For My Girls, Who Lost Their Sister, You’re My Reason

(Disclaimer: lots of photos… documentation of my life, my love, my pain, my joy.)

Raising children after losing one is one of the hardest parts of this life-long grief journey.

I mourn for our Norah. I mourn for my self… for the person I was before. But an unforeseen piece in all of this is mourning for the childhood innocence and bliss that was stolen from Addy and Sydney.

Addy and Sydney are old enough to fully understand the magnitude of Norah’s life, and therefore the magnitude of her death. During Norah’s 111 days here on Earth, they hugged her, they kissed her, they held her, they fed her, they played with her, they comforted her, they made her laugh, they rocked her, they sang to her, they told her stories (from their books and from their minds).

They knew her.

They loved her.

They know her.

They love her.

They prayed for her life, and then they witnessed the horror of her death (and the sounds and sights that occurred after). I thank God everyday that they were not the ones to find her, as they often would go into her room to wake her when it was time.

These two girls now have new depth. They have developed a new level of maturity, different types of fear, and a difficult understanding of life and death that, as parents, is so difficult to witness happening while they’re still so young. But for those of us who have been dealt this hand, it’s unavoidable. It’s a lot of work, but boy are they working hard. They’re becoming stronger, more empathetic, more connected, and more faithful humans.

I’m so grateful to have them, so happy to see their progress, so proud of who they are, and so excited to see who they’ll become.

I keep going for them, because of them. The strength that is so often mentioned to me is not mine, but theirs. They are the reason I so quickly sought the help that I knew I would need to survive this. They are the reason I am not afraid to show my deep pain, because it also shows my deep love. They are the reason I’m able to “see” the road ahead, even when it’s not at all visible. They are the reason I hold on to hope. I have to… for them.

My girls.

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