I guess one of the real reasons why I haven't written was because something so unthinkable, so unimaginable happened to someone I know. And without going into too much detail, I just felt all the raw emotions surging back. Tears flowed not only for my own grief but for the grief of others. In this moment of "shared" grief, I don't feel so alone. I feel as though I want to help in any way I can, to make it known that tragedies happen but there's hope...I'm still living and breathing. I thank God that the grief hasn't overpowered me and it doesn't make me bitter. It's amazing to see how many of my family and friends remember Penelope. It means a lot to me that she is remembered even though nobody but Ken and I have actually seen and held her. She is on so many people's hearts and in a way my prayers are answered. Through this tragedy, I wanted her short life to be meaningful. I want people to think about Penelope and hold their loved ones closer...appreciate the little bundles of joy God grants them...make the most of every single moment of life... That is how I desire to make Penelope's life meaningful.
On New Years Day (another holiday that I completely dreaded because it was another holiday without my baby), I encountered the kindest, most thoughtful gesture anyone could've shown me that day. On New Year's Day, our extended family follows Korean traditions and we bow to our elders as a sign of respect and say "Happy New Year". Then the elder family members give us money along with advice on how to live a prosperous life. Families go up, bow together and one by one every member of the family receives money. My family (consisting of me, my husband Ken, my 1st daughter Addison, and my 2nd daughter Juniper) went up to bow to all of my aunts and uncles. One of my uncles whispered in my ear, "Take this. We all know you have three children." And placed money into my hand. Just thinking about that moment takes my breath away and brings tears to my eyes. He remembered. I'm sure everyone there remembered, but he made an outright gesture to show that he remembered. It's truly little gestures like this that puts a smile on my face for days/weeks/months to come. The fact that she is remembered means the world to me.
A couple weeks ago I received my Penelope bear from Molly Bears. I opened up the box and there the bear was in a cute purple and aqua skirt and a patch that said 'Little Sister'. I lifted her out of that box with Addison by my side and held her close to me. The first thing that came out of my mouth was, "Wow she was so heavy" and I cried so hard. Addison brought me tissues, it's become her permanent job around here and she's become awesome at it...she just brings me tissues, gives me a hug, no questions asked, no words said. That bear slept in Addison's bed for the first couple nights and then on my bed the next few nights. Finally I set her on a shelf with a sign of her name that my sister painted, a candle with her picture and a cross. My husband and I both agree that the bear has brought such amazing, indescribable comfort.
I know for those people who care about me and love me...they just want to know how I'm doing and whether I am doing better. And to answer that right now, yes I'm doing better. I have my moments where I say under my breath, "Life is so damn unfair" or when I cry because I think about what should've been, but those moments have become less frequent. The pain I feel now is more of a dull sadness, a deep aching and longing.
In many ways we're all made up of many layers, whether it be from past struggles or accomplishments, but they make us who we are. Now I have a couple more added layers...layers of melancholy, brokenness, and gratefulness.