Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Thanksgiving thank you

I haven't been great at blogging lately.  Honestly, I just haven't wanted to talk about things lately.  But there is something that's been on my mind that I should share.  I have been writing some thank you cards lately--something I've never been very good at but something that I want to be better at and have been trying to be better at.  Anyway, as I've been writing these thank you cards I realized that it's been almost 16 months since Laila passed away and I still haven't succeeded in thanking the majority of the people that did things for us.  At the time I was so overwhelmed and numb.  But I was also acutely aware and thankful for the support and love poured on us.  But the task of thanking everyone was so daunting and I didn't feel prepared or ready to write letters.  And then people continued to do things throughout the year and suddenly I realize that it would take me a lifetime to express my gratitude to everyone.

But I really want to.

I really want to say that my heart has been uplifted so much and I've watched the outpouring of love that seems to come to people so naturally (and doesn't always come as naturally to me) that they have served our family without a second thought.  It's been teaching me and I feel like I'm slowly learning.  I hope to one day be that person that can see a need and fill it (or at least try) without giving it a second thought.

In the meantime, I have a lot of people to thank and don't know how to do it all.  So, I'm attempting to do so here.  I know it isn't as personal so I feel bad about that.

So, here is my lame attempt to acknowledge and thank each of you.

The days and weeks following Laila's death found our home overflowing with beautiful flowers and cards from friends, co-workers, cousins, Aunts and Uncles.  My Aunt and her daughter drove the long hours from Utah to attend the funeral only to have to quickly turn around and go home.  I wasn't in a good place to sit and chat and really thank them but their presence meant so much to me.

Our neighbors brought meals, even though we were new to the block.  One neighbor in particular set up meals for two weeks straight to be brought in by people from her church and other friends of hers that had never even met us.

Gifts and packages came in the mail--thoughtful things for the boys to lift their spirits and precious gifts for Mike and me--pictures, a scrapbook, Willow tree figurines, a beautiful plaque that sits in our kitchen, a photo album from my mom, a mirror with Laila's face on it, and necklaces that remind me of Laila.

Our doorbell rang almost every month with a beautiful flower delivered to us in Laila's honor from an anonymous donor.  I loved receiving those flowers and knowing that someone wanted us to know they still remembered even as the months passed.

At Christmas we were given ornaments in honor of Laila to hang on our Christmas tree and surprised by being the recipients of a beautiful Nativity.

On Memorial day friends brought cookies and sent cards just to let us know that they were thinking of us on that day when we were remembering Laila.

We hosted a service project in honor of Laila's short life.  Friends flocked to our house with gifts to donate.  One gift in particular was touching.  A friend made the most beautiful quilt to donate to the hospital.  Her husband was deployed and she was home with three little boys and in her spare time she spent hours making this precious quilt.  On top of the stress of her husband being deployed she was left to pack her house and move her and her boys to Texas without the help of her husband.  Her plate was overflowing with stress and she still found the time to make this quilt.  The last night she was in Colorado I got a call from her telling me that the quilt was done and could I come and get it.  When I got back in the car I couldn't hold back the tears as I thought about the little girl that would receive this beautiful quilt that was made with so much love and sacrifice on the part of my friend.

My craft room quickly filled with gifts to donate to the Children's Hospital.  Families took their children to the store to let them pick out items so they could be a part of the service project.  My in-laws also sent gifts to be donated even though they lived far away and friends and family in Utah and other states, also spent the month of May thinking of service projects to do in honor of Laila.

A portion of the gifts donated to take to the Colorado Springs Children's Hospital

Some friends from Ohio delivering the bibs and burp cloths

My ward in Ohio made burp clothes and bibs to take to the Dayton Children's Hospital and friends in Oklahoma also donated gifts to take to the children's hospital in Oklahoma City.  I was so touched with their efforts.

My brother Adam and some of his children watching their balloons

A view of the balloons released in Laila's honor for her birthday celebration

My brother and his family participated in their own balloon release
The balloons from my brother and his family with their service for the month written on the balloons

The week of her birthday we celebrated with a balloon release in her honor.  Each balloon represented a service our family had done in her honor or a service someone had done for us.  So many of our friends showed up to support us and I felt overwhelmed with love and support knowing that in the year I'd lived in Colorado I'd made lasting friendships with these families.  My mother-in-law came all the way from Maryland to support us with the balloon release and deliver the gifts to the hospital with us.

On the anniversary of Laila's death friends went to the cemetery and brought flowers and cards and mourned the loss of our baby.  When our family showed up to the cemetery we arrived to find her headstone surrounded by beautiful bouquets and my tears flowed freely realizing that I didn't have to suffer alone because Heavenly Father had provided us with wonderful, devoted friends.  They respected my desire to spend that day with just my husband and family but wanted me to know they loved me and were mourning with me.

In September part of my family participated in a fun run, sporting shirts that read "Lacing up for Laila" and my sister put together a treasured journal with special notes written from my family.  She knew the journal I had for Laila would quickly fill up and that I would need a new one soon.

I know I can't possibly write all the things that have been done for us in the last 16 months.  These are just some of the things done in our behalf, not even touching the surface.  Every service, prayer, and thought in our behalf has been appreciated.  It has helped fill our home with happiness and made the process of losing Laila easier for us.  We recognize in a very real way that the Lord hasn't left us alone but has surrounded us with people that love us.

So I want to sincerely say thank you to each and every one of you.  Our family loves you and will never forget the support you have offered.


Jess and Jen said...

I am glad you posted the picture of the stuff that you donated to the hospital! That's a lot...wow! Love you guys! -Jen

Michelle said...

What a beautiful post. I'm glad people have been so nice to you and done so many kind things.

Jenn said...

I love the post. While reading it, one can feel of your out-pouring of thanks. We hope you guys have a great Christmas! Tell all your family "hi".