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  • The Vail Project

Things to do today

1. Get up

2. Survive

3. Go back to bed.

I read a quote today that I thought I would share with you all. It really felt like me.

She walks, she talks,

she cooks, she cleans,

she works, She IS but She is NOT

all at once. She is here

but part of her is elsewhere

for eternity.


Aspen and Steve have been sick, going on a week now. Somehow I have managed to not get it. At least not yet. I'm really not sure how that is possible with Aspen coughing directly into my face from 3 inches away all day every day. But, I'll take it. With my luck, about the time Steve and Aspen are finally better, I'll go down. Right when Aspen gets her full energy back and I cannot get a moments peace, then and only then will I get sick.

Anyway, that isn't what I wanted to write about tonight. I brought it up because the sickness at our house has lent itself to some quiet time for Steve and I in the middle of the day. Today, we laid in bed for a few minutes and talked.

We both feel like over the past week or so, things have gotten harder. No idea why and I can't really quantify or qualify why it feels the way. Yet it has. A support group friend told us recently that the 4-6 month time frame, post the loss of his child, was an especially hard time. He couldn't say why either, just that it was. I don't feel like anything has suddenly changed or that my grief is more than it has been. I'm not crying more, or less. I guess its the feeling of pointlessness. Everything feels pointless. That is what Steve and I were talking about in our few moments alone today. Despite working nonstop on the non-profit and the wearable company, I still feel like everything is pointless. When I said this to Steve, he said he felt the same. As we talked, we agreed that despite this overwhelming feeling and how much it invades our existence...we cannot give in to it.

Giving in to that pointless, numb, emptiness and letting it consume us would mean that we are wasting our lives. We cannot waste our lives because baby Vail lost hers. We don't deserve that and Aspen certainly doesn't either. As much as we just want to fade into the background, blend in with the wallpaper and wait for it all to be over...that's not living life. The daily struggle at this point is trying to find purpose in as many minutes as possible each day. All while still being honest with ourselves and acknowledging our pain and sadness. Its a precarious tight rope we are walking.

I cannot really convey with words just how difficult it is to not let our lives go on without us. Just follow steps one, two and three listed above. Get up, survive, go to bed. I feel like I could literally do that for the rest of my life. Steve said today that if we do that then we will have failed Aspen. He is so right. She deserves present parents who live for her. Truly live, not just get through the days. I have absolutely zero idea how to do that though. No one who has been through this same kind of loss seems to be able to tell me either.

There appears to be two types of child-loss survivors:

1. Those who figure out a way to focus on something (a non-profit or mission) to remember and honor their lost child. Doing so becomes their purpose.

2. Those who follow steps 1-3. Never really living life fully again. Always just getting by in the darkness.

Obviously we want to be part of the first group. And I think we are on track to getting there. Until the fog rolls in. Then just breathing becomes so difficult that I'm sure that any second my lungs will just give up the fight against gravity and cave in. I look at the pictures and videos of our beautiful child and ask myself how she can really be gone. How this can be the world we live in? And, yet, it is. Denial isn't a place that I have ever been. At least not about the loss of Vail. I am extremely aware of her absence and that I will never hold her again or smell her hair, or hear her laugh. We will never again wake up to her smiling face in the morning or feel her head on our shoulders at night before bed. No, there is no denial here. Reality is way too real. So real we are raw from it. I wish I could say that following those three steps I've listed here make it easier to bear the weight of her loss. It does not. Working hard every day to honor her doesn't lessen that burden either. Steve and I can only hope that in honoring Vail with the wearable device and through its success saving the lives of other children that we can find our way out of despair.

Part of me is elsewhere, for eternity. The rest of me is here. The rest of me will do my best to stay present for my family. Life must be more than steps 1-3.

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