I have had the most wonderful visit with my dear friend, Julie. She drove for 13 hours yesterday to get here and will leave early tomorrow morning. Talk about devotion, friendship and love! Brien and I met up with her last night, having dinner and drinks. Today we visited Colonial Williamsburg (where B and I both got rather sunburned) with Jessie and the girlies. We had a grand time exploring and visiting and just being together as a group of family and friends.
And yet, I've had a few difficult times last night and today. I honestly believe I need to sit and reflect on my day each evening and write it out so I can read it. This seems to help me more than I can describe. I keep reliving the moments of panic I had when I realized I could not find Hannah, that she was gone. The terror I felt was mixed with shock and a feeling I don't know that I will ever be able to describe. I somehow knew she was gone and only prayed to God they would find her body, that we wouldn't be waiting for days and days for her to be recovered.
Last night while rocking Lily for the third time (she had a rough evening), I was stroking her head, smelling her sweet Lily smell and suddenly I was smelling Hannah and the mix of Han, river water and sunscreen that I sniffed one final time in that hospital room. There are images and feelings I wish I could banish from my memory and heart. I would like to be done with the guilt and feelings of failure associated with losing Hannah. I would like to be done with the memory of Hannah in the ER. I wish I could just supplant all those memories with the joyous and joyful ones of Hannah that permeate the rest of my time with her. It's not fair that four hours' worth of memories should cloud almost six years' worth. It's just not fair and I HATE it!!!!!!
When I've been visiting with Julie, I've had great memories of Hannah to enjoy and share. (An aside: I worry people will tire of hearing Hannah stories, that they won't know how to respond to me and will be awkward trying to tiptoe around the subject of my sparkly girl.) But, when Julie was gone, I was left to my own devices and I felt so strange. I miss Hannah and have a HUGE hole in my chest. The anxiety has reappeared to torment me and I feel maudlin knowing there are new memories to be made without Hannah.
Today, while we were at CW, there was so much Hannah would have delighted in. I took in everything I could, determined to enjoy it all as Hannah would and yet I was so disappointed and sad she wasn't physically with me for me to laugh at and squeeze and hold hands with. Lily and Ella certainly provided distractions but it wasn't the same. Things just aren't the same without the Monkey around.
Julie and Brien and I went on to visit the huge Yankee Candle store while Jessie and the girls stayed home--Lily to nap, Ella and Jessie to rest. This was an enormous milestone for me as the memories of Hannah there are very overwhelming. The store is much like a mall with mini-stores scattered throughout. There is a home store, a fragrance store (Brien's favorite ;oP), two different toy stores, a "Builder Bear" as Han called it, and a very large Christmas section. The Christmas rooms are off a main holiday area that has a starry ceiling and Christmas displays everywhere. Periodically it will "snow". This "snow" is not confetti or papery type snow, but spitty bubbles that look fairly realistic.
A had a horrible moment while in the main holiday room. Every year we purchase Christmas ornaments for the girls with the idea they will take them with them when they leave home and begin to have their own Christmases. For one moment as I was looking at the ornaments I forgot Hannah was gone and was trying to decide which one would be best for her this year. (It should be noted I'm one of those horrible human beings that Christmas shops throughout the year so as to be finished by the beginning of December so I can begin wrapping and getting into the holiday spirit early.) I was horrified to come to the realization she is not here, physically with me, and then to realize we have a box full of ornaments Han won't be putting on the tree this year is unbearable.
This hurts more than I can describe. If you read through my archives from the end of November into December you will see just how much I LOVE the holiday season. For me it's not the getting, it's the giving and the spirit of the season and Hannah was beginning to get it. I know she will be with us but I don't know how I'm going to face it. This is one of those times when I need to focus on the "now" and let the "future" occur as it will.
I keep referring to Han's physical presence because that is what I miss. She is with me, all around me in fact. She is in my head, my heart, my soul. She is in the flowers in my yard, the sparkles in my ears, the drawings on my walls (don't ask). I know she is watching and around us, but I can't see her with my eyes and hug her with my arms. I can't sniff her head and smell her sweet Hannah smell. She is with me and yet she isn't and some days it's just torture.
1. The weather today was beautiful! No stifling heat and oppressive humidity. There was a nice cooling breeze and it was lovely.
2. Sparkly earrings make everything better. :o)
3. CW and time spent with family and friends.
4. The water lilies are blooming again, this time there are two of them.
5. There were two frogs in the pond this evening, watching us watch them.
6. The wonders of CW and all the joy Han would have found in exploring everything there was to learn, touch, smell and see.
7. "Mommy, it's Yankee Candle!!!! May we go, please??" And so we did. :o)
8. Julie! Sweet, fabulous, wonderful Julie who braved I95 South yesterday afternoon to be here with me for less than 24 hours. What an amazingly special woman to do such a thing! :o)
1. CW without Hannah. She loved museums to distraction and absorbed everything and I know she would have loved our trip today. (Another one of those guilty moments--we live only 10 minutes away, why didn't we bring her?? Oh, yes, there was always tomorrow.)
2. Yankee Candle. Thank you Julie for making what might have been a horribly maudlin visit fun and giggle-worthy. And thank you, Brien for being there to hold my hand when I needed it.
3. A new person visiting the house without the Monkey around to give the grand tour.
4. A new person in the area, again, without the Monkey around to give the grand tour. Han was always so excited to see fresh blood with whom she could share her love of everything Williamsburg.
Well, this post certainly got away from me and took a turn I didn't know it was going to take. I had hoped to hop on and do a quick update and log off. Oh, well. I hope that by once again writing what is in my heart I'll be on the road to improvement and acceptance. Brien and I talk daily about how we are doing and how we feel Hannah is all around us. We have agreed we need to live our lives as Hannah would want us to, finding the wonder and beauty in the world around us, living life to the fullest while taking it all in at our won pace. We want her to be proud of who her parents are. We discuss how thrilled we are she has made such a global impact and we believe that helps keep her alive more than anything we could have done on our own. Hannah has truly made a difference, and as her Mommy, I couldn't be more proud.
P.S. The little frog continues to peek in our sidelight every evening. He was out there tonight as we were walking Julie to her car. So sweet!
P.P.S I LOVE to hear any and all stories that remind you of the Monkey! Please don't be afraid to share! They put smiles on my face!! :o)