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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our Girls

Slowing down enough tonight that I'm really missing CatieBug. It's been so busy lately w/ the elf stuff (update soon -- good stuff) and Christmas preparations and keeping up with Izzy that I haven't been good about taking time to process things. One of the things I've learned in the last 11 months is that I have to have down time to process her loss. Sometimes it's a sad time, sometimes it's good remembering (which is always bittersweet), sometimes it's reading through old journals, sometimes it's looking at pictures... sometimes it's admitting the mistakes I made as her mom (I don't like those nights, but it's impossible to be a perfect mom, so there are always some regrets even when you do your best)... It's the work of grief and it has to be done. Tonight, it's a picture night. I'll include some below.

In some ways, the fact that Catie was ever here seems almost dream like... I hate that... Tre' and I are going to watch last year's Christmas video sometime in the next week or so. I haven't heard that sweet voice in a while, and I've got a hankering to hear it. Tonight's one of those nights that I'm just struck by the unfairness of it all... not that I expect life to be completely fair, but it's just really unfair. I know there is a purpose in it all -- or at least that God is using bad for good, but I just wish there had been a different way. I wish I could do it all over again and soak it up even more. But there is no going back, only moving forward and holding on the hope of a day when my family will be complete.

We miss you sweet girl, especially at Christmas. Last year, you were sick so much, but we still managed to find smiles and laughs and we had so much fun baking cookies and building gingerbread houses. You were my present wrapping side kick -- my master taper and label sticker. I miss your help this year. Iz is enjoying it all, but she's a bit young to help me wrap (you would laugh at what she does with wrapping paper). I could seriously go for a Catie hug and then eskimo, butterfly, daddy, catie, and nik nik kisses!! I'd even take those NikNik kisses from your stinky feet!! ;) I can't imagine what Christmas is like in Heaven... I'm betting it's something though... Hey -- what do you think about these silly elves? Can you believe all that has happened and how many kids are enjoying them like you did? It's nice to have a way to honor you and remember you tangibly this Christmas. I think we've discovered my new favorite project. We're thinking of you, like always, each and every day. Love you sweet girl...

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Grinning after meeting the princesses at Disney

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Laughing w/ Mayor Clayton as he tucks her in at Give Kids the World

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This picture is PURE Catie -- she had rubbed body glitter all in her newly grown hair (like hair gel -- only different) -- she thought is was soooooo funny

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This picture is pure Catie too! This is Christmas morning last year -- can't remember if I've shared it before or not... She's drinking her coffee (black of course) from her new Hello Kitty coffee pot and playing UNO Attack -- her favorite -- for Catie, this was Heaven on Earth

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Izzy continues to grow and learn and make us laugh. She's discovered the wonder of destroying block towers and she thinks it's hilarious; she could do it 50 times and would still laugh the 51st time. She loves to be chased and is so fast when she crawls. She's holding on to our fingers and walking and cruising between furniture. She'll stand for a few seconds on her own, but only if she doesn't realize she's doing it. She's opened her first Christmas presents and loved the paper and ribbons. She's still working on the sleeping through the night bit... it's going to happen one of these days! She really is so much fun... and I never have a problem drifting to sleep when my head hits the pillow after a day of chasing her! It's hard to believe she'll be one soon!!!

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Iz w/ our elf

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Merry Christmas!!

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I LOVE this picture of Izzy!! You can just see the pure joy bubbling up from inside of her!

17 comments:

Tracy said...

You have all been on my mind so much lately. Everytime I see something "princess-sy" I think of Catie and how she would have loved it. I bought my nephew an UNO game last week, and thought about the game we had with her in the hospital on New Year's Eve, and remembered her evil laugh everytime I got "attacked". I also remember that she beat me, the little turkey. :)

Holding you all close in my heart. Give Iz a kiss for me. Hope to see you soon.

Tracy

John & Kelley said...

Grieving with you for a child I knew only through your entries, Jenny. Thank you for taking the time to share with us your very personal letter to Catie. It's hard to believe that she was here last Christmas, enjoying the moments even through her struggles, and then, a few short weeks later, she was crossing over into another life that we don't yet know. As you said, it's all incredibly unfair and wrong and senseless. Nothing can ever make it anything other than that. But also as you said, God is still working through the pain and bringing good. I don't understand God's ways, but I do know the taste of God's goodness, and part of that is Catie's smile and her legacy. Merry Christmas to all of you as you enjoy your lovely, hilarious Izzy and remember your beautiful, wonderful Catie. I hope you know that you are not alone either in your sadness or in your joy.

3bboys said...

My heart breaks for your unimaginable loss. Thank you for sharing your grief. It is amazing to see the faith you have. God Bless you and Tre' this Christmas. Enjoy those videos I am sure it will bring precious memories. Thanks for reminding me to make the most of every moment with my children.

abbie said...

Miss Bug drank COFFEE?! Black?! Ha! That's hysterical! I don't remember hearing that before...and no, you've not shared that photo before. Ha! That kid is something else...she never fails to make me smile from ear to ear. And at the exact same time my eyes well up with tears. Such a precious gift. :)

OK...could Izzy get any cuter?! I don't think so. She looks like a little stinker!

Happy Holidays Jenny and Tre'...I'm praying for your continued strength during this difficult time.

Abbie
DSM, IA

Stephanie Deal said...

The Pictures of Catie are priceless i love the last one of her and her Hello Kitty Coffee Mug. Izzy is precious! I pray that God continues to send love and peace your way during the Christmas season...isn't it great that we remember during this time...Christ came so that one day we can spend eternity with Him and Catie is doing just that.

Anonymous said...

I just love reading your updates - you are such an inspiration - even though I have never met your family. I ordered my daughter an elf and can't wait to start the tradition every year in Catie's memory. We continue to remember your family this Christmas season and every day afterward.

Myra Elder
Ball Ground Georgia

JoBeth said...

Jenny, I was going to call you, but decided to check here first, so now I am crying so that I can't begin to talk. Today during Wheeler's Christmas party at school, you came to my mind, as we went about sharing the many blessings we have that can't be wrapped and set under a tree. I got teary thinking about you and Tre'. Know that I am praying for you many times each day.

brenda said...

Praying for you guys. Know that you are loved in so many places and Catie lives on in lots and lots of memories. Izzy is the cutest and she seems to have a hint of that mischevious personality that Catie did! I know this Christmas will be hard. Praying God would bless you all this holiday season.
Merry Christmas!
Brenda
Valdosta, GA

Leeann said...

Izzy is so, so sweet and cute. She really is a doll baby. I just love her.

Leeann

Anonymous said...

I think about you every day. Especially this time of year and since we got our "Catie Elf", sharing her story with lots of people and so many have ordered. Just b/c a little girl knew how to have fun during the holidays!!! Our elf managed to take all the garland off the tree night before last and had it strown (is that a word?) across the living room. Yesterday she went to school with my daughter and while they were out of the room she left them all a candy cane on their desk with a note on the chalkboard saying, "To all of Tori's friends. Love, Joy". Several of the kids came home yesterday asking their parents to get an elf so many ordered today even though it is so close to Christmas.
I will always remember you and your family in my prayers.
Wendy in Winder, GA

Dana said...

I read all the time but dont' comment too much. However, I wanted to let you know that we are thinking about you, especially so near the holiday! I know Catie is looking down on you, and when you feel something, it's her little arms giving you a hug! Thinking about you and wishing you a Merry Christmas!
Hugs,
Dana Cope

Anonymous said...

Jenny-Thinking of you, Tre', sweet Izzy and Angel Catie. May this Christmas be filled with love and my the bittersweet memories of Catiebug bring smiles to your hearts. Merry Christmas Wilkin's Family. Love, Tracy Neal

Anonymous said...

Apparently, our "Catie Elf", Joy was a Christmas light maker at the North Pole before coming to our house for the holidays. So, last night she strung Christmas lights all over my bedroom (why does she do stuff only in my bedroom), wrote Merry Christmas, Love Joy on the dresser mirror and left her name written in hersey kisses on the dresser. My daughter was ecstatic. She is loving it. Sad to say I am kinda sad that she will be leaving in 2 days. She just might be doing something really fun on Sunday night (someome else's idea, not mine). I think of you and your family all the time. I know the next few days will be hard, but God has you in the palms of his hands.
Wendy in Winder

robinandamelia said...

All the best for the holidays. Catie is always close in thought. Izzy is a little doll, I'm sure she'll bring much joy to the season.

Jennifer said...

Merry Christmas, Jenny, Tre, Catie, and Izzy.

Stehpanie Deal said...

Thinking about you all day today...Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Well, we sent "Joy" our Catie-elf home just like we promised on Christmas Eve night and we have cried every day since then. My daughter wrote her the sweetest note in her notebook that night saying that she would miss her and she really hopes she comes back next year. Then she proceeded to tell her that her mama was being mean to her (b/c I told her it was bedtime so she could hurry and get to sleep so Santa could come). I will always cherish this Christmas. It was a lot of work the few days that "Joy" was here, but so worth it when you see those little faces light up. My niece/nephew are getting a Catie-elf next year from me. My sister-in-law actually heard Catie's story and even though they didn't have an elf this year she went ahead and did some "elf things" while they were asleep and then told them that an elf must have come in the night, did those things, and left. So glad you shared the idea with us and that we could help others thru Catie. Maybe some day we could actually meet. I am wanting to volunteer some at Egleston in the near future (I am a nurse, but I just want to go volunteer, not work). My nurse friend Lily Jenkins works at the Aflac Cancer Center and she is going to help me know where the most help is needed. It is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. I hope ya'll got to enjoy the holidays this year with Izzy. I am very interested to see how the fund raising went from the elves. Let us know as soon as you find out.
Wendy in Winder, GA.