my second year without you…

My second year without you I missed you.

I missed your voice.  I missed talking to you every single day and I missed seeing you, hugging you, hearing you, and physically loving you.  I missed seeing your face when I told you good news and I missed my home base.  I missed my center.  My moral compass. I missed you.  I miss you.  Every single second I miss you.

My second year without you I cried.  

I cried a lot.  I cried unexpectedly, I cried at the smallest things, and I cried at the most inconvenient times.  I cried thinking about how you should be here.  I cried thinking about how much my girls are missing out not having you.  I cried thinking about how much we are missing out.  How much I’m missing out.

My second year without you I felt cheated. 

I felt cheated that I didn’t have you for Father’s Day.  I felt cheated that I didn’t have you to call when I couldn’t do something at our house.  I felt cheated that I didn’t have my walking buddy in Longboat.  I felt cheated that instead of seeing you constantly, I was desperately searching for signs or symbols that you were with me.

My second year without you I worried.

When I was having an okay day, I was worried no one else was.  I was worried that I couldn’t keep it all together for myself or anyone else.  I worried that you would be disappointed in me that I wasn’t stronger.

My second year without you I did things to make you proud.

You shared a strong passion and love for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and a true appreciation for the team that saved Bea’s life.  I dedicated my time in many ways because you told me that no matter how much we ever do for CCHMC, it would never be enough for what we’ve received.  You were right.

My second year without you I talked to you.

Every night before bed, Bea and I talked to you.  She told you about her day and always thanked you for keeping her so healthy.  Jordan added your door to a special tree at the new house where the girls talked to you and left you little things.  You’ve been leaving a lot of ring pops lately and they’ve loved them.

My second year without you I lived what you taught me.

I listened to my conscience.

I developed strong character.

I was courageous.

My second year without you I survived.

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#always8s

The term #always8s came up right after my Dad passed away.  Before any boys entered the picture at the Kelly house, it was always my sisters, parents and me – the original Fives.  We talked a lot about the 5’s and how if any of us ever got married that we would still have to do stuff just the 5 of us – we had such a special bond.

Of course, as we got married, we realized that the addition of each boy made our family better and stronger – we talked about the Sevens A LOT before my younger sister got married and once Zack joined our family – the Eights were born.

Of course, going to Longboat Key was a great break from the day to day but even this being our 3rd time going without Dad, it still felt like something major was missing.

Everyone had their own thing with him down there – your one on one time where you could just be together and talk openly and honestly about whatever was going on.  It was the perfect time to reconnect.  My time with Dad was walking in the mornings.  We are both early birds so, naturally, we always were up and ready to go at 630am.  My earliest memories as a child down in Longboat were walking the beach in the morning with my Dad.  And what is so hard about being down there is that I don’t have my walking buddy.

As much as I didn’t want to continue walking without him, nothing could keep me asleep past 7am so up I went and headed down to the beach each morning on vacation.

Sometimes I was joined by Bea, or my sister, or my Mom….but mostly it was just me, the sound of the waves, and my Dad.  I’d talk to him like I normally do on my drives to work each morning but on the last day I sat on the beach and just looked into the ocean and could’t stop crying.  I was upset, and sad, and angry, and tired of it all and when I looked up, a small little rainbow was peeking through the clouds that morning.  As soon as I stopped crying it went away.

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I am a firm believer in signs and I had another experience with this on the day we closed on our new house.  I was driving to the closing and was missing my Dad and this song came on that I had never heard before.  It was called “My Little Girl” and the lyrics were…

You’ve grown up now
And you’ve packed your bags
You’re leaving home as I

Stand here so speechless
Cause you’re so beautiful
As you live your dreams
And I want you to know
You will always be

My little girl
My little, my little girl
This is your world
So go explore now

For the full song lyrics – click HERE.

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3rd LIVERversary

Hi!

I am recovering from being out of town for what felt like forever but just had to get a post out there today about our giant milestone.

On Saturday, 7/7, we celebrated Bea’s 3rd LIVERversary.

Even typing that has me welling up – HOW has it already been 3 years since that day?!

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I haven’t given an update on Bea’s health recently and it’s really because she has been doing so well – there hasn’t been much to report.  Her EBV has been low (fingers crossed), we weaned her off of the medication that was helping to keep it low and it remains low.  She is still taking her immunosuppressants and because of dosage is low, we have been lenient about her pool activity.

She has a big appointment on Friday – lab work, meeting with Dr Campbell and an ultrasound to look at her liver.  We are really hoping things look good inside because the view from outside is amazing.

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Thank you all so much for helping us reach this incredible milestone.  It is truly because of all the thoughts, prayers, and good vibes that Bea is a THRIVING three and a half year old who is now taller than most of her peers.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look at her and appreciate the miracle that we have living in our home and I am becoming more appreciative that while we are handling her care here, Dad is handling her care up there.

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#BEAstrong

Hillary