In this letter, I am telling Chloe all about our visit with nana and papa. While reading this letter, I realize that I felt the need to tell her lots of details. I didn’t want her to miss out on anything! I wanted her to be a part of everything.
This letter shows some life. Some excitement. I was excited about her garden party and a new adventure that I would soon be taking, an adventure that promised to heal me.
April 5, 2011
Dearest Chloe, Oh so much has happened since my last letter. I don’t even know where to begin! Let me finish telling you about our vacation, then I will tell you about your garden party, then I will finally tell you about my new adventure.
First of all, the movie was really cute. I hate that we never had the chance to take you to a movie. The boys enjoyed it and laughed out loud several times. The weather was nice after the movie, so we visited the beach again. It was a little cool but very pretty. Daddy and I left Mr. Bill with the boys while we went to the store and got dinner. We brought home chicken, chicken wings, toast, and potato salad. It was really very good. Nana and papa on the other hand, stopped at Scampi’s down the street and enjoyed a nice quiet dinner before joining the Hesketh and Faletto boys. When Nana arrived, she was ready for a walk on the beach. The boys were glad to join her. They appreciated the chance to search for crabs. Papa went straight to bed for a nap but didn’t get up until the next morning.
Nana and Papa insisted on making breakfast for everyone Thursday morning. They made bacon(the boys ate it as fast as they could make it), eggs(difficult to do in a lopsided pan), and biscuits. The boys thought it was wonderful, much better than the pop tarts and muffins they had been eating. After breakfast, the boys spent the afternoon on the beach with Daddy and Mr. Bill while I stayed in the condo with Nana and Papa. Nana and I found a nice warm spot on the balcony where we could watch the boys on the beach and still share in good conversation. We watched the boys practice the skim board and play volley ball. They then visited the heated pool for a little while. Nana shared a new rosary with me. She prays the rosary every Friday. praying for us to find some peace with your loss. She cares so much for all of us and wants to make sure she is doing her part to help us heal.
We eventually decided to get ready for dinner at Pineapple Willy’s. We had a great time. It was a wonderful time for us to all be together. We took pictures and posted them on Facebook to keep all our friends jealous, I mean, informed! After dinner, we took Papa back to the condo, grabbed jackets, and went out to Pier Park. It is a nice place with lots of shops and places to eat. Nana was looking for a picture frame for a painting of you that she completed. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m sure it is amazing. Well, no luck on the frame so we headed back to the condo after one last stop – ice cream! Zachary had been wanting ice cream even though the night air was cool. It ended up being a good stop because we tasted fudge and bought some pralines!
Our vacation was coming to an end. Time to go home. Friday was spent packing. Just a short visit to the beach because Joseph was pretty burnt already and we were all getting ready to be home. No matter how much fun you have, it is always nice to be home. It would be nicer if you were there to greet us, but that can never happen. Love, Mommy
Again, I am so glad that I spent the time to write to Chloe and tell her about the things we did as a family. It was therapy at the time, but it helps me remember bits and pieces of things now. Although this was 8 months after she went to heaven, I still don’t remember it. Reading my letters is like experiencing things for the first time. This was just another day without her.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Dearest Chloe, Tuesday turned out to be another beautiful day at the beach. It was a little chilly, but just beautiful. We spent time watching the boys trying to ride the skimboard, then took them to the pool. When they finally got hungry, Daddy and Mr. Bill went upstairs to make bologna sandwiches. They sent them down so the boys could eat poolside. They all then went back to the beach while I went upstairs to find warmer clothes. I took my time, not anxious to get back outside to the cooler air. After changing into capris, I stood on the balcony and noticed the boys playing volleyball with a couple of other children. Needless to say, we ALL ended up playing. Daddy, Mr. Bill, Jared, Sean, and Michael(new 12 year old friend) against Joseph, Kyle, Zachary, Ben(new 7 year old friend) and me. I really shouldn’t even count myself because I was terrible! Zachary could be counted 1/2 because he spent a lot of time just rolling in the sand. Regardless, we had a great time taunting and cheering each other on, laughing at my serve that just couldn’t seem to make it over the net. Everything was great until Ben’s twin, Sarah, wanted to play. She was the cutest thing. Tan with long wavy blonde hair. I don’t know what color eyes she had because I tried not to look at her too closely. She reminded me of you and made me wonder what you would look like at seven. She was a sweet little girl and seemed to like me. She stuck close to me and kept trying to talk to me. I finally had to leave. My nerves got the best of me. I can’t even interact with a small child without thinking of you and getting anxious. I went back to our chairs on the beach and was shortly joined by Daddy and Mr. Bill who were just plain tired. Playing with the younger boys wore them out pretty quickly!
Daddy cooked dinner later -hamburgers, hotdogs, and fries…delicious! We then went for a ride and checked out all the sights and sounds of Panama City. All in all, we had a great day. Today, on the other hand, is rainy and yucky. We are planning to take the boys to a movie soon just to get them out of the condo. Hopefully the weather will clear up soon. Nana and Papa are coming later this evening. We can’t wait to see them! They will stay until we go home on Friday. I’ll write later to tell you how today goes. I wish I could tell you in person, but my journal will have to do. Enjoy your perfect weather in heaven today. We will talk soon.
Loving and Missing you,
This is a positive letter telling Chloe about our first day at the beach. It was a good day. We enjoyed the weather, but most importantly enjoyed each other. I encourage anyone experiencing a loss to write a journal. My letters to Chloe bring back so many memories, good and bad. During a time of loss, it is so easy to just ‘forget’. These letters bring the last few years back to life for me.
Dear Chloe, yesterday turned out to be a beautiful day at the beach. The water was a little cool, but the boys didn’t mind at all, at least the little ones didn’t. Jared, Sean, and Zachary played in the waves, tried to ride the boogie boards, and swam for a long time. The bigger boys had a harder time going out in the cold water. They decided to take a walk along the beach instead and were gone for some time. It’s hard letting them grow up, but how lucky we are to have that chance! Once the boys tired of the beach, we took them to the pool where they swam a little longer. The pool was heated so they thought it was just wonderful! After a good bit of swimming, we brought the crew up to the room. The adults went to the store to get dinner and just left Joseph and Kyle in charge with strict orders – no balcony and no leaving the room! We came back to the condo loaded with crab legs, shrimp, hush puppies, baking potatoes, and fries. After fixing up the fries, puppies, and potatoes, we all enjoyed a restaurant worthy meal. After dinner, we went for a walk along the beach before taking the boys for a second swim at the pool. I had to catch my breath once when I noticed a couple of tiny footprints in the sand. Just another reminder of our missing little angel. It reminded me of our trip to the beach with Mrs. Deshana and Aunt Suzanne. Mrs. Deshana made a big deal out of your little footprints. She even tried to take pictures of them. Now, I wish I had taken pictures of your cute little footprints in the sand. We always think we will have another chance. We often forget how fragile life really is. Although I worried about you like crazy and tried to take good care of you, I never actually thought something would happen to you. You never think of your children dying before you. It just isn’t normal. It goes against everything you feel to be fair, just, normal. I still can’t believe you are gone and never coming home. I can’t believe I will never see your tiny footprints in the sand ever again. Please know we are thinking of you often and love you with all our hearts. Love, Mommy
This is a short little letter describing to Chloe how it feels to go off on a family vacation -minus one. Now, every time we go somewhere as a family, we talk about how things would be different with her there, but the pain is not nearly the same. We still miss her terribly, but time really has begun to heal our wounds.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Today is the first day of our SpringBreak and we are headed to Panama City beach! I keep looking in the backseat where you would be sitting. Zachary is there looking way too cool with his shades on and iPod going. Joseph is behind me watching a movie on the laptop. The car seems way too quiet. Just the annoying sound of the wipers on the windshield and Joseph’s occasional gum popping. No crying or fussing today. I never thought I would miss your traveling fits, but now I do. No one to throw Combos to. We could throw them to the boys, I guess, but it wouldn’t be the same. The weather is quite yucky today so far – rainy and cool. We are hoping for better weather as we get closer to the beach. I would hate to spend all week inside but at least it is away from all the normal worries of home. Nana and Papa are coming Wednesday evening to spend a couple of days with us. It should be fun. Although I am trying to look forward to this trip, I am not looking forward to going to the beach without you. You were there with us on our last trip and should be with us on this one. Again, I am so sorry. You should be here!
This is a rambling letter, full of crazy emotion. Some of it remains true today. Thinking of Chloe is still painful, but it has gotten easier to push her memory aside. Perhaps that’s not a good thing. The daily “visions” I speak of no longer haunt me today. For that, I am grateful.
March 22, 2011
I know it seems like I don’t write often anymore. It’s not because I don’t think of you. I think of you all the time. I just avoid writing because it has become too painful. At one time, I thought it was a great idea. It would be a good way to get things off my chest. It would be a way for me to feel closer to you. But honestly, Chloe, the pain is still there. Writing sometimes makes it worse because I start it think. I’m ok if I don’t think. I’m tired of that, Chloe! I am tired of surviving by not thinking of you. I look at your pictures in the hallway – your Chloe wall that I created. I just stand there and take in your beauty. But it is painful. It brings me to a dark place so I move on and think of something else. I spend every morning getting ready and trying my best not to think of you. Sometimes I think I hear you on the monitor waking up. Nope! Don’t think about her! In the shower, I think about you every time I wash my face. When I run the water over my face, I think how you must have felt with the water in your face and you unable to escape from it. Daily, I see visions of you going under the water and gasping for air. I wonder what you were thinking. Where’s my mommy to pull me out and save me? I wonder what it must have felt like struggling for air and getting nothing but lungs full of water. I wonder how long it took for you to pass out. Did you feel pain? Fear? I think of these things daily. But then I push them out of my mind.”must be able to function at work. Can’t think of Chloe now.” I think of you after I’m ready for work. In a perfect world I would then get you up and dressed. But no. Our world is no longer perfect. “Don’t think of her now. Can’t get upset before work.” Chloe, when will I be able to think about my daughter without feeling so much pain and having an anxiety attack? When will we be able to enjoy your memory rather than brace ourselves for it? I spend so much time pushing you out of my mind just to function, that I am afraid of forgetting you. I don’t want to forget anything about you.
I am sitting outside in the warm sun. It reminds me of my last days with you. Warm, and always outside. I expect to hear or see you, but nothing. I still can’t believe you are gone. I feel our family was teased. Given a perfect little girl to fall in love with, only to have her taken away. Before you, Chloe, we were happy with our family of four. But now we feel like something is missing. I have entertained the crazy thought of having another baby, but what would that fix? It wouldn’t be you. Maybe it would help fill this huge void that we now feel. Funny how it was never there before you came.
Your birthday is soon, just a couple of weeks away. We were planning on having a garden party in your memory. I got the idea from my friend Nicole. She has a little son up in heaven with you. Anyway, we thought about inviting people to drop by the house to celebrate your memory. They have been asked to bring something for your garden, a plant, birdhouse…we are going to move your house outside that day, Chloe. Do you think that will be alright? I hate to see it leave your playroom, but I think it would be a beautiful centerpiece for your garden. I don’t know why the thought of moving your house hurts so much. I guess because it feels so final. I’m not ready for anything to be final. I just want you back, Chlobelle, I just want you back.
Me too, Chloe! I miss you, Daddy.
I can’t believe it has been almost a year since my last post. For a while, I turned to my blog for comfort. I enjoyed reading my letters and realizing how far I had come in the grieving process. At some point last year, my letters turned to more pain than comfort. I stopped writing to Chloe and I stopped reading my letters. As terrible as it sounds, it was easier to not remember. Easier to not think about her. Thoughts about Chloe were becoming more and more painful. I unknowingly shut her out of my life for a time. I would glance at her pictures on the wall and send her a quick thought, but would then spend the rest of my day pushing her out of my mind. I would push her away to escape the sadness and anxiety. I was avoiding this precious little girl with all I had. I recently realized what I had been doing. Panic set in. What if I forget? What if I try so hard to push her away that I forget something about her? That isn’t fair to her. She should never be forgotten. I want to remember. Even if it is painful, I want to remember everything about her. I am going to try and continue my blog. For her. For myself. For others that are riding this same roller coaster of grief.
I name my letters based on the feeling I get when I reread them as I type. In this letter, I am sad, angry, and feel like I am being punished for not being a better parent to Chloe, for not protecting her. Although I still sometimes feel like I didn’t do my best in protecting her, I no longer feel like I am being punished. Forgiving myself is something I will wrestle with for a while longer, but I am proud to say that I am no longer angry with God. I have recently found my way back to Him and can now say without doubt that He was with us during those horrific days. He was with us as he sent wonderful friends and family to be by our side while we held onto our sweet Chloe that day. He was with us when he gave us a chance to see her beautiful face once more, and a chance to say good-bye…to know that she died peacefully in her sleep. I know Jesus held her as she left us, and is holding her now. I may never understand why God called Chloe home so early, but I do know I will see her again. Faith does not keep bad things from happening, but helps us through those bad things.
February 9, 2011
I miss you so much. I would give anything for one more hug, or just one more sloppy kiss, or just once more to hear you call me ‘Da’. I don’t care what you call me; I just want to hear your voice. Even if you were screaming and crying. I wouldn’t care. Just to hear you. A giggle. A laugh. A cry. Anything.
This past week has been really tough. I went to work Wednesday thinking it would be a “normal to me” day, but I lost it around 9:30. Why? Who knows? The anxiety was building and I thought I would scratch my arms until they bled. I sent my students to their reading spots on the floor. I then found myself walking around aimlessly, just looking at them, not conferring with them. I couldn’t even call a reading group. I paced toward the door, looking out, and back again. Pacing and scratching. Wanting to escape. But escape what? My harmless 1st graders that need a sane teacher? My room? Just 4 walls? Why is it so difficult for me to be here? I finally asked the parent volunteer from across the hall to watch my students while I walked to the office. I sat and cried with Mrs. VaRee for a while. She had Mrs. Patti call a sub so I could escape. I mean, go home. I can’t escape. I just take my feelings to another place so I can deal with them alone or in another way. Not wanting to go home, I visited with Mrs. Amanda for a few minutes to calm myself. I then decided to go to CVS and get all my new meds. After CVS, I ran through Chick-Fil-A to get lunch, but I was really hoping to see Mr. Deall. I did see him and he told me to come by and see him at 4:00 that afternoon. Great. That made me feel a little better already. I went home and tried to watch T.V. for a little while but I really just wanted to sleep. So at about 2:00, I thought I would take a short nap. Well, Daddy and Zach came in at 4:15 wondering why I was at home instead of talking with Mr. Deall. Oh, no! My new medicine really knocked me out! I jumped up and took off while Daddy called to say I would be late. Mr. Deall is such a positive person. He wasn’t mad at all; just glad that I felt relaxed enough to sleep. Anyway, that was a tough session. We talked again about how my classroom isn’t “safe” for me anymore because that is where I was when I received the worst phone call of my life. He made me walk through the time in my class when I felt like I needed to run. I talked about pacing back and forth toward the door. Trapped. He suggested teaching with the door open
I also talked about my anger. I get very angry every time I open the backdoor and the alarm sounds. I get angry because it didn’t sound on that important day. I get angry when I open the door and it doesn’t sound because that is a reminder that it is broken. I get angry every time I fidget with the backdoor lock to get it open. I turn the deadbolt at least twice before I finally get it open. How did you open it so easily that day? Needless to say, I never open the backdoor without feeling some sort of emotion, all in the span of just a few minutes when I let Ellie out. Letting her out and then back in again is a reminder, possibly a trigger, that I face daily and have never thought about. Perhaps a small reason why my day starts shaky.
I get a little angry every time I see a little girl that reminds me of you. Angry at God because he didn’t answer my prayers that day, my hundreds of prayers just to let you be okay. He can perform any miracle, yet we didn’t get one. I didn’t tell Mr. Deall about my anger towards God. It is hard to talk about because it is a new feeling for me. At least new since August 7th, the day he called you home. I will never understand why you were called home so early. Sometimes I still can’t believe it. I ask myself, “Are you sure? She’s really gone?” The answer is yes, she’s really gone. It just doesn’t seem right because children aren’t supposed to die. Not at 2 years old. But you did. You did die…at 2, only 28 months young. I am so sorry. I think of all the things we could have done differently and you would still be here. First of all, that stupid ladder! How could we forget to put it away? Secondly, we could have had the door alarm fixed. Perhaps that would have let Joseph know that you were on your way outside. We also could have put a slide lock on the door that you couldn’t reach. I could have even had someone else watch you instead of putting all of that responsibility on Joseph. We failed in so many ways and I feel like we are being punished for not being good parents. Just having the ambulance called to the house was enough to warn us and scare us into being better parents. That’s what I prayed. I told God that I had learned my lesson. Please just let my sweet Chloe live. He didn’t. Again, I am sorry.