Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I miss you.. Until we meet again.

Monday, October 21, 2013

To Bella..

My Bella,

It was a Wednesday the day you were born. I went to work the day before and I had no idea that you were slowly planning your great escape. My calendar was filled with weekly doctors appointments for the next few weeks. There was a big circle around December 21st that said, "Bella's Birthday!!" in bright pink letters, and right next to it, on the following day there was a small note that said, "Bella's surgery." I would flip through the small pocket calendar over and over counting the days until I would meet you.

That Tuesday was just like any other day. I counted the days, I counted your kicks, and I prayed for the strength to be brave. As the days inched closer to your due date I grew more and more afraid. I wanted to meet you more than you know, but to be honest my love, I was terrified of everything you'd have to go through. I feared that I wouldn't be able to be the mother you needed. Over and over I tried to talk myself out of that terrible fear, but it didn't work. I was terrified. On that Tuesday, I had no idea that it'd be the last time I'd allow myself to truly admit my fear out loud.

I had stopped dreaming about you by that time. Fear had filled my thoughts at night to the point that I didn't allow myself to dream. Instead, I strategically planned our future together. I read blogs from other mothers and I took notes. I looked for all the latex free things I could find. I figured out ways to tell everyone that you'd be okay. I prayed to God that I could be the mother you needed.

I was already so deeply in love with you Bella. I loved you from the moment that I knew of your existance. I may have been scared, but to be completely honest, you stole my heart and that fear was no match for you. I knew about the medical issues the day that they told me you were a girl, and even then, I went and bought your first outfit. I cried as I picked out that little set of footsie pajamas with the cupcake on it. I held it in my arms and I silently begged God to make it all go away. I debated with myself about whether I should buy it or not. I wandered around the girl section with the words from the doctors echoing in my head. Chances of mental retardation. Developmental delays. Physical disablility. Spina Bifida. Hydrocyphalus. I tried to shake them off, but they were there. I remember taking a deep breath and walking to the counter. I paid for the adorable little PJ's and I assured you that this was only the beginning my love. As I walked away, with the onesie in hand, I felt more and more determined to be your voice, to love you like no one else could, to be the mother I was meant to be.

The night before you were born, I tossed and I turned. I felt the pressure in my stomach, but I didn't understand what it meant. Bella, I'm sorry that I didn't know. I've replayed that night in my head over and over, searching for an alternative scenario. Maybe if I had noticed during the day or if I'd complained about the pain sooner. Maybe you could've grown and been stronger for your surgery. Maybe, if things had gone as planned, you'd still be here. I'd be planning your 4th birthday the way it was meant to be.

I love you Bella. I love you more than words could ever truly express. You are my heart, my soul, my everything. I miss you every single moment of every single day. That won't ever change. I promise.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

For the Love of Bella

Bella's 4th Birthday is just around the corner. I can't believe that so much time has passed. I often find myself wondering what Bella would be like. I wonder what she'd look like or how she'd behave. This part of the year is extremely hard for me.

I'll be honest, there isn't anything that scares me more than thinking that Bella could one day be forgotten. It's going to be 3 years since Bella passed away, and it's harder for me to tell people about her. It's not that I'm ashamed, it's just that seeing people's reactions is difficult. Not everyone knows what to say, and I'm still trying to save my own broken heart. I think about her all the time. She's the first person I think of in the morning, and the last before I go to sleep. My love for her hasn't changed one bit, it's just harder now to talk about her.

This year, in honor of Bella's 4th Birthday I've decided to do Random Acts of Kindness. The idea stemmed from the miss foundation, where families perform acts of kindness in honor of their loved ones who have passed. The idea behind it is that together we can keep their memory alive while spreading love. So, I had some "kindness cards" made and we're going to start distributing them. Bella brought me so much love, and by spreading acts of kindness, it's my way of sharing.

Bella was such a little diva. She didn't like the sun in her eyes or the wind in her face. It was strictly shade and indoors for my little one. She had little baby mood swings, which I truly loved. She'd wake up some mornings with the biggest smile on her face, and others she'd simply want to be left alone like a little princess. The reason I share this with you is because I want you to know how much Bella changed my world. For one year, one month, and nine days Bella was my very own little piece of Heaven on Earth. I was so lucky to have been given such a gift.

So please, consider doing an act of kindness in honor of my sweet Bella. You can check out the details here.

I'd also like to thank YOU for reading about my Bella. It truly means the world. This blog has turned into a place where I can share her. I can share my worries, my joys, my memories. I just truly appreciate it.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Someone asked me the other day how I was doing, and I knew what she was meaning to ask. I was a little taken back because it's been a while since anyone has asked that. I thought for a second before I spoke and I simply answered, "I'm okay, thank you for asking."

To be completely honest, I didn't actually want to be asked. I really wanted to end the conversation there because I've learned over the years that well meaning people can sometimes say the most hurtful things. She then went on to say, "Well, you look like you're doing great. I don't know how you do it, I would simply die if one of my kids were to pass away. There would be no way I'd be able to go on."

I didn't say anything. I just nodded and smiled, until she went on to say, "God knows what he is doing. Good thing he took her as a baby, because I think losing an older child is much, much harder. For example, if I lost one of my kids... I can't even begin to imagine. I wouldn't be able to go on like you have."

I don't understand why people feel the need to justify their feelings out loud. It's as though they need to make themselves feel better. Saying she wouldn't survive is an expression, I understand that. However, I needed for her to understand that it hurts to hear it said.

I still laugh. I still try new things. I still live life. But I assure you that doing those things doesn't mean that I love Bella any less than other mothers love their children. I live life every day for Bella; it may be hard to believe, but it's the only way I can explain it.

Mornings with Bella are what I miss the most. Her breathing would change ever so slightly, and I'd know that she was just waking up. She'd open her eyes and look around until she found my face. I'd say, "Good morning sunshine," and depending on her mood she'd either just look at me for a bit or she'd smile. Those mornings meant the world to me because for a few seconds it was just her and I; no one else. Those mornings taught me how to cherish every single day. Bella taught me what a gift a smile really is. Bella taught me how important it is to take in all those moments of love and hold them close to my heart. What kind of a mother would I be to not share that with others? Bella is in my heart, and by sharing with others and living every singe day I share her.

And so, I thought for a moment before I answered her, "You're wrong. If one of your children were to pass away, you would survive because you love them. You wouldn't want to, but you would. If Bella had been twenty years old instead of one, it would've still hurt. I would still feel this way regardless. You can't imagine what this is like, and I'm glad. However, you're train of thought isn't right. To survive doesn't mean that you don't love them, it means that you do."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I'd love to be anywhere, with her...

I remember the last time I held her as if it were just yesterday.
The events of that day will forever be engraved in my soul, for all of eternity.

I carried her in my arms down to the hospital basement and to any person passing by, I was just another mother carrying her sleeping child; the nurses had draped a blanket over Bella's body so that no one could see her. I remember walking out of that hospital room and feeling like all eyes were on us. The whole medical team knew that underneath that blanket I carried Bella's lifeless body. They watched us as we made our way to the elevator, and I'll never forget that suffocating feeling of wanting to tell them to just stop looking at us. I wanted to cry and scream and yell at everyone standing there. I was so sad. I was so angry and heartbroken.   

One foot in front of the other. Don't think, just walk. Don't cry, just walk. I really wanted to just take Bella, and run away. I wanted to get as far away from that hospital as possible. I wanted to take Bella with me and go somewhere that didn't require us to be apart. 

The hallways were bare, and blindingly white, and I can't remember how many turns we had to make before we made it down to the morgue. I handed her over, and they carried her in, while I watched the door shut behind them. Bella was wrapped in a fuzzy white blanket with hearts. She wore the outfit that we had used for her end of life pictures. That image is one that I cannot escape from. I see it over and over again in my head. I've imagined every other possible scenario, like the one where Bella doesn't die and I don't ever have to see the basement of that hospital. I've pictured me running out of there with Bella in my arms, and we live happily ever after. I've even gone on to imagine the two of us going anywhere together, even if it meant that I'd die with her. Sometimes, I just can't understand how I've managed to be here without her. I don't understand how that's even possible.

I dream of her sometimes. I used to dream of her smiling, and that brought me a great deal of comfort. The thing is that lately my dreams have drastically shifted. In every dream I'm trying desperately to get to her, and I wake up before I can hold her. The dreams are so vivid that at times I wake up thinking that I need to go to the hospital to see her. Sometimes it takes me a few moments to realize that I've only been dreaming, and it's such a painful feeling to know that my nightmare is simply my reality.

There are people that experience the loss of their children before they even have a chance to take their first breath. So I understand that I was lucky. Lucky in a sense that despite Bella's short stay on Earth, I was granted a privilege that not everyone gets. I held Bella, and stayed up sleepless nights with her. I stared at her for hours at a time, I held her little hands in mine. I stared into those eyes of hers and I memorized every detail of her beautiful face. I'm so very grateful for that. I'm grateful for the one year, one month, and nine days that I was able to enjoy my sweet Bella. I was given the gift of being her mother. I was given the honor of knowing a love so unconditional that it hurts...

Given the opportunity, I'd do it all over again. I'm not going to deny that I'd rather be anywhere with my sweet Bella. I'd give anything to change the part of our story where we had to separate. However, I'm beyond grateful for the time we were given together, no matter how brief.. 

My heart. My Soul. My Bella.


Friday, May 31, 2013


This picture was taken on December 2nd, 2010. Five days before Bella passed away. This was the last time that she was responsive. It was the last time that she grasped for a toy. The last time she was fully awake...

There was an overcast outside. I could see the big billboard that announced Saint Jude Hospital and the need for donations. There were people walking this way and that way, heading to their destination. They had no idea that just above their head, in that Kaiser building, my daughter, my Bella, was on her very last days. We baptized Bella that day, and shortly after our families left, I took this picture of her.

Bella loved baths. And when I say love, I mean, loved baths. The minute she'd feel the first drops of water on her little head, she'd just stop whatever she had been doing and she'd just wait for bath time to begin. When the water was poured over her head for her baptism, she seemed to just relax. So after everyone left we gave her a bath, and she looked so calm and content.

Bella had a hard time grasping things, it was something we had worked on in physical therapy, but when I put that toy in front of her she reached for it. She even grabbed it and pulled on it. I know that I watched her for a little while just playing with that toy. I know that I talked to her and said things to her. But sadly, I don't remember the last moments before she fell asleep. I don't remember if I told her how much I loved her or how proud of her I was. Memories like that haunt me all the time because those are the ones I am losing, and I'm terrified.

A lot of memories are a blur. It's almost going to be two and a half years since Bella passed away. It feels like such a long time ago; at times it still doesn't feel real. Sometimes it feels like it just happened yesterday and other times I just can't understand how I've made it this far in time.

The thing is that I'm so grateful for even the tiniest of memories. I'm so grateful for all that we went through because without those experiences, Bella wouldn't have been Bella, and I wouldn't be me. I was blessed. Blessed to be a mother, and not just any mother, but Bella's mother. I was blessed to know that sweet little girl, and to love her and hold her and know that at the end of the day she'll never stop being mine. And when I dream about her I feel more alive than you could possibly imagine. The memory of her smile warms my heart in ways that are difficult to really truly explain.

And I feel so incredibly lucky. Yes, you read that right. Lucky.

No one else in the world will have the honor of being Bella's mom. No one else will ever know what it feels like to love and be loved the way that Bella and I love each other. Bella changed my world, and I couldn't possibly be more grateful.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


On some of the hardest days I feel like Bella always finds a way to let me know she's with me... Whether it be a shooting star, a butterfly, or a lady bug, she just always seems to know when I need her; this morning was no exception. She was all I could think about this morning and I found myself feeling rather distraught.

When I arrived at my desk, I noticed a little ladybug making its way across my desk calendar... 

And I couldn't help but smile because I don't think it's just a coincidence. 
Notice that it landed on the word love?
I've always referred to Bella as my little Lovebug.

Bella would've been 3 and a half today, and I find myself wondering what she might have looked like. I can't help but wonder what life would be like if Bella were still here. I find myself fantasizing life with Bella physically here, and my heart hurts because it just knows how impossible that is now. Easter is coming up, and that's always a tough holiday for me. I can remember the one Easter we spent together as if it were just yesterday. The details of that day are so clear; her outfit, the weather, and the events that took place that day. There wasn't anything out of the ordinary that happened, but for some reason I can remember every bit about it, and I'm thankful for the memories.
These days are hard, but I do know for sure that my little Lovebug is always with me. I have no doubt about that. Bella changed my entire life, and I'm so grateful that I was given the gift of being her mother.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Allowing myself to feel...

It has been 2 years, 3 months, and 18 days; 839 days to be exact.Yet, here I am, not seeing any signs of light at the end of the tunnel. And I'm not sure if it's because I refuse to see it, or if I simply haven't walked far enough to get there. I just miss her. All the time. Every moment of every single day.

I've been emotionally all over the place lately.
I'm not happy. 
I'm actually really, really sad; a lot. 
My heart is almost always heavy. 
And I'm still in a love/hate relationship with God.
But I feel like it's that point in time where I should have a grip on things, my emotions, all of it... 

I thought I had reached that place of peace that some people talk about, but I think I might've just reached a whole new level of pain. My heart just hurts. From the outside looking in, I've done rather well. Silly me, even I thought I had handled it pretty well. But now, reality has set in. I'm not doing okay, and I'm slowly starting to understand that I don't need to be okay for anyone.

I am weak. I am hurting. I am lost. I am trying so hard to find my way, but I just haven't had the words to say that. I've only recently allowed myself to even admit those things to myself. Lately, I've been acting so out of character, I haven't been myself. At some point, I felt the pain grow more and more intense, and I ran from it. I put on a smile, I reached out to old friends, and I booked the first flight to anywhere but here. I spent a weekend being a woman with no worries. A woman who knew how to have fun. A woman who didn't know the pain of losing her entire world. I ran away from grief. I truly believed that I could outrun the pain, but clearly that's not possible. 

I tried to convince myself that this new adventurous behavior was simply part of the old me, and that maybe I was healing; too bad that just isn't true. That isn't me. I'm just scared. Scared of truly feeling the intensity of the hurt. Scared of admitting that I can't feel better just yet. I have put so much energy into 'feeling' better lately, only to realize that I'm not doing it for me. I'm doing it for everyone else. I want everyone else to be happy, so I pretend to be happy too. I can't tell them everything is going to be okay without actually looking like I believe it too. But it's exhausting to have to be strong for everyone else. I'm slowly starting to realize that it's time to take care of me. And just admitting that has already lifted such a huge burden off my shoulders. 

There are going to be times that I won't have time to see friends, or talk to them, or text them back. There are going to be periods of time where I just simply need to check out for some time. I need to just give myself time to feel sad and actually be sad. I need to stop worrying about everyone else, and just start worrying about me and my broken heart. Bella was mine. I carried her for 7 and a half months. I was there every single day of her life. I loved her with every ounce of my being. And so.. I have every right to feel the way that I do. I don't know why I feel the need to justify it, but I do. I guess what I'm really trying to say is, it's time I cut myself some slack.

I miss her. I wish that I could see her now. I wish that I could hold her and kiss her and just breathe in the beautiful, sweet scent of Bella. There isn't anything easy about losing her. It's hard, incredibly hard. And there isn't a single day that I'm not aware of how grateful I should be that she was mine. I am grateful, overwhelmingly grateful, but that doesn't mean that I don't shake my fists at God every now and then for taking her.

Deep down, I know that there is a greater reason behind all of it. Bella was made especially for me, and I was made for her. I have experienced a form of love that some people may live their entire lives looking for. I am humbled to know that I didn't have to do anything to experience it, Bella just gave it to me; a love so pure, and real, and unconditional. 
Our time may have been brief, but ultimately, Bella changed my world in more ways than anyone could ever possibly understand; and for that, I am eternally grateful.

My heart. My soul. My everything.