I am thankful for May.

For me, the start of May is an exhale and a long-awaited period at the end of a month I struggle to stammer my way through each year.  April gets caught in my throat like a lump.  It threatens to unravel any trace of mending from the year before.  

April holds the heart-wrenching anniversaries of our Maggie girl's death and birth--in that order.  In a week's time we soaked up the joy of our sweet Mason turning 5 years old on April 4th, staggered through memories of the day we lost our baby girl on April 6th, celebrated the HOPE that Easter brings of life beyond the hurt of this world [THANK YOU, JESUS] on April 8th, and relived the all-too-brief moments we held our precious Maggie for the first and only time on April 9th.  It was a heavy week of bouncing up and down between joy and hope, sorrow and desperation.  The highest of highs and the lowest of lows packed into 6 days.

Maggie's birthday always leaves me so lost.  

No Happy Birthday hugs or kisses on her cheeks.

No watching her open up birthday gifts, take in birthday streamers and blow out 3 little birthday candles. No birthday girl.

Just the familiar, frantic emptiness each year.

Year three has brought on kicking and screaming, clenched fists, resentment, brokenness and more questions than answers.

It has been an ugly year for my heart.

For every inch forward there has been a landslide back.  Some days I feel like I just can't cope with the fact that this is our story and she will never be ours this side of Heaven.  Peace and hope have been hard to wrap my head and heart around. 

Hard just seems to be the theme right now.  I miss the sunshine.  I miss feeling joy FULLY.  It all just feels so unsettled--so unfinished.  I suppose it always will as long as I am here and she is There.  

Things people say:

"You have 3 boys that ARE here, and they need you."

"You never know what the future will hold.  You're young and could always try for another girl."

 "I just want you to be happy."

"I miss the old Missy."

"I don't know what to say to you."

"Three boys, huh.  Can't make girls?"

"You have to keep moving forward."

"It's been three years."

. . .

Things I wish I could say:

"I need my sons as much as they need me.  It would be a much darker road without them."

"Missing my daughter does not mean I love my sons any less.  Wanting her doesn't mean not wanting them.  Children are not interchangeable, and love for one does not outweigh love for another."

"I do not know what the future holds, but I'm aware that raising a daughter may not ever be part of the plan for our family, and that is so hard to grasp."

"I pray that my grief does not damage my children irreparably."

"I can't breathe."

"I miss the old me, too."

"I am so sorry I have missed your baby shower/little girl's birthday party/social anything.  I relish in the delight you take in your daughter. Truly.  Know that I delight in her with you.  In the same beat, my heart aches for what you have."

"I understand how hard it is to approach a grieving mama.  You don't have to have the right words--just acknowledging our Maggie blesses us immensely." 

"I am doing my best to not let grief swallow me whole.  Some days I succeed.  Some days I fail."