I was up super early this morning, 4:33am to be exact. I woke up for the one night nursing session that I still have with Ezra. He always wakes right around 4:30am and it is our best nursing session of the day. He is sleepy and snuggly, and there are no distractions in his dark, quiet bedroom.
I laid in bed for awhile after I nursed Ezra and tried to go back to sleep. I got hit with a coughing fit, ‘tis the season for colds. I didn’t want to wake Shaun and I was not able to comfortably settle in, so I headed out to the couch and parked myself under a cozy throw blanket, with a cup of tea, by the lighted Christmas tree.
I drink tea every morning, but I made it early this morning because I knew the warmth would feel good on my scratchy throat. The kitchen was very dimly lit with just an oven light on, so through sleepy eyes, I quietly prepared my tea because I definitely did not want my boys to be awake with me at 5am. I reached in the cupboard for a mug, and as I pulled it down from the shelf I could see it was my “L” mug.
Two years ago at Christmas, I was 34 weeks pregnant with Lucy. Shaun has always been a thoughtful gift giver. For Christmas that year he got some mugs for me from Anthropologie with our kids’ first initial on them; an O for Oliver and an L for Lucy. We now have letters for all of us, Shaun, Ezra, me and a T for Tomczak.
The sun hadn’t risen yet, and I sat by the tree sipping my tea and remembering my girl. We have a lot of photos with her that my sister took at the hospital after she was born. Pre-tea this morning I was looking through them on my computer. Only recently have I been able to look at them and really see them. I notice details and things I never did before because I am not quite as overcome with intense emotion when I see them. Well, that might not be totally true, I get emotional every time I look at them, but now as time has passed it isn’t the insanely heavy emotion when I feel like I can no longer bear it, and I have to stop looking at the photos.
I can now look at the photos and see beauty, which is crazy and surprising. We are disheveled and dirty, we are wearing pajamas. In the background of every photo you see hospital equipment and gear. But man, do you see love. And you see sadness, because of our love for her. The photos have raw emotion, capturing beauty in the darkest day of our lives. I think the photos are nothing short of beautiful and I treasure them.
Next month would be Lucy’s second birthday. Last year in January, and many months leading up to it, I was a complete wreck. It is crazy what a year has done to my grief journey. Obviously, I still have days and moments when something triggers me and I burst into tears. I think about her every day and I miss her every day. I am so sad that she is not here. But this morning, as I browsed through the photos of her, photos that contain death and sadness, a thought interrupted the sadness in my head, a thought of her saying, “Don’t worry mama, I am alive with Jesus.”
It is easy, as her mama, to sit here and desire to hold her. It is easy to wish she was here, chatting with me in a sweet two-year-old little girl voice. I wish we had gifts for her under the tree, Christmas pajamas to match with her brothers and some handmade, toddler ornaments with her art on them. But as I type this, and my eyes fill with tears, in the depths of my heart I know she is alive in heaven and for that my heart feels glad.
So for this morning, I will sip my tea in my “L” mug and dream about what she might be doing right now. The sun is rising. My boys will wake up soon and the day will begin; it will get loud and busy. These early morning moments when I can just focus my attention on her and my memories of her feel like a gift, and moments when I still get to be Lucy’s mom.