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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Rosy - what a gorgeous post. I think of Nina so, so often, and I know her brilliant legacy surrounds us all. Lots of love to you all.

  2. Rosy-You and your family are incredible. You continue to be in my prayers since your first post. May He fill you with His peace as you continue rebuilding your world.

    Jewelee (Oates) Hotchkiss

  3. Prays and thoughts for your family. Your willingness to share with the world your heart and struggles has changed us. Thank you and God bless.

    Cheryl and Michael Takahara

  4. Rosy,
    Thank you for writing. Like many others I would check this blog frequently. It was good to hear from you.

    One time I went through the many pictures you have of your family posted on Flickr. It was wonderful to see Nina, Teddy and all the cousins and family all loving on each other. :)

    May God bless you and your family,
    Lynne in Modesto

  5. I am so moved by this post and so thankful to read it because I was worried for you all during the aftermath.

    You are amazing. Truly amazing. I am in awe of your strength. I know you wouldn't always feel strong or whole but you truly are inspirational. I'm also so happy to hear that Teddy is coping so well.

    & Nina was beyond beautiful & taught so many deep lessons in such a short time. Every reminder you have said in this post is etched into me.

    Thinking of you as you continue this journey in life and sending love your way for those moments where the memories take your breath away. I can't even begin to fathom it. Thank you deeply for sharing.


  6. Rosy!!! I am soooo relieved to hear from you! I think of all of you so often......I too come here to look over the pictures, think of your family and friends, and whisper a prayer. Wishing we could keep in touch forever! Thank you for this beautiful post and helping us all to be brought back to what really matters! God Bless you and your beautiful family every single day.....and hugs to you in heaven Miss Nina! :0)

  7. Such wise and beautiful words from such an amazing mother and woman of God. Thank you for sharing your journey, your family, and the life of your precious little Nina. I will never forget Nina and your family's story. It has touched me deeper than I knew I could be touched, especially since I do not know you; though, through your blog, I feel I do. Thank you for sharing w/ us once again. May God grant you and your family strength, peace, and much love. May He richly bless you, and may the memories of sweet Nina allow you to continue to share Gratitude, Compassion, and Happiness with the world, as you have already done. <3

  8. Nina will never be forgotten! She is in the hearts and minds of so many, all the time! Thinking of her sassiness makes me laugh out loud- like when she was very angry with me for assuming that her and Teddy could share an order of Taco Bell cinnamon twists. She wanted her own and I was in trouble! :) Sending love always! Thinking of Teddy as he goes back to school. xoxoxo

  9. Rosy, as many others have stated, I came here often to check on your family as well as look through pictures and videos. Nina touched my life and I do think of her often even though I never had the opportunity to meet her. I was just driving through Panda Express the other day and the video of her teasing Teddy about his "true heart" popped into my head and I had to laugh. You have a special family and I appreciate you sharing them with us through this blog.


  10. Rosy, I am so glad to see that you have posted. I have checked your blog daily for any new posts. The silence has had me worried...but also praying really hard for you and your family. Nina, you and your family have touched so many and you all will continue to be in our prayers. Your mother gave us a beautiful magnet with a picture of Nina and Teddy that is on my fridge. I have explained who they are to my children and they pray for them too.

    A cute little story I wanted to share of my children and Nina. My son Jacob (3 at the time, now he is 4) and I had a dentist appointment in March and I took my daughter Isabella (turned 2 on Feb. 23) with us. They each got a balloon and I warned them to be careful or the balloon would fly away. Sure enough as we walk to the car Jacob's balloon flies away (because he was helping Bella with hers). I thought he would be upset. Instead he turned to me and said, "It's ok mommy. The balloon is going up to Heaven for Nina." Nina is so loved, even by children who never got the chance to meet her.

    Nina has changed all of our lives. Thank you for sharing this journey with all of us. May God bless you and your family. And if there is anything we can do for you, please let us know.

    With love,
    Elizabeth & the Costa Family

  11. Rosy- you are truly an inspiration. Thank you for posting this final journal entry. I have followed your posts and just want to say how amazing and courageous you are to share your story. I think of Nina often and how she has touched so many lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. God Bless you and all your family! dalina

  12. Oh Rosy!

    Nina's Legacy will never be forgotten!

    I too, like so many others, have the picture of Nina and Teddy up on my fridge, and also one at my work. It's a constant reminder to me just how precious life is.

    Your journey has transformed me in so many ways. I, like you, am grateful for all the BS as well as all the hugs and kisses, and all the snotty retorts (as you call them). I try to embrace each day, to be the best person, mother, human I can be.

    Nina and your family has transformed every single person that has ever known you. You have had such a major impact on so many lives.

    I pray to Nina all the time. I often find myself talking to her, I know it sounds crazy, but she has such a sunny spirit, filled with joy and silliness. Her smiling face seems to brighten my day!

    I think of you often, and I'm relieved to see your final post. Now that school has started and we're slowly getting back into the routine of things, maybe we can get Teddy over for that playdate we've always talked about. Ashton would love to hang out with his ol' buddy!

    Talk with you soon!
    Much LOVE,

  13. Rosy - I check your blog often so wanting to know how you and your sweet family are doing. Your life continues to inspire and encourage me. Your sweet Nina has taught us all so much. Thank you for sharing her with us. Still Praying.

  14. Rosy,

    Not sure that you check what all of us post, but i was so happy to see you have posted! Sad that it sounds like you might not post again. You are a remarkable young lady with so much talent in your writing, your strength and your love. My prayers have been with you, I often think of your Nina, and how much she has touched so many life's. I hope you keep your blog going, or start a new one, about you. Your encourage so many with your wonderful words. May God be with you and look after you and your family.

    with love, Anna Marie Bettencourt

  15. Your Nina has changed my life and made me feel closer to our Lord. Your strength and outlook on life has changed my me, my life and my parenting. I sit here with tears welling up because I feel so sad that it couldn't have been different for you, and I hope so much that your life, and that of your family will continue to grow in strength and love and every other wonderful way. Nina really did reach thousands of us, and I feel it was meant to be that I would find this blog. I am forever changed now. I am a better mum, a better wife, a better friend and I feel closer to God after losing my path with him. You've made me a better mum just by taking note of your techniques as my daughter is on the autistic spectrum. I'm grateful. I am truly grateful. Nina has made miracles happen, all because she was Nina :) Much love to all of you. God bless you xxx

  16. Rosy,
    You have walked the road of suffering with strength and beauty. It has been a privilege to "peek" into your life. I have cried with you and laughed with you. God has great things in store for you and your family. I believe he will bring beauty from the darkest of ashes. I will be praying the Lord multiplies his goodness 100-fold in your great loss. I am looking forward to meeting your angel one day! God is bigger than everything; I hope your heart will be able to rest in that perfect fact.
    Your sister,

  17. Thank you, Rosy, for sharing your love and your precious Nina. Your writing is beautiful, and I want you to know you are in my prayers every single day

  18. Rosy, I have been thinking about and praying for your family. Nina taught us all how to live and she is such a blessing. Still thinking of you. Thanks for posting.


  19. Thank you so much for sharing this final entry with us. I think of your family and Nina often and offer up prayers each time. I'm so glad to hear that Teddy is doing so well and will continue to pray that God will lead you and your family along this path of healing and rebuilding.

  20. If my son only knew what a changed (more loving, carefree and grateful) mom he has he would thank God for your Nina. Merry Christmas, you're prayed for often.

  21. was happy to finally see this and read it today .... I think of you often Rosy and Teddy and Nina everytime I see that magnet on my fridge. XO

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  23. Thinking of you always...
    Stephanie Garibay Fawcett

  24. Sending you so much love today--your little honey girl continues to touch so many lives. Special prayers for your family on this day and always...

  25. Never Forgotten, Always Remembered, Forever an Angel...

    Literally not a day goes by that I do not think about your precious Nina and continue to pray for all of you~! Nina changed my life... .your strength and your insight into mothering and loving every ounce of her and every thing that made up your precious miracle of a daughter has forever moved me.

    My thoughts and prayers for Nina and your family will forever remain....

    Sending you love today and always!

  26. Thinking of Nina always. Sending love xoxoxo.

  27. You are such an amazing woman... I don't know how you do it and I hope to be half as brave as you are some day.

    You and your family are in my thoughts.