I made it through my first Mother's Day weekend without Isaiah, and it was not as bad as I anticipated it to be. In large part, that was due to my sweet grandmothers birthday. Well, I suppose the mere fact that I am writing this entry tonight is due to my grandmother's birthday because I wouldn't be here without her, but I digress.
This weekend, Matt and I made the long drive from Chicago to Tennessee to celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday. My mom planned a surprise party for her and invited the family and her friends. I have to admit, I dreaded this a bit in the weeks preceding. Being in a large group is still hard for me - especially when its seeing the people in the large group for the first time since I lost Isaiah since most people say something the first time they see me if they know what happened. Though I deeply appreciate their care and shows of support and affection, it is really hard to repeatedly hear, "I am so sorry," and "How are you," in that sympathetic, don't upset the grieving mom tone.
The party turned out to be a lot of fun. I could tell my grandma loved the surprise and loved that so many people came out to celebrate her special day. And yes, quite a few people came up to Matt and I with the expected questions and comments but they were all really sweet about it and we prepared a few answers so we wouldn't have to think about it too much and could keep as much attention as possible on my grandma.
My grandma told me something after the party that really touched my heart. As much fun as she had at the party, it was still hard to celebrate without thinking that my grandpa should be there with her. Just as I was feeling that Isaiah was missing from the party, she felt that grandpa was missing from the party. I know that is such a simple statement but I was so wrapped up in my own feelings of loss that it never occurred to me to think of how that would feel for her. I am so thankful that she shared that with me because in a weird way, I felt bonded to her in a special way through our grief.
I also felt bonded to my aunt this weekend. About 10 years ago, my aunt also lost a precious baby to stillbirth. I hate that we share this agonizing loss, but knowing she walked this road before me is such an encouragement to me. And seeing my cousin who was born just a year after she lost her baby was an encouragement to me as well. She is such a sweet, beautiful girl and she is a wonderful reminder that there is hope even in devastating loss. My aunt also gave me a beautiful mother's necklace. She didn't want to make a big deal of it, or call it a mother's day gift, but this gift really touched me. To have someone honor me as a mother meant so much to me - especially when it came from someone who really understood this lonely journey.
Matt and I also got to cook dinner for my mom and grandma on Sunday. As much as we wanted to bless these sweet women on Mother's Day, it was a blessing to us as well. It kept me busy not thinking about myself. The less time I have to think on these "hard days" the better, and it allowed Matt and I to do something fun together which is something we really appreciate right now.
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, and on top of all the other blessings, God gave me one other present - 3 nights of falling asleep without having to take anything! For those of you that have journeyed with me through this loss, you know that sleep has been my toughest physical symptoms. Most nights, I cannot fall asleep without taking Benadryl or Tylenol PM, but for the last three nights, I have drifted off to sleep without taking anything. That's huge for me. I have spent so much time in the last week trying to track down some sheep to count, but this weekend, my elusive sheep were back in town!!