We are back after a great weekend with friends. We took a few days and went to Tennessee to Dale Hollow and had a great time swimming, relaxing, and just enjoying our friends and our kids. Both Shane and I said that we really didn't think about anything back home which was nice. For me personally, I thought about Ella often (I do love talking about her, so it was nice to share a bit of her birth story with our friends) but it wasn't filled with sadness or pain. Just... thoughts... Last week I was gifted another beautiful necklace, this one with my kids names on it. I put it on each day and loved seeing all three of their names on it. I thought of Ella when I would talk and share stories. Much of what I have to share seems to be "before Ella" or "after we had Ella".
One thing I realized is that speaking Ella's name and sharing about her is not hurting quite as bad. It's beginning to feel more normal. Going out and doing "normal" things isn't quite so painful. I've been emailing a bit with a mama I met from a blog (of course!). Her son died 6 months ago. What connected me to her blog was that she wrote a post and said that she had lost track of counting the weeks. I am still counting Thursdays, but reading that she had stopped counting was good for me. In an email she wrote to me she said she doesn't have many "bad" days anymore and that she is in a much better place. I kind of feel like in the last week or so I've been able to see the healing taking place in my heart. I can see that "better place" she is talking about. Part of me likes that very much, but I also will admit that part of me is sad about that, like leaving the heavy grief behind is leaving a part of her. Now I know that's not true and that God doesn't give us guilt like that to carry around so when I think that, I try to focus on what God has given me.
God works in interesting ways. I am a big reader. I love to read blogs (ha! That's a funny understatement!) and books of all kinds. I have always been a reader and you could always know I was reading at least one book, most often more than one. Since I've had Ella, I haven't been able to pick up a book. I have a number of them waiting on my kindle and a stack in my bedroom. I've got magazines piling up as well. I've been online and have read through many blogs, but I have found myself searching and reading ones that have a focus of grief or loss or encouragement after a loved one dying. But not books. I just haven't had the energy or desire to read. I bought Angie Smith's I will Carry You for my kindle right after Ella was born and started it and immediately closed it. It was too soon. It has been a bit odd for me but I figured I'd start reading when I felt better.
This weekend. This past weekend I read a book.
That may not seem like much to you. But it is a big deal to me. I realized I was due to borrow from the kindle lending library again so I browsed the titles and picked one that looked good. And I read it. From start to finish in two days. (in the middle of being friendly with our hosts, and taking care of my kids and swimming and such, but every free minute- I read) The book itself was not extraordinary. I probably wouldn't recommend it to you, but it being able to read it was a milestone for me. I read this post by Angie Smith last night. I realized that God is mending my heart and filling it with his love and his strength. Reading a book, just for fun was a sign of that healing.
I still miss Ella so much and I still hurt, sometimes deeply, but I know I will be ok. I'll start to have more good days than bad and I will continue to be able to talk about Ella with joy. He will do as He's always done for me, when I let Him. He takes the parts of my life that are hurting, and messed up and He lovingly "mends" me back together. Then when I'm on the other side of the hurt, I realize how He's done it again for me. What an awesome God we serve. That's my prayer, that I'll keep healing and growing closer to God, giving him credit and glory for Ella's life.
Angie Smith, go and do it. She writes so well and is easy to read. She and her husband have a daughter in heaven, Audrey. In fact, the necklace my girls so thoughtfully gave me is a Lisa Leonard, designed by Angie and is called The Audrey. It has a heart on one side and my kids names on the other. It's made a bit heavier and meant that way so I'll feel it close to my heart.
I wrote this post and linked up to Angie's blog in celebration of her book Mending releasing. It can be purchased here or here.