Yesterday was a day I both dread and looked forward to. On one hand it was heart-wrenching to have to celebrate Olive's first birthday without the birthday girl, but on the other hand I was so looking forward to the many ways we would, collectively, shower the world with love and kindness in her memory.
To say I was blown away is an understatement.
We woke up as we normally to - to silence. No baby babble coming over the monitor, no curly haired blonde to get out of her crib and snuggle, no little one to make special birthday pancakes for. But, we weren't sad.
Instead we awoke to our phones flooded with kind and generous gestures that, from the moment we woke up to the minute we laid our heads down last night (early this morning for me), brought a peace that I can't even describe to you.
I'm sobbing as I type this because I wish you all knew what you did for this mama's heart. The ripple effect you had on the communities you live in was astounding. As much as my sinful human nature would have loved to snuggle my sweet one, I recognize that without her short life - without her death - I don't know that all of these things would have happened. That's a conflicting place to be as a parent, but one thing is for certain: our daughter only and will ever only know unconditional love. As much as I want her back, I can't offer her anywhere close to what she has now - and because of that, I've accepted (and dare I say, am happier) that she is where she is and I will see her again when it's the appropriate time.
Because of all of YOU people felt joy, they believed in the kindness of the human spirit, they were uplifted and loved. YOU did that - for me, for the lady at Starbucks, for the mail carriers, servers, children, parents and homeless in your communities! YOU created a ripple effect that will be felt for days, weeks and hopefully months to come.
As for my husband and I - we weren't able to do many of the things that parents do with their children on their birthdays, but because of you there was singing and balloons and snuggling. There was joy and fun and laughter. There was fellowship and celebration. And peace.
Because of you Olive's birthday was a happy one, one that we will never, EVER forget. To have thousands of people bear witness to your daughter's life, to shower her and her family with love through your acts of kindness to others is nothing short of remarkable.
I pray that the joy YOU felt in giving back continues to leave a lasting impression on your heart. I pray that in the upcoming months you set aside moments in your busy life to pay closer attention, say some extra "I love yous", find a stranger or friend that needs a little extra in their life - and continue to pay it forward.
I promise you there is good in the world. I saw it, you saw it and we felt it.
God's richest blessings to you all.
With love and gratitude,
We will be creating a video montage of the different ways people helped to celebrate. Please continue to check the blog for updates.