Friday, December 24, 2010

30 Days of Thanks—Day #30

I am grateful to be leaving for Paris this afternoon, to have the means to do so, and to have a family who understands my choice, even if it makes them sad. When we first made the decision to go, I was torn about it. Our departure day is here, and while I feel some regret that I will not be with my family opening presents tomorrow, I know that we absolutely made the right decision. Although this trip doesn’t magically turn Christmas into “just another day,” I’ve at least been able to avoid spending this entire week filled with dread and sorrow in anticipation of a Christmas celebration without Hudson. Tomorrow will still be sad—how could it not be? But it will be sad in a different way, I hope, than just biting my lip and staring into the giant hole where Hudson should be with her cousins on Christmas morning. I hope.
And that’s my 30 Days of Thanks.

It’s hard to know how to wrap up this 30-day exercise. Like so much of the time since Hudson died, these past 30 days seem to have both crawled and flown by (but honestly, they have mostly crawled). I began my 30 Days of Thanks in search of healing during what I knew would be an incredibly difficult time. This time has been even more difficult than I thought it would be (despite the time and energy I spent trying to “prepare” myself), but deliberately engaging in exercises in gratitude has been tremendously helpful. It has not been easy to find something to be grateful for every day, for which I feel a little bit ashamed. Having lost my child, there are many days where it is so much easier to focus on all that is missing from our lives—indeed, there are many days where it is difficult to see much else. Which is exactly why I gave myself this assignment. Because I know that even though our loss is immeasurable, irreparable, and still unimaginable, I also know that we remain so incredibly fortunate in so many ways. Primary among them is that we got to have Hudson in our lives at all—even though we were allowed far too short a time with her, I would not trade a single second of that time to be rid of this pain. It is the deep and abiding joy we experienced with Hudson and the deep and abiding love that we felt for her that make this grief so very excruciating. But there’s still my joy. There’s still my joy.

I can’t wrap up this exercise, done during the time for giving thanks and celebrating family, friends, and love, without saying again how grateful we are for all the love, support, and friendship that we have received from so many people all over the world, known and unknown to us. You have sustained us in every way, picked us up over and over when we have fallen in our grief, and most importantly, helped us keep our precious girl’s memory, spirit, and light alive in the world that she loved so much. For every person who has ever read an entry here, who has ever left a comment or sent us a message or gift of any kind, who has ever thought of us or of Hudson even in a passing moment, who has kept Hudson alive in their hearts or in other ways, for each and every one of you, I am grateful. I think I said long ago that I needed a new word for “grateful,” but I hope that it adequately conveys how I feel. Because of you, I am alive. Because of you, I have survived what seemed unsurvivable. Because of you, Hudson’s sweet spirit will live on forever.

Thank you.  And Happy Holidays. 

9 comments:

  1. I think you are amazing! Travel mercies and healing to both you and Ed this holiday season. I think that Paris is probably my favorite city in the world. Joyeux Noel! Mariann

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  2. I've posted before that I think you are one of the most gracious people I've ever encountered. (I can't say met because we haven't.)

    "It has not been easy to find something to be grateful for every day, for which I feel a little bit ashamed." I daresay it wouldn't be easy for me, either, and I'm not a grieving parent, so shame on me.

    I wish you and Ed peace on your trip.

    Kris

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  3. Bon Voyage, Mandy & Ed! Have a safe and wonderful journey. Mange bien!
    Remember, Mandy, that you sustain us all too. I'm not sure of exactly why this is so, but it must be connected to your indomitable spirit and to our own losses and grievings. You inspire even as you hurt so deeply. AND you are triumphing - with the Little Penguin growing so well, your love for your husband, your ability to be grateful in the face of the greatest loss.
    I am so grateful for you.

    With love,
    Rebecca

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  4. I'll be sitting in the pews at The Chapel of the Cross in Chapel Hill this evening lifting you up - praying for your peace and comfort. God bless you.

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  5. Oh Mandy- this post, and your entire collection of these 30 days, is so full of eloquence, grace, beauty, and most of all love- an entire legacy of it. Hudson will be remembered by so many people around the world... hold tight to that knowledge.
    I hope that your travel to Paris will provide much needed distraction and time for reflection. Today I wrote to one of my best friends (also a BLM) about how sometimes it feels as though the only people in the world who can truly understand the depths of our pain, sorrow, and loss are those who know it themselves. It just is.
    Thank you for sharing mamma... safe travels....

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  6. Mandy,
    I'm glad you found a way to be good to yourself in the midst of such pain and longing. The, "firsts," are so hard, especially the anticipation of them. Wishing you days with more and more glimmers of hope and light.
    Peace,
    Jackie

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  7. Dana and Dan MillerDecember 24, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    Safe travels Mandy and Ed and Penguin. We hope you are able to enjoy Paris and send our love.

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  8. Safe travels and wishes that feelings of peace will surround you.
    Rachel

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  9. Mandy,

    Safe travels and thank YOU for sharing your story with me. It breathes in my heart.

    I wish you well,

    with love,

    Andrea

    (Raising Peanut)

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