Grief; the cyclical calendar year

Grief is not contained within the past. Particularly with the loss of children, grief develops into our future; into their lost present and future existence. Therefore, one can not “get over” the continued absence of love and presence. Love and grief are intertwined. My love for her grows immensely as years go by. My grief also evolves.

“Time heals all wounds” is simply a platitude. For some, time does offer healing benefits, but for myself and perhaps other grieving parents, the obvious and absent stages of growth and development are increasingly painful.

January is difficult. It is the month “before”. It contains the preparation and anxiety for the upcoming all-consuming month of vivid memories surrounding her anniversary. It is a new year with fresh and exciting new goals and opportunities for many people. For me, it is the perspective of a different year with the same longing and heartache. A continuing cycle of months of grieving, just with new numbers organized into the four-digit code.
February is suffocating. It can’t be avoided or bypassed. It can’t be fast-forwarded or ignored. It is a farther distance from the initial day and year of her death but it can feel like it just happened. The elation of her birth became overshadowed by the tragic shock of her passing soon after.
March is depressing because as hard as February was, February is over. The general timeframe of publicly acknowledged annual grieving and mentioning of her name is over. In a matter of days, it’s back to the dreaded deafening quietness of the everyday life that continues on for the surrounding world.
April is lonely. She was originally supposed to share a birthday with me and make the month extraordinarily celebratory. It feels wrong to truly celebrate without her.
May is when nature starts to appear to grow and summer is around the corner. May and spring bring reminders that she’s not growing with us. She won’t be a part of fun-filled summers.
June and July are summer months. Typically associated with lots of family fun time and school not being in session. She is a part of our family and where we appear to be three, we should actually be four. The summer feels lacking. Something is always missing. Someone is always missing.
August. Bittersweet. On the 7th in the year 2012, I found out that we were expecting her. It was one of the most blissful days of my existence. The day that we truly first consciously co-existed together. In a similar way to February, August reminds me of the duality of feeling most contented and simultaneously devastated.
September is filled with longing. It’s a back-to-school month and I am left to only imagine what that would have entailed for her school years. No school pictures, no back-to-school shopping, no one to learn about who she would become and share her progress with us. The mystery of what academic subjects and extra-curricular activities she would prefer and with which she might excel.
October is not the same without both of my children being dressed up for Halloween as a family. Without having my little girl to dress up as I had always hoped. It is disappointing.
November is a time to be thankful. Thankful that I have her little brother and that she helped gift him to us at that time. It is a beautiful time of year and yet it is lacking in a feeling of completion without her.
December. Continuing the transition into the holiday season. It’s more depressing than not. Another year is ending without my little girl. Another year will soon begin without her and that will continue to be the heartbreaking reality.
The cycle will continue. Just as sure as I am her mother, I am married to the grief of her loss. In sickness and in health. ‘Till death do us (both) part.

She would be 3 years old

I’m forever thinking She would be or She would have been. I go to sleep at night and for a brief moment or minute in the middle of the night or in the morning, She could be. Until awareness and alertness settle into those initial waking moments, she could be there.

Years can go by and yet time maintains a sense of illusion. Something is said by someone or perhaps nothing at all happens, and I am once again back in that deep dark place of discovery. Both cognizant and disoriented about coexisting timeframes. I welcome the pain that comes with all of it. I don’t shy away from it because it validates her reality.

There is a surreal and stunning little exquisite face who looks back at me during all of these moments these days. I refrained from publicly writing throughout the process of expecting and then having Briella’s little brother, Connor, but here he is now 17 months old.

Connor is, of course, an absolute blessing and joy. He was an anniversary gift to us, by date, from his big sister. I could easily share all of the typical motherhood stories about the challenges and rewards of pregnancy, labor and delivery, and newborn/infant living, but it wouldn’t feel right. They don’t matter to me as much as the profound and simple moments between us. Moments that only exist because his sister is and was, and is no more.

My thoughts are still dark. My dreams are still haunted. My daughter still should be.  I no longer attend certain celebratory events because they reflect her absence. I feel an all-around heaviness that has weighed on me since her death, but it is more prominent in those moments. In moments  when a little girl plays with her little brother. In moments when a beaming mom-to-be is showered with gifts for her upcoming bundle of joy. In moments when a father dances with his daughter. In one 30 second commercial that repeats daily, and causes me to avert my eyes.

I encounter questions and comments like, “One and done?” and “So, he’s your only one?” Then, I mentally quit for the rest of my day. Lost in thoughts about Connor being raised with a ghost sibling. A younger brother with no ability to truly live that life or comprehend its entirety. A sibling in technicality but an only child in reality. It makes me furious and so very heartbroken.

Certain friendships have dissipated or disappeared all together. Events are tainted by my emotional instability. The lines blur between depression and grief. It’s exhausting trying to move forward three days later or three years later. Connor does not fix the broken heart, the empty space. He never will and he never should be expected to do so. Sometimes, a breakdown and continuous sadness do not warrant question of therapy and medication, but rather acknowledgement. My daughter, after all, is gone and she should be three years old this year…

A year later…

My dearest little Briella bean,

I was talking to a friend a while back, who asked me if I had continued writing my blog. When I said that I hadn’t written since last summer, even I wasn’t sure of the reason why so that I could explain it to her. It’s not that I didn’t want to or that I forgot, but something did hold me back.

I have always cared too much what others thought. For most of my life I considered that an advantage, but this is one of those situations where it might actually have been making things worse. Each time that I felt driven to write- to you, for you, about you, for other grieving parents- I refrained. At least publicly anyway. I have bitten my tongue so much that it is scarred.

Sticks and stones have never hurt as much as words. Those words become thoughts in my head that sometimes turn into beliefs that are difficult to disregard. I figured that my awareness of the process from previous experience, might help me handle it better. I was wrong. I figured that if I expected to be hurt, I would hurt less. Not true. The anticipations were not sufficient safeguards.

I tried to write so many times, but I continued to stop myself. Usually, for good reason, I rationalized. Your dad needed me to spend that time with him more, housework should be done, or even that I needed to exercise to drown out the voices in my head. Does that make me crazy? No. Do others think I’m crazy sometimes? Probably. I hear that happens a lot with grieving parents, but people fall “crazy in love” don’t they? If love can make people do crazy things and we see it all of the time in relationships that break-up, then how can I not fall apart after permanently losing my little love? And if I were to express it all, why do I care so much what others would think anyway?

I know that I care in part, because I feel that it reflects on your value. If people judge my grief or your father’s grief, then I believe that they are disrespecting your worth. Every one should understand how precious you are, but in reality, they have no idea. How can I expect that of them? It’s practically impossible. I may have carried you for 7 months, but you have been carrying me ever since.

So, here we are. I’m sorry that I worried so much about how my thoughts and feelings would be accepted, that I kept them mostly to myself and away from you. I still believe that you help me and by helping me, others can be helped.

Time has been an enemy that I can’t run or hide from, and time has brought us here, one year later. I thought that staying up all night would keep the anniversary from happening. I hoped. I have always believed in magic and fairy tales. I go to bed every night wishing that I will wake up to the miracle of having you back. While I am still a realistic person, I am also stubborn. I refuse to let you go. You are one of the greatest parts of me. If I let you go, I will be letting myself go. Isn’t that illogical?

So, this time I am writing directly to you. No editing no censoring for fear of judgement. The anniversary of your birthday was Monday, and later today will be… See, I don’t even want to type it. I have said it, written it, and typed it hundreds of times, but it is all too real right now. You should be here. You should have been celebrating your birthday with us and having a great big party. I see other people having that and I wish that it didn’t make me as angry or sad as it does, but that’s the way it is. I look at everyone else and I just see you. I see a vision of you as you were, as you should be, and as you someday would be.

I had expectations for our lives a year later. Maybe that was a mistake. Hopes, dreams, and expectations that are out of my hands, are recipes for disaster. If I have learned anything in my lifetime, I should know this quite well. Yet, that’s part of the problem. One part of me acknowledges that there is some rational reasoning behind my thoughts and feelings and the other part knows that my perspective can be biased and exaggerated. I know that people will read this and think that I should focus on the positive things in my life or the inevitable good that will come our way in the future instead of complaining and dwelling. Hell, even I read back my statements and try to counter my own thoughts. Never give up on your dreams, right? Anything is possible. I guess that no one ever discusses the fine print behind those idealistic views. If your dream is being a parent to your child from birth through adulthood, then you might have to settle for something less or pick a different dream. Or, just have another child and poof- your “situation” will be improved. It just has to, right? Things can’t get worse. It just has to get better. That’s what would make every one else feel more comfortable to believe, but I would rather not be disappointed and heartbroken repeatedly.

Oh, but even when you reluctantly create different dreams to keep propelling you forward, you watch those shatter one by one until you finally understand how daunting forever really is. How long must you go on with the knowledge that you can’t make your dreams come true? You can’t bring your child back to life and you may not ever have another one in the way that you hope and put forth effort to create, so rejoice for Plan F. Sorry, but substitute dreams just don’t cut it for me. I have known what I have wanted my entire life and I’ve chased after it. I have been redirected on different paths and I remember being devastated, but I knew that you were still in my future so I learned to accept it all and make the best of what I was given. Ultimately, you were my greatest dream and if I did everything I could to have you be healthy and come in to this world, then the difficult journey to get there would be worthwhile.

Still, we are told that what matters is not what happens to us in life, but the attitude in which we view the situation.  In that case, here I am feeling like a failure. Either I take losing you as some sort of experience that brings about good even when all I feel contradicts that, or I continue on existing without really living because that’s what feels real. I am making choices and I will continue to try to make the “right” ones, but I can’t say that it is truly what I want. I try for the sake of honoring your memory and loving your father, but I have very little personal desire or faith anymore.

I am in awe of the parents I have heard about who have lost several children in very tragic scenarios and who have adopted a philosophy that allows them to accept their situation or remain hopeful of the future. I masquerade as one of these parents from time to time, because I think that is what everyone wants me to do, but I can only handle it in small doses. If I’m being honest with myself, I did not choose to be strong, I do not feel strong, and I do not want to continue to be strong. I do want to help others, but when I realize that this might be our life from now on, I am not okay with that.

So, I did not need to write all of the things that have happened since the last entry or over the past year. Most things have been dealt with, or expressed in some form to some one, but I needed to do this for you. This is the time that we should be giving you gifts and yet, I think you continue to give them to us and to others. I have been trying, baby girl, but I have not been doing so well. As the days go by, I miss you more and the reality of not having you gets stronger.

I used to have a stuffed turtle named, Shelly for obvious reasons. I had joked about coming out of my shell when I was younger and being appropriately named, but until recently I don’t think that I really had the complete picture. I reflect back on the past year of my life and when I lost you, I lost myself too. I go about daily life as if I’m having an out-of-body experience. I’m just watching myself go through the motions without any actual authentic intent. Perhaps the only times I felt present were times spent with your father. Other than that, I feel like an empty shell of who I once was. I can pretend okay and do what is needed of me to get from one day to the next most times, but I honestly feel trapped. Trapped in this lie of my life. It isn’t what I want and yet it is what I feel obligated to uphold.

There was a time recently when I wrote something before, but it is worth repeating. It hit me that it might feel impossible to fully deal with this type of loss because it is compound and complex to a degree that most people can’t possibly understand. That is where I need your help and I know that I have been fortunate to have your incredible dad’s support and that of some wonderful friends and family as well, but it is all just too much sometimes. It’s one thing to endure one loss, but I don’t think that people really comprehend how much more is lost. The profoundness and abundance of what the loss encompasses greatly contributes to the reason that it doesn’t ever go away over time. You don’t just lose your child- a piece of your heart. You lose; normalcy, hope, optimism, faith, your future as you imagined it, your child’s future, the person you were before, relationships, innocence, your dreams, the belief that you have any ability in making your dreams come true, and particularly for us… the guarantee of parenthood in the way that we most desire.

So, I am working on gifts that I can give back to you and give to others in your honor, because you deserve that and so much more. I guess that is what I need to try to focus on for now to get me through. I get the feeling that you have been trying to encourage me in many ways with these efforts, and I am always grateful. More updates on those efforts will be on the way… thank you for listening, Brie and for helping me write. I hate that it has to be this way, but I’m so proud that you are my daughter.

Love you forever

August 7th, 2013

I expect certain dates and anniversaries to be triggers. I guess I was caught off-guard this week, as I realized that everything with Briella came full circle. This was one of the happiest days of my life last year. It was the day that I found out I was pregnant, and I created a little half cake and half pie with a small ball on top, to tell Dan that we were expecting. (It was one of our inside jokes). Thus began our plans and our love for our daughter-to-be, and here we are a year after we incorporated Briella into those dreams. As incredible as the pregnancy was, (until we found out that she had health issues), it all seems like a cruel joke now. I would like to look back on those happy memories with fondness, but it’s tainted by the emptiness and pain that we didn’t foresee as our future. As we consider the possibility of getting pregnant again, there will be no wonderful “firsts”. Even if we will be able to have a healthy child someday, there will still never be a happy first day of bringing our child home, never a happy first Mother’s or Father’s Day, never a happy first one month update, or first birthday, or word, or step…

With regards to what did happen with her, and what could happen again, we have been receiving more information from the geneticist. They didn’t find a mutation on the one gene that they believed to be a marker for the disease she might have had, but they did find a mutation on a different gene. We consented for them to do further research, and now we await our time in the next few weeks, to have our DNA tested and find out what it all means. By September, we should have more information and more guidance to help direct us with these future family planning questions. We have some general information about our risk levels going forward, with what they did and did not find thus far, but more confirmation will give us more confidence to make the best decisions. In the meantime, we continue to wait and wonder. It’s been difficult to maintain hope.

While there is still uncertainty and fear of our future, it means that the loss of Briella is compounded by the loss of parenthood. I completely understand that people who have not been in this position, are not able to imagine what it must be like, but that is the hardest thing for me to deal with right now. It’s a very lonely feeling, even amidst compassionate people. I realize how important it is for me to continue to be open about how I’m feeling, as I encounter difficult situations and conversations, because the awareness of people I interact with can be comforting. It has been demonstrated to me recently, that some people expect me to have “moved past” everything. I’m never sure how to answer common/innocent greetings like, “How are you?”, “Are you having a bad day?”, “Are you having a good summer?”. In all of the years past, my answers would not have required careful thought. Now, I’m questioning if I answer honestly and possibly create awkwardness or discomfort, or do I distort the truth to keep the conversation pleasant? It might bother people to know that I don’t have good days anymore. I just have days when occasionally good things happen. I can’t fathom the summer being any worse than I could have ever imagined, considering I previously thought that it would be spent with Briella. Yet, I will continue to pretend to lead a normal life. I’m just in survival mode now. That’s all I can expect of myself for the time being.

Given that there aren’t really any safe places or interactions, I thought that teaching classes would be my one “safe zone”. I understand that new students might take my classes and be unaware of what happened, but I try to keep the people who know me, informed of what works best. I was recently reminded though, that I can not assume that everyone will understand how I might feel and react to things. I will address it here, so that it hopefully reaches more people, and prevents the likelihood of the situation happening again. I request that my classes be adult only (because it’s not only been a safety and liability issue for classes in general over the years), but I am also very sensitive to certain triggers, and I need to maintain some control over that environment at the very least. I must maintain professionalism, and that becomes extremely difficult if I’m faced with certain situations. I also do not wish to make anyone else uncomfortable either, by addressing concerns or reacting to them. I understand that I am responsible for my reactions in public places when the environment is uncontrolled, but in my classes, I request that people make other accommodations for young children. I would like to be able to continue teaching and enjoying the experience, but I’m not always able to fake it if I’m struggling. For those of who who attend my classes, your help with addressing those concerns will be greatly appreciated.

So, now 5 and a half months later, we are moving towards some new changes. Finally, I found a daytime job that might be a good fit, even if it isn’t the most lucrative. With everything that has happened over the past year, this will be a chance for me to help Dan out and try to get us back on track, so to speak. With everything being uncertain, it will be nice to have something stable. It will be in a related field of experience for me, as well, so that should be fulfilling. I will be working at a Day Hab facility with the ARC of Monroe County, as an Individual Support Specialist for adults with developmental disabilities. I fully expect to have some difficulty adjusting to a full-time work schedule again, but the addition of medication to my therapy, has recently helped me cope a little better. Perhaps the added benefits of being distracted more, and working with people who have a different sense of compassion and understanding, will be better for me as well.

Things were quite hopeless for awhile, so amidst all of the bad news and loss, the recent and upcoming news have the potential to make a significant impact.  We need even that small bit of hope or information now, because nothing is certain and nothing is guaranteed. In order to protect myself, I have to be realistic and cautious about the future outlook. I miss Brie so much and I’m not convinced that I could endure this (or similar) heartbreak again. I’m used to giving up on my dreams, or being redirected to different paths when the things I work hard for, don’t work out as I hope. I have come to terms with most of those losses over the years, but this is different. This is something only Dan and I can know firsthand, and decide how to feel and manage. Patience and support from others helps a great deal though. Thank you ❤

Some help if you would…I’m getting pledges for the movie, “Return To Zero”

Hello everyone,
      I’m typically not comfortable reaching out to ask people for things like this, but since it so close to my heart and doesn’t require anything but a signature on your part, I’m hoping that it isn’t too much to ask. I am part of a group that is trying to break the silence on miscarriages, infant death, stillbirth, and SIDS.  As you will read, this is not a request for a donation, only a pledge to see a movie.   (Our daughter, Briella lived for two days before she passed, but many other parents experience a loss before the birth occurs, or as the child is being born.) This movie specifically refers to a story about Stillbirth. Stillbirth occurs 1 in 160 births in the United States.  There are 26,000 stillbirths a year in the United States, and about 2000 in New York State alone. I won’t even go into all of the statistics of other related infant deaths and miscarriages. It’s heartbreaking to think of all of these innocent lives that were taken too soon, and all of the families who lost them. I will say, however, that it is important to acknowledge these lives that were lost, and not be afraid to talk about this tragic reality.
      Only once had I ever encountered any story that mentioned the death of an infant, before all of this happened to us in February. (Naively, I might have protected myself, by believing that medical advances had come so far as to not allow it to be a possibility. Some causes of death are just still unknown, and require more awareness and research.) That one time that I did experience related content, came a month before our nightmare occurred. Call it a freakish sign, or just a random coincidence, but I was forced to face some of my fears back in February when I first saw a musical that centered around a mother’s loss of her infant. (I was 6 months pregnant in January when we saw the play, and I ended up delivering Briella one month later. I was considered high risk throughout the pregnancy, as she had some issues, but none were said to be fatal.) At the end of the play, the audience learns that the mother developed Bipolar Disorder after her infant child died (of the same condition that we knew Briella had). As you could imagine, I immediately broke down in the theatre. Even as my husband reassured me that it was fictional, I thought back to that experience after Briella passed away, and it made me wonder. In some strange way, I was glad that I saw something that was that difficult to accept, but that was also based on true stories that real people have to live with. I never really accepted that would someday be our story as well, but there was some odd comfort in learning ahead of time that people suffer through it and somehow survive. Perhaps it even prepared me to think about the unthinkable and treasure every moment that I did have with her. I hope that this movie will not only allow the topic to be less taboo, so that grieving parents may find comfort and understanding from the general public, but that it might help some other parents who might someday have this unfortunate fate, as well. In addition, more exposure will lead to more research, and hopefully preventions. (We recently found out that Briella possibly had a rare congenital lung disease. Given that the causes are unknown (aside from possible genes), and it is rare, fatal, and undetectable before birth, we really need all of the research that we can get. Not only for the future of any more children that we might have, but for other children/families as well.
      As quoted from another woman who is seeking pledges to see the movie: “Our Grandson, Oliver, was sadly one of these statistics.  Since he was born still at almost full term on January 25, 2013,  I have tried to become an advocate for more awareness.  Awareness leads to research and research leads to prevention.  The statistics for still births in the United States has not changed in decades. We can make a difference and prevent other families from having to experience this tragedy.  This is what was done with SIDS and the SIDS figures have been lowered 50 %.”
     The upcoming movie, Return to Zero, is based on a true story of a family whose first son was born still, and it stars Minnie Driver.  http://returntozerothemovie.com/  and there is a Facebook page, Return to Zero. This movie will bring greater awareness and help to break the silence.
     The film will be in several prominent film festivals this summer and fall, but the real challenge will be getting movie distributors to feel like they can pick up this film due to the nature of the subject.  For this reason, Return to Zero has organized a campaign of 2,000 volunteers across the country and around the world.  These volunteers, called Local Leaders, are trying to get at least 100 names a piece, and 150,000 names collectively to pledge to see the movie opening weekend.  They feel that they need 100,000 pledges by the end of this week (6/20), and we are currently at 70,000. These pledges will show Hollywood that there is an audience for this movie. In completing the form where requested, please indicate, Shelley Contento Ball, as local leader.  This following link will take you to the pledge site. (*Some people have had problems trying to click the link, so I would suggest copying and pasting it into a new browser window, and that should work*):
        There is no obligation to see the film.  By pledging you  are simply helping us let Hollywood know that there is interest in this film from a wider audience. And while it doesn’t cost you anything to pledge,  your name is GOLD to us in the baby loss community! Support has meant everything to me, in trying to get through each day. (While I’m sure that it will be very painful and difficult for me to watch the movie, it might be part of my healing process, if I know that it can pave the way towards any positive benefits for others down the road. Perhaps, some people might even want to go see the movie together with me when it comes out as well…?)
          If it’s not too much to ask, could you please copy and paste the link, and complete the short form to submit it.  The more we can get the better.  Also, feel free to forward to as many people as you can.  The more names we get and if we can break the silence we together can make a difference so that other families will not have to suffer the tragedy of stillbirth/infant loss.
With so much love and appreciation,
Shelley

Heartbreaking news this week

We have tried to patiently await one of the remaining pieces of the puzzle, to be able to feel as much closure (as is conceivable). We got that call today….the autopsy results. I know that not too many people even know the back story about Briella’s struggle in the NICU, or her issues throughout the pregnancy, but we have most of the answers now. One of my worst fears was confirmed. There is a genetic link, and now we must pursue genetic counseling to hopefully discover where it might have come from, and what it means for getting pregnant again.

It feels like getting my heart re-broken all over again. 😦 Knowing that she never stood a chance to begin with, is disheartening. Knowing that something within me might have contributed to it or might contribute to another child someday, is devastating. She apparently had a rare disease called Congenital Alveolar Dysplasia. (I’ve begun researching it, and with the doctor’s information, I know that there is a fund out there to help raise money for research into this rare disorder.). So many questions, so many emotions, and so much conflict. I have a hard time grieving the loss of Brie in general, let alone not having any children at all, and now I have confirmed fears for possible future pregnancies as well.

To start from the beginning, I was considered high risk after the 20 week ultrasound showed fluid around her heart and intestinal atresia. Still, doctors, family, and friends remained hopeful/positive that it was not fatal. No one could have predicted that when I went into pre-term labor, that we would not even have the chance to further discuss her planned intestinal surgery. (We knew that I was carrying excess fluid, which might cause pre-term labor, but we still believed that at 32 weeks, she could be strong enough to handle the treatments.) It was the most traumatic couple of days of our lives…they could not stabilize her after birth, and they could not figure out why. The first time that they let us see her, they had already done chest compressions. I posted that she had been born, but we were terrified and not quite celebratory yet, because I knew that people would naturally want to provide us hopeful sentiments about all of the success stories with premies….she was very different from the rest, and the doctors could not figure out why. She did not respond to any of the treatments positively, other than for a few hours at a time. All of that dropping and rising of her stats, had already caused oxygen deprivation to her brain and organs. We knew that any outcome, was not going to be an entirely happy one, but we had to reach for hope that she could make it. For anyone who has watched their child die before their very eyes and be helpless to do anything about it, there is nothing that compares. That nightmare haunts me daily. There was nothing we could do, and the doctors did everything that they could. That will forever be impossible for me to accept.

That wound was reopened this week, as it feels like everything just happened yesterday. Some answers are unsettling and some are means to closure, but I’m left completely a mess. I feel like there is an internal raging storm within me, that I can’t do anything to release. We found out that causes of this rare disease are still unknown, and since it isn’t discovered until after birth, it’s extremely frightening. Since there is a genetic link, we might be at risk with future children. (With this disorder, she developmentally appeared to be 32 weeks, but her lungs stopped developing past 20/22 weeks. The intestinal problems appear to be linked as well.) So, I could carry an apparently healthy child to full-term in the future, and then be in an all-to familiar place of horror within days or weeks. It has been hard to think about the pathologists doing what they needed to do to her to try to figure this out, but I know that we needed the answers. Knowing that just about every case of CAD results in death, is tragic and scary.

I miss her desperately, and all I can picture is her sweet little face as she struggled. I needed this information, but I’m in a fragile and empty place right now…I believe that I will be devoting a lot of time to all of the research and information that I can find on this disease, and continuing to try to take the future one day and one step at a time….I’m not gonna lie. I can not fight off the “why her?”s and the “Why us?”s…and my incredible longing for what other people seem to easily be able to have. That’s just the way it is though. That’s where I’m at right now.

Stroll For Strong Golisano Children’s Hospital 6/2/13 Team: For The Love of Briella