Second Island, Second Time

We honeymooned in Virgin Gorda, falling in love with the island as we fell in love with being married.
Since we were practically almost already there, we hopped on a tiny plane and headed over from San Juan.  We'd been promising each other we'd go back for years.  And then Celia got sick and we spent nights with her, sharing tears instead of our own bed.  When she died our pact pretty much grew wings.
The only way our time in Virgin Gorda could've felt more like heaven were if she'd been there.
The Baths, giant boulders brought to the surface by volcanic eruptions, at Devil's Bay.
More creatures for Tucker.



Ten Days, Two Islands (Part 1)

Andy attended a critical care conference in Puerto Rico last week, and I tagged along.  We spent just one day in San Juan years ago, and had always looked forward to revisiting.  Besides sunshine and sleep, sweet friends and great food and interesting cultural entertainment, one of the highlights was exploring the forts of Old San Juan, battlements that were begun in the 16th century.  
Our time there happened to coincide with the city's largest party of the year, the San Sebastian Street Festival.  Old San Juan was thick with hundreds of thousands of people, four days worth of parades and artisans and food and drink.  We were glad to have time there both during and not during the festival.
 Tuck asked us to take pictures of creatures




We're going to take a break from this space for awhile.  We've slapped up a few photos of the boys for you to look at if you'd like, and we'll look forward to being back here at the end of the month.


Gone Girl

There’s not protocol to follow when your baby dies.  A year ago we sat around the room, all of us who had spent so many middles of the night with her.  We took turns holding her body, even though the little girl in her was gone.  We whispered in her ear, stroked her cheeks, snipped her hair.

There's no good way to mark the date of your child's death.  Tonight we huddled around a table, a few of the people who loved her most, a small fraction of the folks who must have been thinking about her today.  We ate and drank and toasted and shed tears.

She is gone, and so with her, some of us.  Not us entirely, but the part of us that left the room with her last year.
We appreciate your messages and your shared memories, we appreciate you remembering her today.  Thank you.  
And please, bring her up again later too, because fear of her being forgotten feels somehow worse than living through her death.


Our Missing Girl

Lately we find ourselves missing our missing girl a little more than usual.  A year has passed, twelve swiss cheese months full of random gaping holes.
We know Celia was not more special, and we are not more tortured, than anyone else.  But doesn't every parent feel like their child is utterly unprecedented, like losing one would be the end of the world?  We know we’re not the only family to go through a devastating health crisis, and yet ours is the story we know best.  Our instinct continues to be to bring it here, the beauty and the angst, and we could apologize for regurgitating the same thoughts and feelings, but her influence is all that remains and we're afraid of losing that too.

She's been dead for a year, a symphony of days lived in a variety of tempos and timbres, slow times and minor keys and supersilence.  Without the constant bass line of her care, like the drone note of bagpipes, we didn't realize what had been playing till it stopped, and then the tacet emerged a tangible thing in its own right.  The boys keep us busy and fill our home with noise, and our hearts are always two-thirds full, but some days all we hear is silence, all we feel is one-third empty. 

We are thankful, still, for parts of it.  For the discoveries we made about ourselves and about each other.  For the humbling opportunities to need help, and to accept it.  For the chance to find, if not optimism, at least strength, in the face of adversity.  For the glimpses of beauty we may not have otherwise noticed.  For our child with the spirit of a warrior and the face of an angel.

Writing about it here, over and over, our intention is never for you to feel obligated to illuminate it somehow.  But could you do something to honor her memory today?  Light a small candle or raise a generous glass.  Make a modest donation or do an extraordinary kindness.  By all means, hug your pets and your people.

The BDSRA office has moved.  Their new address is 1175 Dublin Rd. Columbus, OH 43215


Lovely Weather

It was only two weeks ago that we were outside, for a few minutes, wading through and wallowing in a foot of snow.  This weekend's unseasonable warmth invited hours of outdoor activities and I remembered how, when I'm outside with the boys, I don't wonder where I'm supposed to be.  In spring and summer and fall, when boredom strikes or when chaos hits and I wonder who they are and who I am - if I have any doubts about my day - we go outside.  Winter seems to preclude outdoor time, the same way it seems to affect moods and showcase amateur driving. 
So this weekend was a treat.  Because sometimes, inside, nothing matters, and then outside every small thing does.


Phone photo roundup

1.  road trip
2.  wild, wonderful
3.  same swing, different season
4.  different swing, different brother

5.  mostly bright, occasionally calm
6.  where is Tollie's hair?
7.  #nativitybroughttoyoubystarkenterprises
8.  heavenly peace #helookslikehissister

9.  remembering Celia, at the GHPL
10.  such a treat when someone finds, and shares, old photos we haven't seen
11.  now Mabel rests in Celia's NapNanny  via rameelin
12.  little Molly sent her birthday balloon to heaven via mkstahlohio

13.  Tollie's first day of work #redroofinn
14.  goggles in the tub
15.  first batch of yogurt
16.  Friday night at Franklin Park

17.  snow angel
18.  picture-taking  #tolliverishiding
19.  new "nephew" Thatcher Desmond #liveswaytoofaraway via mollyholstein 
20.  french braids