(Dirthday = death + birthday. Another parent at a loss for words came up with that term.)
As in our Letter to Our Daughter: One Month Later, Alex and I thought it important for us to take time to remember all that Anya has brought us. This time we lit a candle, took out a photo of Anya and focused on all the love in our lives.
We have a lot of love in our lives.
The most precious gift Anya brought to my life: she inspired me to love much more deeply than I ever thought possible. Anya filled me with love, a love that grew inside me every day of our 9 months together. And all that love is still there.
Anya also inspired all of those around us to share and express their love. Love has poured into our lives from all sides, from places I would never have thought to look.
- Elementary school friends have come over to our house to help with basic jobs (making dinner, tidying my disastrous craft room) or just to say hello
- A few friends not seen since high school and university have sent heartfelt messages, cards and precious keepsakes
- Friends we saw only a few times a year have shared lots of their time. We have opened up our hearts and shared tears like we never had before. Our friendships have grown closer... more intimate
- My sister has made our home her home away from home. She visits and cares for us often
- Our midwives continue to send their love our way
- We have met with other bereaved parents and supported each other through this heavy, heavy loss
- And each and every one of our close friends and our family have been there to support us
Two of my work friends made a similar comment to me, on two separate occasions: If one were to try and take any good out of Anya's death, it would be that we have grown closer in our friendship, that we share more love and more of our time.
I'm redefining what friendship means to me. I had always thought of the love around me in terms of the people who surround us in our everyday lives, those who mark special moments and occasions with us. But love is so much more than that. Love exists in the people whose paths we may have crossed years ago, often not even realizing the friendship and caring would still be there years later, when we needed it most.
This love and support has been my lifeboat. Thank you.
After Anya died we received hundreds of cards and messages. We continue to receive new messages of love and friendship every week (some people even kindly indulge my overwhelming need by sending me messages every day!).
And so, to commemorate Anya's life and love, we decided to put all of these messages in a box. (I printed out every Facebook message and email too.) We sat by our candle and picked 10 messages at random, and we read them to each other, to remind ourselves of all the love around us.
What messages of love came to us that day? Here are just a few (posted anonymously)...
Je constate que cette jolie tête est très active, je suis très fière de toi. Alex est un mari choyé. Tout comme ma fille, un jour tu feras une maman remarquable, tu es une fille fantastique que j'aime beaucoup.
Think only about yourself and Alex. Love each other, hold each other and never let go.
J'ai lu la note de ton mari sur Facebook. Il est éloquent, courageux et généreux.
You mean the world to me, Kayleigh, as Anya meant the world to you. Always remember that's how much I love you.
Anya restera toujours marquée dans ma mémoire: une belle petite fille à la peau délicate. Un beau petit nez et de magnifiques petites lèvres en forme de coeur.
And a love letter from my husband...
I believe with all my heart that our happiest days are still ahead. Our road has led us into a thunderstorm. I can't tell you when it will end, but it will end. I can feel the sunshine. It will come, and we will be together and appreciate it more than we ever did. You are simply the best, and only person, I could ever love so deeply.
We've decided to keep these messages in a box in the living room. That way, when we need a little love and support, all we have to do is pick a message at random and let it warm our hearts.