawni's blog after the Mother of the Year event). I cannot imagine taking the journey you have been on. My prayers are with you. I decided to post a comment because you mentioned that Camille was crying inconsolably that morning. It struck me because I read a blog of another Mom who lost her toddler girl to choking. The morning of her passing, her little girl was also crying unconsolably (very unusual for that sweet girl too). Her mom speculated that she was crying because her spirit woke up knowing that it would be her last day on earth. As I type this I don't know if this story will be comforting to you or not, but to me it is a testament that earth life is just a very small portion of the big picture, and that spirit life after this is very, very real. Love to you and your family.

Melissa J. said...

Been thinking about you the last week as I new this time was approaching. I love how you closed your post "moving on as an angel's mother." So beautifully said!

Sunshine Promises said...

Only 4 months down this path, I am more familiar with the searing pain than I am the distance of time. I am glad to hear the pain changes. I'm countin' on that.

P.S. It was interesting to hear of your daughter's behavior that morning. The night before our 20 month old Bennett passed in his sleep, he awoke screaming at the top of his lungs. He was frightened and inconsolable and it took me quite sometime to get him back to sleep. In hindsight, I think he knew what was coming and wanted just one more day. We'll we got it. And I treasure every one of those memories.

Hugs and Prayers for you, Sweet Mama . . .

Tiffany said...

Loves to you and your sweet cute family. How proud Camille must be of how you and Jonathon that pushed forward with faith. You are so dear to my heart and one of the first to help me with jack. You'll forever be etched into my heart!

Sent a pink balloon off today (well...it had a lot of pink in it)...with a little note for Camille. I told Jack to give it to her if he got it by accident!

Loves,
Tif

Tiffany said...

PS...just read Amanda's comment. Jack also awoke screaming bloody murder the night before his accident. I looked at Coby and said..."He's YOUR baby....you better go get him." Then I had a strange thought..."What if that was the last time you ever heard him cry?!" I thought....WHAT A STUPID THOUGHT, and blew it off. I think they sort of know and it's sad for them too.

Samantha said...

I love what Tiffany said about how proud Camille must be of you all. That is such a beautiful photo. Thinking and praying for you tonight.

Sarah s. said...

Hugs and kisses Steph. I wish I read this before I came out in the street tonight. I know your heart is heavy- I just wanted to help you carry your load for a bit.

Anonymous said...

Your courage inspires, Stephanie.

Margaret said...

Thinking of you today! Sending you lots of hugs and I will hug my two little girls a little more today too!

Anonymous said...

I am not LDS nor have I lost a child but I find your writing both inspiring and profound. I am in awe of your strength, your faith and your love.

Jami said...

Stephanie, I have mostly been a silent follower these past three years. I had a baby girl just days after Camille died and came across your blog (somehow) the day I got home and cried with you for hours. I have grown to love you and appreciate your insight and wisdom and inspiration. Camille is truly beautiful and I'll continue to think of you this week and say little prayers here and there.

Diana...aka...MeMe said...

I wore my Camille bracelet and thought of you today Stephanie~

Jocelyn said...

My prayers are with you and your family

cat said...

hey steph -

just wanted to let you know that we're thinking of you tonight and you'll be in my prayers! i looked back at those two baby pictures of harrison and camille and it's amazing how much they look alike! hope your day's been peaceful.


love,

cat

ps - i JUST walked in the door from the dinner and figured it was too late to come to your dance party....darn!!!

Apron Appeal said...

The spirit speaks heart to heart so even when you wish you had the words the spirit can deliver the message to the ear that wants to hear. I think your heart speaks clearly & often.

The Gray Family said...

I have been thinking of you the past few days! Can't even count the number of times the past few years when my kids have been driving me bonkers and then I think about your family...then I give them a hug instead of yelling (honestly, I should still probably do a lot more hugging than yelling, but it's a start). I;m just sad that it took such a horrible thing to whip the rest of us into shape. Sending you prayers and happy thoughts!

Tournesol said...

What beautiful pictures of your little girl. I've been reading your blog for a few years and I am in awe of your faith and attitude. I had a near drowning experience with my son in the pool, he is absolutely fine but I still feel the anxiety 3 years later over what could have happened and how easily. I feel for your family.

Rach said...

Hi Steph,

I'm a day late and a dollar short. I knew Camille's day was coming up shortly, and somehow I still missed it.

Having lost Hannah, I knew pain and loss and could certainly sympathize with you. However, having Ellie around now, it really hit home for me just how much you lost. My heart stopped, I swear I did, when I looked at Ellie and realized she was Camille's age.

My heart hurts so very often for each of us who have experienced loss, but tonight, I have an extra hurt for you and your family.

Three years is a blessing in so many ways, you are absolutely right. But, now I'm living in fear of lost memories. They aren't a crisp and clear as they once were, and four years is fast approaching. The absence of that searing pain is truly a godsend, but I would love to have those clear memories back.

Hugs to you, my busy busy friend.