Birthday Angel

One year ago today, my sister became a mother for the first time. 

The joy and love we all felt as we celebrated my niece’s birthday was overwhelming. 
A new baby to love! 
What greater gift is there on earth? 

All the celebration of my little Tenacious D’s birth ended much too soon… my poor niece suffered massive brain trauma after 2 of her 3 undetected heart-defects took their toll on her tiny 3 1/2 week old body. And 2 months ago, our little fighter’s life tragically ended
The last year has been one of joy and deeper heartache than I could have ever imagined.
As much as I keep thinking we’re “supposed to be” celebrating my niece’s 1st birthday this weekend, with first messy bites of cake, balloons, pony-rides, spoiling her rotten with gifts, maybe even watching her take her first step…  I have to remind myself that “supposed to” may not always be what is. 
Reality can be a tough pill to swallow, but acceptance is a part of life. As is death… 
There is so much that my little niece taught me. The sacrifices my sister & brother-in-law made for their daughter also taught me just how important it is to treat each day as a gift, no matter how difficult that day is. Embracing every moment I have with the hubs & my little girls… it’s something I no longer just say or take for granted. 
Today, I want to remember Delaney with her big, bold eyes and smile, celebrating her birthday in heaven with my nephew Eric, who’s life was also cut much too short… I know in my heart that they are both in a better place, instead of suffering here on earth. 
As my angels celebrate their beautiful new life in heaven, I can feel their love & enduring strength embracing me, deep within my heart. 
I don’t ask for much from my readers, but everyone always asks what they can do for you during difficult times. Here’s what you can do, in honor of my niece’s first birthday: embrace the ones you love. Whether that’s through a physical embrace, phone call, text message… whathaveyou. There’s plenty of bad things to focus on, but take a moment to see through the negative, because if you look hard enough, there’s something good to discover in every moment. 
The good I’m focusing on today? My nephew, Delaney’s little brother… is growing healthy within my sister’s womb right now, and will be born (with a great amount of fanfare & celebration!!) this summer. I know in my heart that Delaney is looking out for her little brother, making sure he’s safe, happy and healthy. Even though they will never meet on earth, I know Delaney will always be in her little brother’s heart too. 

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