On May 17, it will be ten years since my first daughter went to heaven.
I am outstanding at denial. In fact, I am so great at it that I managed to push everything about May 17, 2005 out of my head until about November 2006 when everything exploded in one horrific fight with Gabe.
When I got pregnant with Ella, and the fear abated enough for me to be excited about the pregnancy, I sent out an email to family and friends.
"Gabe and I are overjoyed to announce that we are expecting OUR FIRST CHILD, due in late June."
Ya'll know what? I never thought one single thing about that email until tonight, on my run. I haven't used that email address in years. I can't even get into it now because I don't remember the security question. But I remembered that stupid email, sometime between mile 2 and 3.
SECOND CHILD. SECOND PREGNANCY.
I know Riley Grace is in heaven. I know she doesn't care about a stupid email that I sent while I was in the throes of denial. I know Ella is quick to point out that she is my SECOND child because she honors her sis every single day. I know all of that.
But...guilt. I swear, things like that make me feel two inches tall. Once, when Ella was two or so, we were at the drugstore, buying pretty nail polish. A woman asked me, "Is she your only one?" and I stupidly replied, "yes."
NO. NO. NO.
Grief sucks. First it hurts. Then, it REALLY hurts. Then, it makes you feel guilty.
Somewhere along the way, it just is. And you accept it, without really accepting it...because it still hurts.
I will always be Riley's Mom. She will always be my FIRST child. I will always miss her, until the day I don't have to anymore. This doesn't mean I love Ella any less.
I will always be Ella's Mom. She will always be my SECOND child. I am so eternally grateful that God let her stay, despite my nightmare of a pregnancy, despite all of the negative things I was told by the doctors. She will always be my biggest miracle. This doesn't mean she will ever replace Riley.
Nearly ten years later, I still grieve. I will bet that ten years from now, I still will.