Two weeks ago was the second anniversary or Rayna’s day(s). July 25 is the day we found out she died, and July 27 is the day she was delivered. Last year, we went camping and we wanted to do something similar – to get out of our house and our usual routine and spend time together as a family – but not risk LT not sleeping through the night at a campground. Nick and I were fortunate to be able to take the whole week off of work, and we spent a few days at a friend’s cabin in the woods.
It was great. It was also noticeably different than last year. We intentionally didn’t do the exact same thing or go to the exact same place as last year, so we wouldn’t have any pressure of always going to the same place. Even so, we still looked for the sunset over the trees each night. We still shed tears. We still travelled with her bear and her box. We still remembered the events of two years ago at the time they occurred. Yet, another year brought more healing to our still-broken hearts. LT arrived and impacted the ways we remember her. Doing something different, and having lives that look different, is not necessarily bad.
Before LT arrived, I spent time reflecting, reading, writing. Now, I spend time nursing, changing diapers, doing laundry. Remembering Rayna happens more spontaneously. Sometimes I compare the way I used to remember her and the ways we remember her now, and the differences can make me feel sad, as though I am not being fair to her memory. I so want her to know and be loved, even in her absence from our lives. And, I want to celebrate her brother here with us.
Thankfully, during her week, I had time to sit and write her a short letter.
Happy 2nd birthday, sweetie! Your daddy and I have your week off from work and are up north at [our friends’] cabin with your brother to celebrate and remember you. This morning we sang Happy Birthday, ate cupcakes, drank Pepsis, and showed LT your book for a special little birthday party. You are so important for us to remember.
Your brother keeps us busy, but that doesn’t mean we don’t think about you. It’s harder to find time to sit and write to you, but I send thoughts your way all the time. I think you both look so much alike, and I can’t help but wonder if your eyes would be as blue as his. If you’d laugh at the same things. If you’d sleep through the night more consistently. Surely you’d be a lot alike and a lot different from him.
Know that you are loved, and that we continue to seek ways to remember and honor you.
A huge thank you to all of you. You help us remember her by posting #RaynaSunset photos on social media. You help us find ways to create her legacy (and helped us exceed our stained glass window goal). You say her name. You encourage us when we’re down. You show up. We are so thankful to have such a wonderful community of people around the world.