A year ago, on this day, Piper Grace left this earth.
I was aching, body and soul. The "worst case" had finally caught us, our fears realized, our grief began...a year ago today.
The drive home from the hospital the night Piper died, I remember being quiet. Silent with a million questions running through my mind.
"What do we do now?"
"Did that just happen?"
"Will we be ok?"
"How much worse will this hurt?"
"How long? How long will this hurt?"
Piper's entire life, starting in utero, we planned to lose her. We planned, not knowing the day or hour, but we hoped, we loved her, celebrated her, learned from her and still planned for her to leave us. We prepared our hearts for the day they would break, not knowing how shattered we would feel. Shattered. What a perfect word for how her departure felt.
Here I sit, a year later, shattered still - but glued together with the love and support Matt and I have received. Glued together by the awe we have in how Piper's story has touched others. Thank you, for loving us this year, for remembering our sweet girl, for helping us through.
I truly believe our family was touched by God's Grace during this time. When anyone said "I can't even imagine how you cope..." the answer is GRACE. How fitting, right? Grace.
Yes a year has passed, we have lived and loved and learned some things. I look back and am proud of our strength. Our hearts have endured turmoil, and yet we survived. It's allowed me to view life's struggles with a different lens. There's not much I fear I can't handle. My heart can handle it. Bring it on, life! Thanks, Pipes, for teaching us to stress less, and conquer more!
I'm proud of my marriage. I've never been more grateful that I married by best friend. In the midst of our NICU journey, the man next to me wasn't just my husband of 10 years. As my heart shattered, I turned to the 15 year old boy that was my best friend. He held me up. He knew my strength and reminded me of it. He wiped my tears, validated our decisions, and was our rock. Matthew Jarvis, I love you as my husband, but you, as my life long friend, was what got us through. I'm so proud of us.
I'm grateful for the teaching moments Piper's life and death has afforded me. Tallan Hope has been so receptive to chats about death, Heaven, God, Jesus; and I am thankful for her frank and curious mind.
I've spoken to a few groups, strangers, starbucks patrons, anyone really...about Piper Grace. The biggest lesson I've learned this year, is that I DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW how Piper will touch others' lives. I am here merely to share her story, and watch as she affects so many people in so many different ways. I think many people ask "why did this have to happen?" or the dreaded "everything happens for a reason," and I sigh and say that I do not need to know why. There's no ONE why, right? Think of how Piper's life has affected you. There are a million different ways she's touched you all, and it's my single most favorite thing to hear about.
Yes, Piper Grace Jarvis died a year ago, on this day. Matt and I kind of made a point not to build up expectations for this day. No rehearsal of emotions we assumed we'd have. No grave site to tend to. No balloons to release. We chose to acknowledge this day quietly as a family, and contemplate how far we've come in this past year.
A year ago, this day sucked; but the day she left us seems insignificant when compared to the day she arrived, the days we loved her, the days she taught us. I will be grateful for ALL the days I had with Piper Grace, even this one.
(Pics following are of our final hours with Piper.)