"This will be the best year of our lives."
That's what Bryce told me exactly one year ago just moments after our baby was born. Danika turns 1 today, January 12. I wish her daddy could share this with her. It sounds crazy, but I sent Bryce an e-vite to come to her family birthday party. I received an automated notice in my e-mail today stating that Bryce hadn't RSVP'd, which felt like a kick to the head. All the air was sucked out of the room as I once again realized he is still gone.
The holidays were painful and lonely, yet there were bright moments where I witnessed the goodness in others and saw happiness around me. Every snowstorm brought helpful people armed with shovels, lifting part of my burden with each scoop of snow. One evening I opened the front door to find a front yard full of carolers, bearing a wonderful gift and leaving no names. Dani and I were surrounded with family and friends, loving and caring for us and making sure we forged ahead with new memories. People are GOOD. Thank you all, friends and anonymous angels!
Just as the holidays ended, another wave of tragedy swept through the lives of people I care about. My college roommate and friend succumbed to cancer and died at 33, same age as Bryce. A few days later two of my neighbors were in a tragic car accident. Another young widow now sits a block from my home, preparing for her husband's funeral tomorrow and wondering how she will find the strength to attend. It's really not fair.
Despite the pain of the past several months, Dani and I are healthy and doing well. I am grateful to have this beautiful little girl, this little one year old angel who can stand unsupported for ten whole seconds! Seven teeth, fuzzy blonde hair, chunky legs, and looking more like her daddy every day.
Happy Birthday, little baby. We love you!