Monday, February 13, 2012

"The World's Valentine"

My sweet, sweet, beautiful girl; 
Happy Valentine's Day.
This day has been forever changed for me, because of you. Well, to be honest, I guess all of my days have been forever changed because of you, but today is particularly special.
Valentine's Day was always a day when as a child we would receive our very own heart shaped box of chocolate candies that I could greedily eat without having to share them with your Aunt Lisa. As I began to grow up, it became a day that usually resulted in unmet expectations as no boy could match up to your daddy, I just hadn't met him yet.
One of my favorite Valentine's Day was when I was in my 20's, and I spent it with your Uncle Pete and Aunt Beth, both of your Godparents, which I know looking back was no coincidence. That Valentine's Day was different because it was filled with laughter, joy, and a genuine love that we all had/have for each other.
But last year, Valentine's Day came to mean so much more.
A year ago tonight, was one of the most terrifying nights of my life. Reflecting back, I hate how I can actually still feel how hollow and fragile I felt in that very moment. It was the night before we would take you home. It was the last night that we spent with you in the nicu; the last night that I would fall asleep holding your warm, sweet skin against mine.
I still hoped with every fiber of my being that you would receive a miraculous healing, that when we got you home and removed that yucky tube that gave you breath; that somehow you would begin coughing and crying; but even as I hoped, I understood the unlikelihood of that request.
I have never felt more scared of anything in my entire life, I imagine I never will. 
I was afraid that you would die before we got you home, in the ambulance on the way, or right as we walked in; but you didn't, we had 14 beautiful hours with you in our loving home.
I feared that that you would appear to be in pain, suffering as you left this difficult world, but even though you weren't able to stay with us forever, even though as they told us that you were, "actively dying", you somehow looked more at peace than ever before.
 I feared the rest of our lives as we would have to learn to survive living with you as an angel, instead of watching you grow up.
But one of the most terrifying thoughts, was that I would get you home and change my mind. That I would shoo hospice out of our house, and try desperately to figure out a way to keep you alive forever, that we would keep you attached to that ventilator that gave you breath, but my heart knew that this was the only thing that your Daddy and I were able to do for you; to provide you with the gift of freedom from your struggles.
As we began the preparation towards your eventual homecoming, about the week before, it was difficult to "choose" what day we would go home; what day you would die. (I will forever thank you for the gift of not having us choose that at all, as you didn't leave this world until Feb 15th).
We decided on the Monday to give us one more weekend with you, not knowing the date in our fuzzy heads.
Finally a few days before, a nurse came to me and asked if I realized that we were taking you home on Valentine's Day, and then asked if we wanted to reconsider the day of bringing you home.
Your daddy and I, just looked at each other, and without any words exchanged between us, we agreed that Valentine's Day was the perfect day to bring you home.
This widely celebrated day of  Love, was the day that you would enter your home for the first time. This day would be the first day that you would enter your beautiful nursery, the first day that we would walk into our  home as a family of three, surrounded by the love of hundreds who were praying for, thinking of, and loving you.
I remember pulling onto our street in that giant mobile ICU, thinking that our house looked so different, after not seeing it for 21 days. It wasn't until I was inside with you, that things started to feel "right". 
You alone, Sofie, filled that house. You alone brought our house to life with the intense love that we have for you, and it was as if that love surrounded our very house that night. Our home felt warm that night, even as your skin grew cold. Our house felt as if it were filled with light, even though your room was dark as only the soft glow of blue, stars danced on your ceiling.
That night is the closest I believe, I will ever come to the purest form of Love until we meet again.
It was our love for you that gave us the strength to set you free... to say let you go.
The love that you ignited in our hearts has changed our world forever, along with the hearts of so many who have learned of you and from you.
You have challenged people all over the world to love differently, to love more intensely, to love without fear.
In one of your Christmas letters, a friend referred to you as, "The World's Valentine", and that you are sweet, baby girl.
You are love.
In church a few weeks ago, I noticed this quote printed in the bulletin, and was reminded with pride, of the power of your life. 

"Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides
and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of
love, and then, for a second time in the history of the
world, man will have discovered fire."~Pierre Teilhard de Chardi

Thank you, Sof, for helping me discover fire once again. Thank you for helping the world  discover one of the truest forms of love, faith, and hope. 
I said this to you the day of your sweet funeral, that as I prayed unceasingly in those 21 days for a miracle, your cousin Lizzy reminded me, that you sweet, Sofie ARE the miracle. Thank you for allowing me to witness the miracle of your life. 
I will forever smile on Valentine's Day, even through the tears,  I will forever feel that this day is filled with a love that I only wish everyone in the world had a chance to witness or understand.
In a time when people are scrambling to buy cards that may or may not have deep meaning, as people scour to find last minute delivery options to have flowers sent to a loved one, and as they quickly grab a big, heart shaped box of chocolates as they run through a store; I hope that those who know and love you stop for a moment to reflect on the truest meaning of this day.
 I hope that we all love a little deeper on Valentine's Day and every day, I hope that we can all harness for God the energies of the love that you have inspired, that we may once again discover fire.
Happy Valentine's Day, baby girl. You are my whole heart, and my heart is forever changed because of you.

***To all those who have read and supported me along this journey; this will be my final blog post.
While this journey is far from over, while the grief continues, so do the lessons and the love.
 Sofie remains an active part of my every day, I continue to talk with her, learn from her, and parent her the best way that I know how, however, I feel like this is a natural ending point to the public part of this intimate journey.
I thank you wholeheartedly for your love and support of my husband, myself, and most importantly of our beautiful, baby girl, Sofia. In one of of my posts I wrote about how it helps me to believe that Sofie chose this journey for herself, that she chose us to be her parents; I also believe that she chose all of you to be exactly where you are as you share in her life and love. I continue to learn from Sofie everyday, and I hope that you do as well. She chose life...she chose love...she chose all of you. 
Peace and love to you,
~Lori, Mike, and sweet Sofia 8i8