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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9 Comments

  1. Posted March 22, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    This post brought tears to my eyes. I’m so sorry for what your family has been through, but you’re doing a beautiful job of keeping her memory alive by turning tragedy into love.

    I pray that the birth this summer is everything your entire family envisions 🙂

  2. Posted March 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Aw, sweet Delaney. I’m so sorry for the pain this weekend must bring. But how absolutely wonderful for her little brother on the way!! I hope and pray all goes smoothly for him, and I know you all can’t wait to celebrate his arrival. That will certainly be one helluva party! And you’re right – they will most definitely always be in each other’s hearts.

  3. Posted March 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Amazing post! Your family inspires us to be the best parent we can be and hug our babies extra tight today. Prayers for a healthy pregnancy and a bouncing sweet baby boy this summer.

    • Posted March 23, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much, Sara. I’m so happy to hear that Delaney has inspired love & hope in so many people!

  4. Posted March 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Happy birthday dear Delaney. You are a angel looking down on your many loved ones now. Thanks for blessing this world with your presence for a short and meaningful time.

    Kelli – you guys are in my thoughts and prayers. And I am squeezing my little girls that much tighter right this second.

    • Posted March 23, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Alexia. I know a lot of people who have had babies over the last year were especially affected by this story on a different level. I’m sure you are cherishing every moment with your beautiful girls!!

  5. Posted March 24, 2012 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    “there’s something good to discover in every moment. ” <--Love this, so true. Thinking of you and your family on this sad day. I know her brother is going to be strong and loving and an amazing blessing to your family.

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    Kelli Williams

    Kelli Williams

    Keeping up with 2 little girls, writing assignments, music gigs, the house, laundry, ETC, backwards, wearing ass kicking boots and a smile, without spilling my beer. Ok, ok, so I spill my beer, but my floors have never been more germ-free since I started putting a little alcohol on them. Who needs ammonia...

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