I'm heartbroken she is not here, but thankful she chose us.
Thanksgiving has always been a time to reflect for me - the highs and lows, the learning lessons, gains and losses, to spend time with family, talk about the things we are grateful for, some football, give back, and food lots and lots of food.
Since Ari's death, it has been different. As much as I tried to keep it similar for our living son, it is still different. I have figured out ways, supports, tools to come to terms with the grief storm that is bound to happen around the heightened emotional holidays.
But, just because it is different doesn't mean it has to be bad. I truly am heartbroken that Ari is not here with us, but I cannot express the gratitude I have that she chose me - chose us.
I'm grateful that we were able to meet her, spend 9 hours and 51 minutes with her, bathe her, read to her, kiss her beautiful face and lips, smell her baby scent, hold her precious hands, pray over her and get her...
Losing Ari could have wrecked us as a couple. We could have become one of the statistics.
We could have given up on one another, went opposite ways when our grief did the same.
We could have wallowed in our own bubble of pain, not communicating or telling one another we need help.
But we didn't.
We found more love, more fight within us to not let her death break us, but to let her LIFE lead us.
She leads us every day to choose better. To be better as a couple. To be better parents. Better friends. Be better human beings.
It is not a walk in the park. In fact, it is more like a marathon.
But, not one other person on this planet will ever be able to understand the depth of pain we each carry more than one another.
Though we grieve differently, he gets me. He is my person.
Grief exists because love did first.
And ever since grief entered our life, it's been about finding our way through it......