"When Walter and I first found out we were pregnant, we immediately jumped online to find our 'due date'. This came to be the only due date we would ever receive for our Grace, and although we found out we were much further alone than we thought, we decided to celebrate July 19th every year as Gracie's Birthday.
This year we are doing a balloon release for her. There will be plenty of balloons that you may write a note on to her, so we can all release them together. We will gather at 7PM, and release the balloons at around 8PM. This is the time the sun will be setting.
Please take time and come honor our Grace with us." -1st Annual Gracie's Gathering invitation
July 19th, 2011 was the day we had written on our hearts as the day we would be holding our little girl, our gift from God, in our arms. Walter and I would lie on the couch and talk and dream about it. How scared we would be, but the peace we would feel at the same time. We would probably feel unprepared, even after all this time preparing. She would be beautiful.
July 19th, 2011 was a day we instead were able to give a gift to her. True friends and family gathered to honor the little girl none of us had met, yet we all loved so much. At 8PM we released balloons. 25 for Grace, 4 for two other friend of mine who had lost babies, and one red balloon for all the other women who have felt the pain of losing their child.
I decided I was going to let it all flow. Usually, when we have get togethers, I stress about the snacks and what to wear... and everything has to be planned just so. But that wasn't my focus. I had a friend and my husband pick up pre-made snacks, and I just threw on a pair of jeans. I even kept it together when an orange and teal butterfly was found dead on my porch as I left to pick up the balloons. I picked it up and place it on a beautiful flower blooming in my yard. I knew it wasn't Grace, and I knew it was just a very unfortunate coincidence... nothing was going to ruin her day. I kept it together for her, I think... even though I knew she didn't need me to.
I had a long winded thank you in my head to say, but when I got too emotional on the third sentence I just finished there. My friends knew how much it meant, and I wasn't about to force the words to come out. I kept myself busy leading up to the moment where I just watched the balloons dance about in the sky until they disappeared over a line of trees. It was beautiful. We were scared, but were full of peace at the same time. We felt so unprepared, even after all the time spent planning and preparing...
I couldn't love my daughter any more. I am confident she knows that. I am confident that God can do whatever He wants to do in His timing. And, despite the odds, I couldn't wake up pregnant tomorrow if He called it to be. I love my Grace, and I love my God... not in that order. There are days my body aches for the violent sobs I cry, and there are day my eyes cannot stay open from the hours of lying in bed thinking of her... but I accept she's gone. Not gone forever, as I am sure she will be waiting for me the day I go Home.
Thank you for all the friends who came, or those who picked up a balloon from either our home or your local store to release. It made me feel really loved to see my friends and family gather for such a sad 'celebration'. I knew you had to put your lives and your comfortableness aside to honor my daughter, and I will never ever forget that. We had balloons released in different states, we had a friend filming, my sister was taking photos... I just appreciate and love you all. Thank you.
...more photos to come.