Sunday, August 21, 2011


August 21, 2011

Six months.

Six months without Nina.

One year.

One year after the diagnosis that changed everything.

It feels like yesterday, but then a lifetime ago. 

I have spent the past six months rebuilding the remnants of a fractured life. Step by step, hour by hour, minute by minute I am constantly reminded of the beauty, strength, courage, sass and happiness of the little angel I had the privilege of loving for almost 6 glorious years. Not a single day, nor single hour passes by where I am not drawn to a memory of my precious girl. Sometimes these memories bring a smile to my face and add a spring to my step. Other times, these memories release a penetrating pain so powerful that it seems almost impossible to breathe. But just when I feel like I cannot possibly take another breath, Love comes and holds me up. Even in the midst of horror and tragedy, life still blesses us. I cling to this truth most of all!!!

To say that life has changed is an understatement. Life will never be the same. However, the pain of nursing and loving Nina to death has transformed me and my life in the deepest and most profound of ways. Gratitude, Compassion and Happiness is how Nina transformed her mama and for that I am eternally thankful!

Gratitude is how I begin and end each day. We are all living on borrowed time. I always understood that sentiment but now it is a truth that runs through my veins and that I feel with each beat of my heart. As such, I am grateful for every blessing, every smile, every tantrum, every hug, every kiss, every snotty retort, every annoyance, every bit of courage, every success...... every single bit of the entire "bowl full of cherries" or "bowl full of shit" (all depending on what is going on at that specific moment). I have learned that the "shit" is just as big a blessing as the "cherries" because it means we are here and that we have each other. Bottom line, life, in all its iterations, is a blessing and worth being grateful for! That does not mean that life is pain-free. On the contrary, it is through pain that true gratitude can be born.

Compassion is a choice I make daily, sometimes on a minute by minute basis. The pain of losing Nina has taught me that there is no room for hatefulness in life, only compassion. However, I have also learned that compassion does not mean that you sacrifice yourself to unkindness, pain or injustice. Quite the opposite. It simply means that you can simultaneously take care of yourself and choose to treat others with kindness and dignity, even in the midst of hateful behavior. 

Last, but definitely not least, Happiness, is the "Nina theme" I claim as the soundtrack to my life. Life is literally too short and too precious to not insist on building happiness, even in the smallest of ways. Nina's life was a beautiful and powerfully vibrant testament to happiness and how it is each and every one of our responsibility to make our lives count!!! Happiness is not over-rated. It is what we must strive for. We are blessed by life and therefore we are obligated to bless those around us by creating happiness!!!!!

Rebuilding is not easy! Far from it!!!! However, I am blessed by love and I am blessed by Teddy.

Teddy is doing extraordinary!!! I cannot even believe that I am able to say that, but it is the truth. If someone had told me a year ago that after the worst possible year, Teddy would be stronger, braver, and solidly happy, I would have told them that they were lying. However, Teddy is. He is the most amazing person I know!!!! This past week, he just spent 4 days with his best-friend Niels in Irvine. As I drove him down to the Dawson's  I asked him again if he wanted me to stay with him. "No mom, I can do this all myself. I've got it!" And boy did he do it! Teddy has never been away from me or his dad at the same time, and to finish his summer, after the most disastrous year a child could experience, this way is nothing short of a miracle!!!! As I write this entry, I am convinced that Nina is in Heaven giggling at all of the antics her brother, Niels and Sander got into!!!!

For the past six months I have avoided posting this final blog entry. It was too painful to think about, much less actually do! However, at the heels of the 1-year anniversary of the diagnosis and the first 6 months of life without Nina, it feels appropriate to thank everyone for their constant love and support and to remind everyone how Nina has transformed us all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nina leaves a tremendous legacy and it is up to us all to never forget it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!