Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Two Years Without You {Dancing a Dance Of Grief}

"Life is not about how you survive the storm; it's about how you dance in the rain."

Two years. Two years of learning to dance in the rain without you, J. She has learned how to dance beautifully in the rain. Maybe it's because she is young, and heaven doesn't seem so far away (or hard to understand), but she is dancing so beautifully without her birthmama. Sometimes I just watch her and I'm in complete awe of her, that at 4.5 years old, she lost one of the most important people in her life, and yet she still dances, full of joy. She misses you greatly, but she's learned a secret that I never have, or perhaps had at one point, and life and age changed it for me. I hope she never loses her naivety and keeps dancing in the storms that life may blow her way.
One of the very first things I heard shortly after your death was a woman talking about how she could dance (even in her grief) because she had Jesus. I promised then to dance even when it was hard. It's been so hard sometimes, J. I literally hate that you are gone. Maybe, as a Christian that is wrong, being that God designates the days of our life, but as a person who loved you, it's honest. I hate that our little girl has to go through the rest of her life never knowing you. I hate that you can never see her as a gymnast. She had her first competition a few weeks ago, and all I could think about was that you weren't there to see it, or at least be able to see pictures later. I hate that two years has gone by so quickly, yet also seemed so slow. I can't imagine looking down the road to five, or even ten years without you. It seems so unfathomable to me.
I took Xiomara to visit your mama and G & G this year. It was a beautiful, healing trip filled with tears of sadness and joy all mixed together. Your mama just kept saying, "J would have just loved this.". And I know she's right. You would have. Xiomara loved it, and keeps talking about one day going to visit her birth family in Georgia again. I sat at the foot of your grave and finally got to say goodbye to you. I'm not sure how to describe it, but for me, it was the most healing thing even though it was hard. I felt like you were right there. Sitting next to me as I wept, whispered promises, and said goodbye. I guess when our hearts our connected through our daughter, eternity doesn't break that connection.
Two years of grieving the loss of you seems unreal. For me grief looks like wondering what you were doing on this day (the day before) two years ago. Grief wonders if you had any idea you were going to die. Grief asks if you thought of Xiomara in the moments before you met Jesus. Grief mourns the reality that I will never know those answers; at least not on this side of heaven. Grief remembers that day and questions if maybe I somehow knew you were gone in the days before I was told.
I don't know if I've learned to dance in the rain these past two years, but I've sure tried. Those of us who loved you were all forced into the rain of grief, and we've all had to work our way through the storm of emotions that come at various times. Grief has looked at times like happiness, and other times it has been a flood of tears. It's been subtle, it's been anger, it's been depression, it's been anxiety, it's been devastation, it's been OK, and it's been peace. Those of us who loved you deeply, have danced the dance of grief because we loved you so much, J. And we still do.

To my sweet Xiomara, you have danced a dance of grief that no little girl should ever have to dance. I know you miss her, and I know you always will. She was a part of you. Remember what mama has always told you, because you love her and she loves you, that love doesn't change just because she is in heaven and you are here on earth. Love transcends eternity, because God is love. J will forever live on in your little heart, as you are a part of her.

This morning we danced together in the golden sunlight spilling through our dirty windows. We danced in celebration of your life, and we were happy, even if there were some tears. And I thought to myself, maybe, just maybe, I'm dancing in the rain of grief better than I ever thought I could. J, we love you and today we keep dancing as we send our love to you in heaven.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Nothing Is Wasted {Our Trip To Georgia}

I wrote this almost right after I came home from Georgia. Re-reading it again now, it seems so raw and vulnerable to me, and yet, that is what this adoption journey has been for us since the start. Today, on the day of her birthmama's birthday, her second birthday in heaven, it felt right to share a little about our trip to visit Xiomara's birth family in Georgia, something that would have brought a huge smile to her birthmama's face.


2 weeks ago, I got on a plane with my 5 year old daughter to fly half way around the country to meet her birth family. Just the two of us. Probably one of the craziest, yet bravest things I've ever done. After all, God did give me the word Brave this year as my word of 2016. I just didn't think that would mean getting on a plane and visiting my daughter's birth family, but He did.

If you follow me on Instagram at all, or if you are friends with me on Facebook, I mentioned that I'm not going to share much about Xiomara's birth family. As much as I'd love to share pictures that show how her eyes crinkle up just like her birth sister, or that her eyes are the same dark color as her birth brother, or that her chin is the same as her birth grandma, which was also the same as her birthmama. As much as I'd love to share those, this story is for Xiomara to tell. One day she may have a blog, or whatever is out there then, and she may choose to share all those pictures, or she may choose not to. Just because she is 5 years old, I'm not going to make that decision for her. I value her too much to do that. Even though her birth family gave me permission to share what I want of pictures, for now I'm choosing to allow that decision to be Xiomara's one day, not mine.

Since this blog is Xiomara's baby book in a way, I did want to share how God orchestrated this meeting in the first place.

A year ago, when Xiomara's birthmama died, I found out the night before her funeral. I frantically searched for plane tickets but being they live in Southern Georgia it was impossible to get there in time for the funeral. I was devastated not only at her death, but also because I wanted to be there to honor her life and the life she gave my daughter.

Chris and I talked of taking Xiomara to visit them last spring when she was 4, but it never really came about. Last Mother's Day, I got a call from the case worker from our adoption. We had sent Xiomara's birth grandma a little something for Mother's Day and she was so touched and wanted to know if we would be ok exchanging phone numbers. For some people, maybe this is an easy decision, but for this mama (and her daddy), that was a hard decision to make. But ultimately, love does. We decided to go ahead and share numbers because for Xiomara's sake this was the right thing to do. We texted here and there, and at some point, her birth grandma mentioned how she would love to meet Xiomara one day. I told her, we would love that too, and kind of just left it at that. I honestly have no idea when this became a reality, because all of a sudden we were talking about the possibility of actually doing this. Xiomara would be old enough to understand and remember this trip. This would be a chance to get pictures and questions answered. Most of all, this would be a blessing to her birth family, and although she doesn't realize it now, to her as well one day.

We flew into Atlanta because while her birth family does live in southern Georgia, it was a bit more spendy to fly to the closest airport there. This also gave us a bit of down time before the trip began and when it ended. We also were able to visit with my aunt and uncle in Atlanta, which was special being my uncle was the very first person in my family to meet Xiomara as we stayed with him after our placement. On Sunday morning we started our day out at church in Atlanta, and then began the drive through my daughter's birth state to southern Georgia. Some people may think I'm crazy, but I think in general this gave God a chance to show off because my very busy daughter was amazing the whole 4+ hour drive down and back.

We met her birth family for the first time Sunday afternoon. Words can't express the feelings flowing through my heart when I first saw her meet them. While I had met her birth grandma at placement, I did not meet her birth siblings, and this was a gift for me to be able to hug them.

Nothing can prepare you for the flood of various emotions of what adoption does to your heart. Turning this into an open adoption opened up emotions in me I never expected. Joy at seeing her with her birth family, wonder at the little things in which they were the same, and feelings of mama bear overprotectiveness that I never once thought I would feel.

Most of all, there was a bittersweet feeling of knowing her birthmama should be there. I was driving down the same roads she did when she was pregnant with Xiomara, I was in the home she grew up in, and where Xiomara lived in the womb. I visited the hospital where Xiomara was born so I could finally answer her question of, "Mama, where was I born?". I revisited the church where placement took place. The place I last saw J alive. And I saw where she was buried and got to say a final goodbye.

Monday these floods of emotions kind of broke me. It just was all too much and I became overwhelmed. Thankfully, the caseworker for our adoption was there, and helped me work through some of my feelings. Xiomara's birth family was gracious and understanding, and while this was a happy reunion for them, they understood that this was closure for me, and also a new realization that I was now going to share part of my heart with them.

As I've had time to reflect and try and think through those feelings these past few weeks, I've come to realize those same things that were the hardest things for me, are the most priceless things for her.

Because love does.

I will never once regret bringing her to meet her birth family. It was hard. It was brave. But it was worth it. In the end, I know Xiomara will appreciate having those pictures, those memories, and even a relationship with her birth family one day. I had to lay down my selfishness for her sake.

As I sat by her birthmama's grave reflecting on the life she lived and the life she gave, I couldn't help but think nothing is wasted.

It's from the deepest wounds
That beauty finds a place to bloom
And you will see before the end
That every broken piece is
Gathered in the heart of Jesus
And what's lost will be found again
Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Reedemer
Nothing is wasted

Not a single part of J's life was wasted. God is using it for good. It's not at all the way we thought it would look, but I am choosing to believe and I have seen the beauty from the ashes. I'm so thankful Xiomara and I had this chance to do this trip together.

"Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God's story never ends with ashes." ~Elisabeth Elliott

Monday, January 18, 2016

On One Year Without You

Shortly after J died, I read this, "At any minute your life can change. Remember this. Between one breath and another, the song can stop and everything can be different." (The Midwife of Hope River)

On January 18, 2015, the song stopped for me. I went through a depression so deep there were days I couldn't get out of bed. I hurt so much for all that we lost and all that those that loved J lost. If I'm honest, there are many days I still hurt and the tears just won't stop.

I've also never publicly talked about it except with a few close friends, but I went through major anxiety when J died. Some of it was anxiety over things like, will I be "mom enough" for Xiomara one day? Other times it was this crippling fear that what if Xiomara would lose me too? If you've ever dealt with anxiety in your life, you know it can be so incredibly debilitating. In my head I knew my anxiety was unfounded, but my heart kept telling me something different.

"The more death one experiences, the more painful it is. For almost a year, I hovered on the edge of my own dark grave; then one afternoon I raised my head, sniffed the air, and recognized the changing light. It was spring again." (The Midwife of Hope River)

This is how I have felt, and it has taken me almost a year to be able to feel like spring is coming again. That is not to say I am over grieving. I never will be, but my grief will change and will continue to do so. In her book, After This, Claire Bidwell Smith writes so poignantly about grief when she says, "We must learn to live in this world, because we have no other choice. What we do have a choice in is how we choose to live. We can remain gray and immobile in the wake of our losses or we can open ourselves up to the world, let the sunshine in, fill our surroundings with heaps of flowers, and know that we loved someone truly and deeply."


I loved you truly and deeply J, and that is why I have grieved so this past year.

It's been one year without you. It seems unreal that it has been that long. As I write this in the days leading up to the anniversary of your death, I keep thinking that a year ago you were still alive, still here...and now you are gone. Sometimes, I wonder how I am still here and you are not? Life sometimes feels unfair. And when someone I love dies unexpectedly, or incredibly young, it's really the only time in my life I question God.

I miss being able to share pictures of Xiomara with you. I miss being able to show you a video of her doing gymnastics. I wish you could see the love and talent she has for it. I cried when Xiomara lost both front teeth (and the two others before that). I wished you could be here to see her now, and to hear her little lispy voice as she says her f's and t's without her two front teeth. I wish you could feel her energy and see her zest for life. That you could be captivated by her joy and contagious laughter. There are a hundred other things I've missed sharing with you this year, and I'm sure thousand more in the years to come.

I have no idea how heaven works, and oh how I wish I did. Then maybe I wouldn't be so sad thinking about all you are missing here. But maybe, just maybe God gives you a glimpse of those you love here on this earth. That you would see that Xiomara is so loved. I know I'll mess up a thousand times in being her mama, but if I succeed in one thing, it will be that she will always know that you loved her. We still talk about you constantly. Most of the time I let Xiomara bring you up, but every once awhile I'll tell her something about you. At bedtime she often whispers to me, "Mama, can you tell me about my birthmama again? Can you tell me about my birth?". So I curl up close to her little body and whisper the story of her, and of you.

I've learned this past year that God makes beautiful from the ashes. If there is one beauty throughout this death, it is the bittersweet joy in connecting with your mama. Xiomara calls her Grandma and she regularly gets updates and a glimpse into her granddaughter's life. We are even planning a trip to go see her. I am thankful that in the loss, she and I both can see the beautiful.


In the quiet of my house, I turn on the music and the Gungor Song, Beautiful Things, comes on. Tears run freely down my cheeks as I let the words wash over me.

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

I'm reminded that God is here. In the messy, gut-wrenching, hard times, He is here making beautiful things out of the dust and ash of death. I don't understand, and probably never will understand it all, but I know that He is here.



Xiomara, one day you will probably have questions as to why God took your birthmama from you at only 4.5 years old, especially when there is so much you wanted to know about her. I don't know if I will ever have the answer to that question sweetie, but know this, God was there on that day in January just as He is there with you today when you are reading this for yourself. He knows your pain, He knows the hard, and He isn't afraid of the messy. He is ok with you being mad. He is ok with your questions. And I promise you that God has made, and will continue to make beautiful things out of your pain. That doesn't mean you have to be ok with her dying, it's ok if you are never ok with that. Just know that He is there and that He loves you and your birthmama.


If there is one thing I have learned in the one year without J, it is that death cannot take away love. We are all still a part of those we love. Our bodies may pass away, but our spirits are still alive, and in those spirits is the love we have for others and the love they have for us. So today, we say we love you J.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Remembering J {A Special Birthday Request}

Last week I celebrated my birthday. It was a beautiful day of being with my loved ones. Today I am cherishing the life I have been given. The older I get the more I realize how precious each day is.

Which brings me to why I am writing this post. On December 16, J will celebrate her 33rd birthday. Her first birthday in heaven. I have spent the last month praying, and talking to God about how I can honor her for her birthday.

One of my biggest fears is that people will forget J. So as a birthday present to me, or just out of the goodness of your heart, I'm wondering if you could all help me honor J on December 16th.

J's favorite color was purple, and so if you own something purple, can you please wear that? Wearing purple is a great way to remember her, but I also want to honor her and spread love to others. I can think of no better way to honor J's memory than by spending the day gifting those around me. J gave me the best gift ever: my daughter. That little girl has brought more joy and love into our life than any of you could possibly imagine.

If you would like to honor the memory of J, all I ask is that you present a gift to someone. Sometimes a gift can come as buying someone's coffee. Sometimes, it can be giving money in support of someone's adoption. Perhaps money is just too tight and you can't gift someone with money, but you can with your words. When is the last time you told someone they were beautiful, or encouraged a young mom, or listened to someone going through a hard time? Your words have the power to be a gift. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times words spoken over my life have been the sweetest gift to me. Also, let me just remind you that no gift, either in money or words, is too small. What you may view as little, the person you gift it to may see it as the biggest and best gift they ever received.

My goal would be to have at least one person from every state participate in this day of honoring J. If you want, I'd love for you to mark the day on social media using the hashtag #rememberingj. You don't have to tell me what gift you gave, but you can show me your purple and at least tell me what state you are from.

At my age it seems taboo to ask for a gift, and I so fear that people will read this and do nothing, but all it takes is one person doing something nice for someone, that can bring about change in the world. Xiomara is living proof of that. If December 16th comes and only one person wore purple and did something kind for someone else, then I know I don't have to be disappointed. I know that God can use that one to impact many.

J has a mama and two other children who love and miss her so much, and I would love nothing more than to brighten their day with this. Would you please share this post with your friends? I know not one of you knew J personally, but I know each of you reading this has lost someone you loved, and can relate to the pain that follows death. Lastly, would you please uplift in prayer everyone who loved J? Between her birthday, Christmas, and the anniversary of her death quickly approaching, this is a time in which I would appreciate all love and prayers going to her family.

Each of you reading this is a blessing to me, and I thank you! I can't wait to see lots of purple on the 16th and one day, either here on earth or in heaven, to see the beautiful gifts you gave in honor of J.

Monday, November 9, 2015

World Adoption Day

I spent most of last night looking through old Facebook posts from when Xiomara was first born. I cried and laughed looking through those posts of how tiny she was. I read old blog posts, and watched videos of her cute little laugh. I cried thinking about how fast it has all gone. I also smiled thinking of how life changing adopting her was.

No one, and I mean no one, prepares you for how life changing adoption is. Adding a child to your family is always life changing. As a mama to two biological girls before we adopted Xiomara, I knew that my life would change when we adopted Xiomara. What I didn't realize was that it would not only be Xiomara who changed me, but adoption itself.

Today is World Adoption Day. A day to celebrate and advocate for adoption worldwide.

You don't have to ask me twice to do that. :)

If you are considering adoption, but you've been waiting or unsure, let me give you some reasons that you should adopt.

1. Your heart will expand with LOVE

I love this little girl more than any of you could possibly imagine. She is mine as if I gave birth to her. She brings a smile to my face daily, she makes me laugh, she exasperates me when she looks at me and doesn't listen, she melts me in a puddle of tears when I look into those big, brown eyes. If any of you who are thinking of adopting, or interested in adoption, but are worried if you would love that child, please let me tell you now: there is NO difference in my love for my biological daughters or adopted daughter.

Adoption has given me a different view of love that I would not have had if we hadn't adopted Xiomara. Her birthmama was really who first showed that selfless love in choosing to selflessly place Xiomara into our arms. I learned so much from her that hot, July day. Not a day goes by that I haven't thought of that love and more times than I can count, I have changed how I love others because of that selfless love.

2. It strengthens your faith

I have never gone through a more difficult faith journey than that of adoption. We had a two year adoption wait. There is nothing worse than waiting on God, but there is also nothing better because your faith in God is strengthened. We had a failed adoption. In my pain, I had no one to turn to but God, who wrapped me in His arms and assured me that our little one was coming.

Almost daily I have someone tell me that they would adopt if they could afford it. I get it, I do. We adopted Xiomara with next to no finances available to us, yet I have said it again and again, if you are meant to adopt, God will provide. I can promise you that! We struggled trying to figure out where our finances were going to come from. Here is the one thing I tell everyone who is wanting to adopt: If money is holding you back from adopting, please don't let it do so. If we had let money hold us back, the biggest joy in our life would not be here today. There are grants, there are interest free loans, there are options of raising money. Please, don't let money rule in this area. Instead, let God strengthen your faith and guide you in this journey.

3. You will gain a heart of compassion

Adoption does not come without loss. Loss for the birth family, loss for the child. Grief unspeakable at times. However, in that grief comes God's great redemption, and you gain a heart of compassion as you watch God work His story of healing through the brokenness.

There are 154 million orphans worldwide! An absolutely staggering number! Every year, I wish that number would go down just a little.

If God has adoption in His plans for your life, He will make a way. In the meantime, look for ways you can help those around you who have adopted. Support them in prayers and/or finances (the smallest amount may be exactly what they need).

I realize adoption is not for everyone, but if you can't adopt please consider fostering, praying, sponsoring an orphan, helping out financially, coming along side a family and supporting them in whatever way you can. Lastly, advocate for adoption. The more we talk about it, the more change can happen.

Happy World Adoption Day!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

5 Years Ago Today {A Letter & A Look Back}

I wrote the following post to publish on July 8th (the day we met Xiomara & J), but it didn't feel right to post that day. It was all too painful, and I just couldn't post it then. Today I feel stronger. Today is also 6 months since J passed away. 6 months ago today, I lost one of the most precious and important people in my life. I didn't think I'd ever write publicly to her again, but I have all these thoughts and feelings and nowhere for them to go without my words. So here I sit tonight and blog these thoughts to her even though I know she won't really hear them. Somehow I pray God will give her a small glimpse of my heart from heaven.


"I don't think I can do this."

Those were the words that I barely choked out to my husband one night not too long ago when the girls were all asleep and he was drifting off himself.

"Do what?", he asked.

"Live without her for the rest of our lives. Never seeing her, never talking to her, never knowing she is ok. I just can't. I honestly have no idea how I am going to survive without her."

Yet I've somehow survived since then. Some days it was barely surviving, others it was thriving.

5 years ago today I met J face to face. Our tears mingled together as she gently handed her sweet daughter to me. In that moment I became mama to this amazing little girl we all love.

1 year ago today was the last time I ever heard from J. I remember exactly where I was when the phone call came in. We were camping & Xiomara was napping in the camper while the girls were swimming with Chris, and I was reading a book while waiting for Xiomara to wake up. My phone rang and I saw it was a call from Georgia, I knew I had to answer. It was her agency letting me know that they had received a call from J and that she wanted an update on Xiomara.

I sent that update as soon as I got home. Filled with pictures, a letter, and I believe a scribbled drawing from Xiomara.

It would be the last time I ever heard from her. I have since found out she did get that update and that she loved seeing the pictures of how much Xiomara has grown, and she loved hearing all about her.

1 year later and I would give anything to be able to send an update today.

My heart always breaks a little on this day. It has since the second I watched J walk down a long church hallway sobbing and barely able to stand as she left a piece of her heart in my arms. But this year, this year is just hard. My baby girl is 5 and the one woman who I want to celebrate with is not here to see it.

It seems so unfair. It seems wrong.

Life will continue to move on with out her, and we will grieve differently than we are today. One day I know the hurt won't be so strong and I'll be able to tell Chris, "I think I can do this".

To J,

I used to look at the moon and stars and think of you. I knew we were under the same moon and stars and somehow that kept us connected no matter how many miles apart we were. The lyrics to Ecosmith's song, Bright, reflect so well how I often felt looking up into the sky.

"Did you see that shooting star tonight? Were you dazzled by the same constellation?"

I remember when during one of our phone calls you asked us if we ever saw the Aurora Borealis as that was something you always wanted to see. When I told you yes, but it was rare, you prayed one day Xiomara would have the chance. Oddly enough a few weeks ago, I came across this amazing artist who was having a sale on her pictures. I fell in love with this one as she somehow captured those Northern Lights in a picture over Georgia.

Print Found Here
Once I get it framed it will hang proudly in our little girl's room. It was literally days after I received this picture in the mail that for the first time in 7 years, I saw the Northern Lights. I'm kicking myself for not waking up Xiomara when I saw them, but I have a feeling she will get her chance when the timing is just right. And I'll tell her about her firstmom and her love of a God who would grace the skies just to show off the beauty that is around us.

Blowing kisses and love to heaven today. Thank you so much for your brave love 5 years ago today.

"You sprinkle star dust on my pillow case. It's like a moonbeam brushed across my face. Nights are good and that's the way it should be."

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Saying Goodbye To J

I wrote the following letter on the night I found out J had passed away. Writing is therapeutic to me and at the time, it was the only way I could process my grief. I wrote from my hurting heart and I haven't touched it since that night. Today we celebrated Birth Mother's Day and it became so clear to me that it was time to share this last letter with the world.

She wore purple for her birthmama since it was her favorite color.
We wanted to honor J by allowing Xiomara to do something for her on this day. A few months ago, it occurred to me that an apple tree would be the perfect thing to plant in her memory. An apple seed lives on forever. Even when we are all gone from this earth, that tree will still stand and bear fruit; I couldn't think of a better way to honor J. Each spring it will bloom declaring that all things become new once again. Come fall, it's branches will be laden with fruit that show the life it gives. He really does make all things new.

The tree is planted right outside her bedroom window, so she can look at it whenever she wants.

It was a beautiful day filled with only a few tears & praise to God for the beauty in what is.

Happy {Birth} Mother's Day, J! We love you and love always wins.


Dear J,

This will likely be the last letter I will ever publicly write to you. I'm sure in the future, I will write many more to you, but I'm guessing they will all be private just for my therapy, and eventually for Xiomara.

I found out tonight that you passed away this week.

And my heart is absolutely broken. For you. For Xiomara. For your family that is grieving just as deeply as I am tonight.

I found out through someone you and I both loved, and I'm so thankful I found out that way rather than any other way. I think you would have wanted it that way as well.

In the end, it doesn't really matter how you died, but rather how you lived. I know, with all my heart that there was not a day that went by that you didn't live loving those around you. It may not have looked like either you or I would have imagined, but you definitely loved.

When I got the call, I just knew. I can't explain how, other than to say that you have been on my mind this past month more than I ever can possibly explain. In a way it makes sense, as you truly were a part of our family. It comforts me a bit knowing that I prayed for you more in this last month than I have in a very long time.

I got off the phone and Chris sat in silence with tears running down his cheeks while I sobbed. Every single dream I had of Xiomara one day having a relationship with you, being able to talk with you, and ask you questions; that dream shattered with one phone call. It's a bit ironic thinking that one phone call is all it took to change our lives in the first place, with that initial phone call saying you chose us, and yet here I sit tonight absolutely hating that phone.

I feel devastated. For you and her. I wonder if I let you know enough how much your gift meant to us? I know it pained you so much to make that decision and I felt that pain deeply, and I loved you all the more for it. I wonder if you realized how much a part of us you really were? It kills me knowing I will never see you again on this side of heaven. That Xiomara will never get to meet you if you two both desired one day.

My only comfort is knowing that you live on through our little girl who looks and acts so much like her first mama.

I'm not sure how to tell her. I mean how does one tell your daughter that her first mama is in heaven with Jesus?  After the phone call, Chris and I sat and prayed and asked God to guide us when it is the right time to tell her and how to tell her. By the time others read this, we will have told her as I refuse to tell the world before I tell our daughter.

I took a shower tonight and let my salty tears mix in with the hot water from the shower. I'm not so sure the sound of the shower completely drowned out my sobs though, and tonight Chris will hold me tight as I grieve in a way I never thought I would have to do.

We are sending flowers to your precious mama and G & G. I never thought I would have to pick out flowers to send to your funeral! It seems completely surreal. But I remember you telling me you loved purple, and so in honor of you I made sure to send purple flowers. They are called Healing Tears and I really hope they do just that, because right now I know I'm not the only one who needs healing. I only wish we would have known sooner, so we could have been there.

I'll be saving every little thing I have from you or about you for Xiomara. If anything, this is a good reminder to print things out that have been sitting in files or e-mails for years now.

No matter what, we will keep on doing what we always said we would do; love Xiomara and make sure she knows how loved she was by you. That is one thing that I know will never change.

I love you, J! It seemed only fitting to say goodbye in the same way I began, by writing one last letter to you. I look forward to one day meeting face to face with Jesus and praising Him together for bringing a sweet little girl named Xiomara into both of our lives. May you forever know the gift you gave us is the most precious one I have ever received.

May you rest in peace.

With much love,