And a year has come....and a year has gone and onward we go.
Many, MANY times I get responses from people saying, "I just don't know what to say to you" or "words don't seem adequate." And now...that is the feeling I am left with when reflecting on friends (even those I have never met) and family who remembered us yesterday and the entire past year. Whatever way it was, it was yours and it is deeply and humbly appreciated and accepted. I tried to respond to each and every one and as the day wore on and as emotions became more uncontrollable within me, I couldn't seem to muster the energy up but please know that I read every single one of them and they carried us through our day.
I have to say a HUGE thank you to my friends who didn't even think twice about picking up and traveling with me anywhere I chose and doing whatever I felt like I needed to do and even getting me a birthday cake. (But luckily they knew me well enough that I DID NOT want a "Happy Birthday" song) so we just set around like good friends do and shared chocolate cake. Well, those that like chocolate did.
Our whirlwind adventure these past two days concluded last night with family and friends gathering at my parents' house and, at the end of the day, I felt so blessed.
To someone who has became one of my closest friends this past year, Angela, whose story can be found here, "We made it!!!" and I am so proud of you and so thankful you had the courage to knock on my door one night and I'm even more glad you stayed around even when I shut the door on you while I was trying to figure out exactly who you were.
Tomorrow is July 6 and will be my second birthday without Noah. I now know what his absence in my life feels like. I have an idea of the feelings I will experience throughout my lifetime now.
So, I'm almost at a point wondering what is next. What do I blog about now? I'm a worrier and someone who pre-dreads everything. Now that all the first anniversaries are over with, what will I worry about? What will I dread next? Am I going to let the worry and fear overcome me and not try to live my life and overlook the good that is before me.
Once, when I was so convinced that I might lose Haleigh Raye I couldn't even concentrate or enjoy the setting I was in, I was asked this, "Did you ever worry about something happening to Noah and Haleigh Raye before July 4, 2012?" My response was, "why, yes, of course I did." I was then asked, "and how did all that worrying help you cope with the loss of Noah. Did it make it any easier? Did it do anything for you other than taking away the precious time you were spending in worry?" Of course, the answer was no. There was not much of anything that helped with the loss of Noah except just learning to live through it and I don't think the dreading or worrying about the next tragedy in my life will help me deal with it any better. So why let myself get to that point. I totally understand that is something that can be easier said than done but, with faith, mental discipline and support, I believe it can be done and I am proof of it.
So...onward we go. I have found my passions in life and I'm ready to immerse myself in those.
- I want to share my faith with people, however God uses me to do that, I am willing and I am ready.
- I want to share Noah's testimony and keep his memory alive as best I can while at the same time not living in the past.
- I want to watch Haleigh Raye grow up and guide her to the best of my abilities and make her feel so loved and show her she is #1. Because, to me, she is.
- I want to be an encourager to friends, acquaintances and strangers. I want to be the best friend to those who surrounded me this past year. I want to look people in the eye, listen to their story, reflecting on how far a kind word can carry someone and remember most of us are one of three different type of people. There are those who coming right out of a storm, those who are in the middle of a storm or those about to go through a storm.
- And, finally, my pursuit to make changes and educate others. I won't ever forget what took Noah away from us and it didn't have to be this way. Something has to happen. My goal is to make sure it does.
I understand, with the help of others, "We made it this far. And I won't let all this pain we suffered through for be in vain and with all I have in me I will make sure Noah Dean lives on in different ways."
The ending of one of my favorite poems I remember memorizing in middle school sums my goals up. "I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep."
So onward we go.