Welcoming the New Year with an open heart

2016 will forever be the year that changed our lives. I have mixed emotions as we move into 2017, and am clinging onto the best pieces of 2016 for as long as I possibly can. The first seven months of 2016 could have been the happiest of my life. We found out we were pregnant with our second little boy in January. Found our first home in March that we purchased with all intentions of raising our “two under two” and beyond. Work was very productive and brought new opportunities and growth into a company, and team, that I am very lucky to be a part of.  On May 27 we welcomed Tobias Graham “Toby” into our family and are hearts overflowed with love. My delivery was much smoother than the first time around, and the recovery was even better. Healing from a c-section is definitely hard, but I was amazed at how much quicker my body went into recovery mode and I was able to rest easier and enjoy the first few weeks. Dan was done with school for the summer and would spend the next 11 weeks at home with me and both the boys. We moved into our house 1 week after Toby was born. It was nice to be in a place that finally felt like home. Where our family of four fit so well and into such a nice neighborhood. We spent the next two months doing things together as a family – going to the park in the evenings, taking walks in the neighborhood, going to the zoo, checking out the community pool. All together. It was the best summer we would ever have. Summer came to a close the second week of August as I went back to work full time and Dan went back into the classroom to prepare for the 2016-2017 school year. 

Wednesday, August 24, brought our world to a stop. Our beautiful baby boy, Toby, was ripped from our arms with no chance to say goodbye or no way to possibly prepare for the phenomenal shift that our lives would take. 

The last 18 weeks have been overwhelmingly dark, sad, lonely and empty. We have gone to hell, and it feels like we are only beginning to stand, before we start our climb to higher ground. More days have been consumed with anger and sorrow, than joy, but I have tried to hold onto the joyful moments for as long as I possibly can before hitting another landmine or falling back to my knees. 

There are many things, moments, situations that trigger enormous pain and cause my mind to shut down. Ones that a month ago did have this effect. This is what has been so hard. There is no way to prepare. Safeguard. Circumvent. I honestly never know. I feel as though I’m getting better at surrendering to these minutes, hours, days, and letting the grief take over. But each time hurts beyond belief. 

Som people have asked the past few weeks “are you ready for 2016 to be over?” My answer is “I don’t know.” 2016 holds my most beautiful memories of being a mother of two amazing boys and being able to hold them both in my arms and kiss them both goodnight. 2017 will surely have memories and milestones, but they will need to be ones where we find new ways to honor Toby and begin to heal. 2017 will also have months and days that we have to conquer that will hold memories from 2016 where we celebrated and prepared to welcome Toby to our family. Those are the times that, when I think ahead, scare me. 

A dear person in my life said something to me a few weeks ago when I was having a horrible day, “Kate, you and Dan have been through the absolute worst. There is nothing that can happen – that you can do or say, or that someone could say to you or about you guys, that could really be that important or worth the time of worrying about it. Nothing can be worse.” 

I’m going to take that statement and try to reflect on that and keep it center as we move into 2017. My focus will be on Lucas, Toby & Dan. Making sure we are OK and anything we do, we do together. Learning to say “no” to things because they are not right for me to take on right now or not what’s best for our family. Learning to focus on my relationship with my husband and letting our love continue to strengthen as it has through these last four months of tragedy. Working on our mission and vision for The Little Fox | Toby’s Foundation to honor our sweet angel. Trying to write daily, and to pull in pieces of the joy that we experience, so we can remember those as the years go by. Get back to reading frequently. I have a pile of books and pieces that have been given to us that I would love to get through. 

No doubt, 2017 will hold as much emotion and sorrow as the past few months have. My hope is that the prayers that we continue to send to Heaven each day, will reach the ears of God and the Blessed Mother and we will find ways to have more moments of peace and more ways to smile as we reflect on the number of memories that we have as a “family of four” from 2016. 

Wishing you all a very blessed and joyful 2017. ♥

Instagram #bestnine2016 – all our joy and heartache in one photo 

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