Lila's 8 days

I read a quote recently that said "You are the expert of your own grief." It rings true and I need to remember that as I often question if what we are doing or not doing is the "right" thing. This year the right thing for us was to throw a small party for Lila like we have done for her other birthdays. It is very helpful to plan something for her, like we would be doing if she were still here. We had a snowflake theme to represent the "Lila snow" and we decorated the house with handmade snowflakes. It was very soothing for Mike and I to make these in the days leading up to her birthday. We had a make your own snowflake craft for the kids and some of the adults who were there even participated. The friends we had at the party are the perfect people to surround ourselves with as we feel comfortable talking about Lila, but they can also make us laugh when the sadness sets in. We also sprinkled glitter and released balloons like we have done every year and set out a table with some of Lila's things to show off to others.

We felt that this year we also needed to recognize the 8 days she was with us in a better fashion than we did last year. Everyday we made sure to do something in her honor or go somewhere. We visited a lot of places we had gone while I was pregnant with her. The last few days in particular were very busy with visits to the zoo, history museum, Lila's favorite bakery (she did seem to love those Oakmont bakery cookies while I was pregnant), botanical garden, walked around the University of Pittsburgh and of course the mausoleum to visit her. It felt nice and it felt right to do as much as we did this year and I know that Evie enjoyed doing everything for "Wiwa" as she calls her. 

I still cannot fathom that it has been 3 years since I last saw her, held her, touched her. My baby was loved so much and wanted and needed in our life. She is missed beyond words.


Back to Work

I've been lucky this year during Lila's 8 days to be off of work as much as I was.  I only had to work a few days and have been off for the past four days in a row. We have gone into downtown Pittsburgh each these four days and done various things to keep busy and as a result have developed a good routine. These activities were centered around Evie but they allowed us to remember Lila in the process. Tomorrow I have to go back to work and life has to go back to its old weekly routine. I wish that this new routine could continue because it makes me feel closer to Lila when we are able to do things as a family, our family of 4. I'm busy at work which will help the time pass but nice weekends like this make me wish I won the powerball so that I didn't have to work and everyday could feel more like this. I can't believe that it has been three years. I miss her so much. - Mike

Lila turning three

It's unbelievable that Lila would be turning three in two days.  Having a three year old running around with her year and a half old sister is such a far different reality than what we have.  Unfathomable. We've been talking a lot recently how different the month leading up to Lila's birthday has been. It feels more like it wasn't real, like we imagined it all. It's a terrible feeling but I guess that's what time does. It never stops and we keep getting farther from when we last saw her.

We plan on doing some of the same things that we have done the past two years.  We will buy and release three balloons in the morning for Lila's three years.  We will go and visit her mausoleum and are having some friends over as well to celebrate and remember her.  The theme of her birthday this year is snowflakes.  Jenny and I cut some snowflakes out of paper. This was something that we probably haven't done in over 20 years but it was also healing for us.  There will be a snowflake decorating station where Eve and her friends can do a little snowflake craft.  Also we will have snowflake cookies.  We still can't believe it has been three years. We miss Lila so much.

Lila in Italy

A friend of mine from work stopped by my desk last week and surprised me by giving me some Lila stone pictures that he and his wife took on their honeymoon to Italy.  The one below is Lila in the Colosseum.  They took her to the Pantheon as well and all over Rome and Italy.  I wasn't expecting this and I didn't even know that he took his Lila stone with them. It was a really nice surprise and was very touching.  He said they found a crevice in the Colosseum and wedged the Lila stone in it and left it there.  Now she will be there forever.  There is also another Lila stone in the Trevi Fountain and it is so cool to think that there are two Lila stones permanently in Italy.  I suppose it is fitting since Lila is 56.25% Italian (50% from Jenny and 6.25% from me).  Below are a few of the pictures, one in the Colosseum and one in the crevice that they left it in. These types of gestures mean everything.  They let us know that people are still thinking about Lila.  If we ever get to go to Italy, hopefully we can find these Lila stones. - Mike

A kind gesture

Mike and I were talking about what helped us the most in 2015 and it was definitely the random acts of kindness that people bestowed upon us. The surprises in the mail, the emails, the Lila stone pictures, the packages, the text messages, the kind words, the ways other people remembered Lila and so many other things. I cannot emphasize enough how true this quote to the right of the page is. It is so very true and can be applied to many situations. The way others have reached out to us is really the only way we have been able to move forward, especially in those first days and months after losing Lila. 

Our experience has shown us that you should always do something. Always reach out, always share a memory, always do something. It really does make all the difference in the world. Two weekends ago we were at the mausoleum visiting Lila and an older woman came up to us and said she wanted to tell us that every time she comes to the mausoleum she always says goodbye to Lila. This was a complete stranger who has taken it upon herself to say hello to our Lila. I could barely thank her between tears but it was the most touching thing in the world to us and I am so glad she told us.

For this year we hope that we can bestow some kindness to other people who may need it too. All of those who have ever done something for us in Lila's name please know that your actions give us hope and love that we so desperately need while we continue to grieve for our baby girl.