1.01.2010

New Year, New Baby, New Reflections on Life

I've thought of many ways to write this post, as a reflection of 2009 by the month or as the decade by year. I thought about rehashing my goals for the year and implementing new ones. But honestly, my heart is just not in it. Don't get me wrong, 2009 was a pretty awesome year for my little family and it's nice to see I met a lot of my goals in addition to having the privilege of getting pregnant this year. But for all of the positive events we saw this year one heavily weighted negative is perched on my mind as the year comes to a close.

I've talked about my best friend Hannah many times on this blog. We lived together for nearly 8 years through college and beyond, were each other's maids of honor, shared part of our first pregnancies together, and then she had beautiful baby Matilda on Thanksgiving Day this year. Throughout our friendship we've gone through many life events together but I never expected to go through the loss of a parent this early in our lives. Hannah's mom, Ann, died on Christmas Day from breast cancer complications. It was unexpected and words fail me during this incredibly sad occasion. But what I can say is this: life is too short, it can be unfair and it doesn't always make sense. It's easy to get caught up in our monotonous daily routines, drifting from months to years, taking it all for granted and planning for the next 5, 10, 15 years as if they are guaranteed. All too often I let unimportant details take precedence, I'll lose sight of the present moment, and focus far too much on future plans. Plans--as if we have any control over what life brings to us.

How many times do we have to hear the phrase 'Live life to its fullest' to really understand what that means? Can anyone truly be present in the current moment on a consistent basis? Don't we all take our blessings for granted?

Ann was an amazing wife, mother, and although it was brief--a grandmother to Tilly. To say that she will be missed is the understatement of the year.

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When Hannah told me the news on Christmas Day I was in shock. Although I only see my mom a few times each year, I was lucky enough to be with my own mother and grandmother for this bittersweet holiday. Mourning the loss of Hannah's mom with my own immediately made me realize how blessed I truly am, and that I should never take it for granted. Every email or phone call, every hug or laugh, every 'I love you' needs to be fully appreciated. I think we can all use reminders sometimes, and if nothing else Ann's death will always serve as a wake up call for me: to cherish every moment with my own mother, because nothing is guaranteed.

We spent an extra day in Missouri to attend Ann's visitation and I'm so glad we decided to stay. We also got to meet the most gorgeous little baby in the world, Miss Matilda, and although I was convinced the timing of her birth was awful now I realize it might be the biggest blessing throughout the ordeal. Sure, Hannah has a one month old baby to care for which brings on hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep, and a general feeling of chaos. I thought that Ann's death would be too much to bear even under 'normal' circumstances, but with a brand new baby? Way too much. And of course, it's not going to be easy for Hannah by any means...but Tilly is just such a bright spot in the world, a reminder that life can indeed be good. Tilly will keep Hannah busy and hopefully she can bring a smile to her face every now and then, too. One birth and one death all in the matter of a month. Yes, life is a roller coaster of unknowns, so buckle up for the ride.

To focus on the positive side of things, let me present to you Miss Matilda in all of her glory:

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Holding Nate's fingers....makes my heart melt a little bit:
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And I swear I'm not looking at the baby with crazy eyes. I was telling a really good story, of course. But this picture is too funny not to share:
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I guess if I reflect on the year and life in general, I would have to say that my only goal for 2010 is to be present. To live in the moment. And not to take a second of it for granted. I hope you can do the same.

23 comments:

  1. I completely understand what you mean.

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  2. Oh Julia...I am so sorry for Hannah's loss. I know that she is a dear friend to you and it must be so hard for her and her family right now. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this extremely difficult time. Hopefully her beautiful baby will help hear heal in time.

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  3. Great post! I'm so sorry for yours and Hannah's loss. Her baby is beautiful and will surely bring her lots of joy. Thank you for the reminder to live life to the fullest! :)

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  4. So very sorry. I lost my mom to breast cancer a few years ago and it totally changed my outlook on life. All the things I "thought" mattered I realized made no difference at all.
    On a happier note, I LOVE the pictures of Tilly. :) That funny one with you looks like you want to eat her up! Can't wait to see all the pics when your baby arrives as I'm sure we will be in for a treat!

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  5. Im sorry for her loss but like you said, tilly's birth is a blessing, she got to meet her granddaughter and will forever be her angel! HUGS!

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  6. That baby is gorgeous. And I'm so sorry for your loss and your friend's loss. I actually just reposted a tribute to my mother who I lost 4 years ago to breast cancer that had spread all over. It's so sad, but like you said, we just have to appreciate every day that we are given with our loved ones.

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  7. Well said Julia. Even with my own circumstances I can find many things to be thankful for. I hope you are doing well, I think of you often.

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  8. I have to say, through all the posts about Hannah in the past, I feel like I know her. Im writing this with tears in my eyes and so sorry for her loss. How devastating to deal with. :(

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  9. i am so sorry to hear about your friend hannah and her loss. i can't even begin to imagine losing my own mother, let alone on christmas. thanks for reminding us what to be be--in the present!

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  10. I am so sorry for your friend's and your loss. Your post was eloquent and beautiful, and I think we lose sight of what is truly important in the new year, and that is just living life to the fullest.

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  11. i'm so sorry to hear about your friend's loss. what a beautifully written post and a lovely introduction of sweet Matilda. i'm sure she will hear some incredible stories about a grandmother that loved her very much.

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  12. What a wonderful post and tribute. I am so sorry for Hannah and her family's loss and all those who mourn her passing.

    Life is precious and not promised to anyone, but Tilly and your own little one shows that with gratitude for the blessings left by those who have gone on before we move forward and seek to be present and aware of the love that surrounds us.

    May 2010 bring you great love and blessings.

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  13. I am really sorry to hear that. I think your resolution is a great tribute to Ann.

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  14. I'm sorry to hear about yours and Hannah's loss - this post was a beautiful tribute to your friendship and relationship with her mother. May the New Year bring peace for Hannah and her family and many beautiful memories of her child and yours.

    Happy New Year!

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  15. I have tears in my eyes as I read your post on the lose of Hannah's mother. Losing a parent is something I can not imagine going through but had to live through it with my ex-husband when we lost his mother to pancreatic cancer.
    If it not fair and it never makes sense. But her mother is looking down on her and that beautiful baby and will help them through this journey even when they don't think she is there.
    Please tell your friend she and her family are in my thoughts and prayers and I hope that 2010 is a year of healing and joy for them.

    On that note you are right that we must live each day to the fullest and that is easier said than down. But I do think if you take a minute (even just a few seconds) everyday to think of one thing you are thankful for that you are then living in the moment.
    Here's to a wonderful 2010!!!

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  16. I'm so sorry for Hannah's loss, but I think you're right. Little Tilly will be a source of great comfort, and I'm sure that Hannah's mom was overjoyed to meet her granddaughter.

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  17. I am so sorry for the loss of Hannah's mother but her beautiful baby girl will bring her lots of joy and healing during this difficult time.

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  18. I am so sorry for Hannah's loss, this just breaks my heart. Your post is so right on, we cannot be reminded enough to live in the moment and take nothing for granted, yet it is something that few of us manage to do. Thanks for the reminder.

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  19. How devastating for Hannah. :( Tilly is so precious - I'm sure she'll bring lots of joy to their lives.

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  20. So sorry for the loss. At least she has lots of supportive people to help her through. I like your goal a lot ... definitely something I struggle to do.

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  21. I am so incredibly sorry for Hannah's loss. Your post was so beautifully written. I will keep you all in my prayers.

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  22. What a well-written tribute. I can't imagine having to endure the death of a parent so early, particularly during the holidays, but I'm sure Tilly will help to brighten things up. What a doll!

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  23. I hate cancer. Breast cancer is especially tough. I lost my grandmother to it when I was only 6-years-old. I sometimes mourn the loss of the great relationship I knew I would have had with her. But I get to hear great memories from everyone about her. I'm sure Tilly will heare those stories as well when she is older.

    I'm sorry for this loss. I guess it's the circle of life. One life ends and another begins . . .

    Still hurts like hell though.

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