I’m a day late posting for Illuminate week 3 but my family and I were gone for the Thanksgiving holiday and I didn’t get home until today. We went to our cabin in Michigan and spent 4 days there. It’s always nice to get away and spend time there.
This week’s assignment is about perspective-in our own lives and through our eyes. The photography part was about taking 100 steps and composing an image and the writing topic is about what we are grateful for.
I’d like to share my stepping journey first. I actually did all my pictures in one day since I spent the rest of my time enjoying my family for the holiday, but I did enjoy my time out alone snapping pictures. I took all of the pictures in the area around our cabin in Michigan but had different starting and ending points. I also edited all the photos in the same way with a more vintage feel because I just liked how it looked compared to the other way I edited the photos (with more softness and brightness, which was neat too but I favored the other-maybe it was a rustic cabin thing! lol).
I think you tend to appreciate the beauty in things more when you slow down and take a look around you. This assignment gave me the opportunity to do that. So often life is busy and I’m rushing around trying to get things done. You can miss so much if you just don’t stop and take in the moment. I think sometimes you have to make a conscious effort to do that because it can be so easy to say “oh, I’ll do it later” or “there’ll always be time for that”. Nobody knows how much time that they have so you have to make the most of it while you can. Cherish the moment while it is still here.
Our lives changed forever on December 15, 2008. Before that day I don’t think I really appreciated what a miracle it is to have a healthy baby. I knew things went wrong but those things happened to other people, not me. I never wanted my daughter to have anencephaly and I sure as heck never wanted her to die. However, I am so grateful that Carleigh is my daughter and if the only way to have her was to have her die then I accept it fully. I would rather have known her this way than to never have known her at all.
One of the things I am so grateful for is knowing ahead of time that she wasn’t going to live. This gave us time to prepare for what we wanted as far as her birth and her funeral. It also gave us the opportunity to make memories we would not have made otherwise. I never imagined it to be a blessing but it certainly was. Had her death been sudden, I would not have known what my rights were regarding the death of my child or the keepsakes that I could have to remember by. I would not have known how priceless pictures would come to be and I fear that I would have taken very few.
I am grateful for the many people who loved and supported us along the way. Family and friends stepped up but we also had the support and prayers of complete strangers. So many followed our journey and offered kind words and sympathy. I’m sure many who followed then do not follow now but I am grateful for every person who has gotten a glimpse of my daughter through my own words and pictures. I like to think a little part of her remains with every person whose life she has touched.
I could go on and on about the little things I am grateful for about our journey and about our daughter. (But I think if I did that this post would never get published!) The fact is I have become more grateful because of her. She opened my eyes as if I was blind before she came. Having your life changed dramatically hasn’t always been easy. Grief is now a chain I will carry all of my life, but I thank God that He helps me carry the chains. Without Him I would have grown weary very quickly but He has given me the strength to carry on without my baby girl. He has shown me that life without my daughter is still a life worth living. He has given me precious gifts to take care of and I believe I see their sister through them.
I’ll always be grateful for this road I have traveled. Of course, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had my “this is so unfair!” moments because I certainly have. (I’m sure I still have some more of them up my sleeve too.) At the end of the day though, I am glad she was a part of some of the steps of my life. Those are some of the most cherished moments I will ever have had the privilege to experience.