It's been a little while since I have shared our grief through words publicly. And it's not because we haven't been grieving our Mazie or all of the "what should or could be's". In fact, right now it's pretty heavy.
I will preface this blog post with clarifying that this is one of the intentional outlets to honor where we are in our grief, meanwhile also honoring Mazie, to bring awareness to the grief journey and maybe even encouraging or relating to someone else who is grieving alongside us - that God's miracles and promises are just on the other side of our sorrow.
This serves as a journal of sorts to reflect on to see personally how grief does change and evolve for us. More than that, we can evidently see God at work in every detail. We stand in faith that He didn't cause our pain and the tragedy but holds us THROUGH it.
With that said, let me sum up what this past year has been like. We have been a bit more silent and private. After Gabby was born and the extreme scare we had from my emergency ICU stay and surgery, we remained in pure gratitude of surviving yet again after another unexpected, fearful time. I will NEVER take for granted the prayers answered and for the exceptional medical care we received (see previous blog posts for reference on what happened). And I will never forget thinking back on my 2nd time of being wheeled to have a MRI with contrast that it felt like I was about to see my Mazie in Heaven. Truly. My blood pressure was that low that I could physically feel how fast I was fading. All of that to say again just how grateful we were/are for a 2nd chance. After Mazie, that hits DEEP.
Mazie on the left and Gabby on the right
And then there is her baby sister, our rainbow miracle baby, Gabrielle Faith. What a blessing she has been to our family. Just like our other 3 children, we prayed FOR her before she was born. Her big brother, Myles, first put it on our heart to think about sharing all of the love we still had to give towards expanding our family. God answered our prayers abundantly and faithfully. Only with the new heart and lens (and of course SO MUCH HEALING and GRACE) God has given us that this baby girl has brought joy back to our broken hearts. Never could any of us have imagined feeling joy again. That in itself is an unexplainable miracle and a blessing from the Lord.
We see Mazie through Gabby. They have so many similarities, even developmentally. They were both born just 2 weeks apart in April so the timing of them reaching milestones is parallel. We've spent the past year fully soaking in every moment. Less time on social media and more embracing what is in front of us. With the boys, we have to be as present as possible to be in tune with their emotions too. We have had so much change, from Mazie, to moves and then with Gabby's arrival, it's important we understand what their needs are and how we can best support them. Grief is a roller coaster for all of us y'all.
That brings us to today. On August 12th, Gabby turned 16 months. I am ACUTELY aware of her being so close to the age that Mazie's life ended here with us way too soon. I can't even put into words clearly how that feels. I guess the easiest way is it seems to be bittersweet, just like beginning to see Gabby reach milestones that Mazie was close to. Here comes the real and vulnerable transparency. The immense fear that I have no other choice but to surrender and pray to be released that what if we don't see past 17 months again, THAT innocence of life before child loss is gone.
As bereaved parents, we constantly now walk in the present world of grief + gratitude. Walking in gratitude means we are so very thankful for His restoration, an eternity in Heaven where we will see Jesus and Mazie again, for our family and friends here that we are blessed with in the meantime. Walking in grief means we are now paralyzed in the knowing of what could happen, that while we all wish to place our children in a bubble, that is just not possible. We HAVE to place them in God's hands.
We are also in a season that reminds us painfully that Mazie should be starting preschool. Her big brothers begin a new chapter at a new school on September 5th and we know that she would be possibly starting this week. As always, we imagine what that would look like and what she would look like now. Would she go where her brothers went to pre-k? Who would her teacher be? Would she be shy or easily make friends? Would her hair be long and still curly? Would she still pull bows right out of her hair? Would she be talking up a storm and still "sing" at meal time? Would she cry or be excited on the first day? So many questions and our mind is left to wonder. And that's super hard. What gives us peace is thinking instead Mazie girl is in the most beautiful school we could possible think up this side of Heaven with the very BEST teacher, Jesus.
As we approach 3 years without our Mazie, we hope you'll remember her with us. Extend lots and LOTS of grace to any grieving parent, no matter how long it's been. We can't and will NEVER move on. Only marching UPWARD, sometimes very slowly, on our climb to Heaven.