Year Two- Still Painful
Where have I been? Well nowhere special really- and everywhere. I haven’t blogged since just before Christmas when I wrote about how crummy a friend grief has made me. But I’ve read loads of blogs and posts from so many other grieving mothers (that sentence sucks doesn’t it). And lots of times, I simply share their words since they are saying, writing, feeling, emoting what I am too. And maybe I don’t always feel the need to inflate the blogosphere with ‘my’ words when another mom’s done such a great job of it. And boy oh boy are there ever some amazing writers out there- writers who when I read their words I want (and even sometimes do) scream YES! Either yes they’ve gotten that point across SO well that I couldn’t possibly write it any better, or YES they have described something that to my mind might have been previously indescribable! Either way, when I share another’s writing I’m mostly saying- read this cause this is where my heart and often my head are at.
Having said ALL of that- I am still here and the need to write still pulls at me. And it is my journey, which is unlike anyone else’s in this world of child death. I’ve stopped using the word loss. I didn’t LOSE my daughter- she died. She died and I will die and you will die and we all die. She died. She wasn’t lost or misplaced. So a definite change on my part- not a baby loss mama- I’m a baby death mama survivor….
We are barreling down 2014 with great gusto it feels like these days. And yet I haven’t let too many peak into the world on child death- Year 2. Guess what? It still is the most painful, the cruelest and the crappiest hand of them all to be dealt in the great card game of life. It hurts more, and it still steals your breath and makes you nauseous. 17 months in and the tears are always threatening- more the gut wrenching ache hasn’t lessened and the heartache is ever persistent. That’s nothing new and I don’t suppose it’s going to change anytime soon. That’s just the reality. What I have gotten much better at saying is I’m ok. Cause I’m basically not- not ever. I mean, I’m ok in the fact that I’m living, breathing, grieving, loving, and surviving. But I’m not ok. I’m still not ok that she died. I’m not ok that this is my life. I’m not ok. I’m not ok each day I walk into school and see other little girls and everyone’s babies are growing up and mine is literally in the ground. I’m not ok that I will never throw B a birthday that I will never order a cake FOR her that SHE will eat. I’m simply not at the point I’m ok with any of it. And I’m totally OK with that. But what I am good at is telling you I’m ok.
I am also not OK with how the world is seemingly content to mess (I’m more thinking of a bad word to use- a bad word that starts with the letter F) with me over getting pregnant again. Three early miscarriages in 2013- a battery of tests and procedures, more vials of blood collected than I can even count, countless OPKs and charts and literally hundreds of dollars’ worth of home pregnancy tests to all be told that “we simply don’t know why you can’t stay pregnant.” I’ve never encountered this problem before and I’m all fixed inside (that’s been triple check by the by) - so just nothing. No answers and no solutions, and right now, no rainbow baby in site. I flipping hate the word ‘rainbow baby’ right now. I never pictured this- this was not the narrative I constructed even after Beth died. But I can honestly tell you- I didn’t think I could survive without having another baby. 17 months later I know I can. I know I will. I mean, if anything I know that we just don’t always get the fairy tale, the happy ending, and the rainbow after the f’ing storm. Some of us just don’t get that. I’m beginning to realize that that may be me. So what’s a grieving mom to do?
Well I’ve decided to become a skinny bitch again! That was sarcasm people- I can be a bitch without being skinny (again- dry humor). Anyhoo- I’ve been focusing on losing weight and that’s been going well. Weigh in day again tomorrow and I’m hoping to be down another pound or two. I’m focused like always on Sam and Will and now Mr. Ripley Doo (who is a large, loveable, completely insane Chocolate Lab that I am ever so grateful is part of our life). Life just marches on- day in and day out. That’s the reality and the harshness of this world. You may want time to stand still but it doesn’t- it can’t and it won’t not for any reason or anyone. Baby death, child death is just seems like something you survive for the first while. You literally just hold on, white knuckled, hurtling through this unknown world, this mysterious other life and other side of the fence that you never knew existed until you became a member of the shittiest club on earth. 17 months in. Year two. In April it will be our 2nd Easter without B. In August it will be 2 years since she died. In October it will be her third birthday and once again, another Christmas will come without her in it. It is a hard and heart wrenching experience to wake up and go to sleep every night without your child being a physical presence in your life anymore. It’s hard to mark days and weeks off on the calendar, knowing that each month brings a new challenge, a new holiday or a special time. So that’s the update for now- still here. Still in pain. Still OK not being OK.
One the Eve of One Year
One lovely Sunday evening, late in summer, on a cool August night, after a hot sunny day, my life, the life I knew, ceased to exist. In a series of moments that would take place over the course of the next 12 hrs, I would lose the life I loved, along with the child, the daughter I had grown inside me. And in those first few shocking, heart stopping moments, I thought my life was over. It wasn't, it isnt, but it has been a hard fought road to sit here and type one year later.
I remember this Sunday last year. I remember everything with crystal clear clarity. I guess that answers my question on whether I would forget it. Becuase I haven't. And I won't. And I can't. And really, deep down, I choose not too. Because such a defining moment, even a horrible defining moment, should never be forgotten. But I rarely allow the flashbacks to take me wherever they want, at will and on a whim. Sure they come, unannounced and unwelcome from time to time. But most times, I can control or stop the monontonous loop of watching my child die, watching the day and night unfold, and asking the questions- why, how, is this real?
I've been told that if you want, as a parent to a dead child, you can choose to keep parenting that child, that you can choose to still carry on that relationship and bring it with you as you move forward. I didn't really understand what that meant. I thought at most it meant safe guarding your child's memory (which I jealously and always will). But I think I am sort of starting to understand what it means, maybe not fully. I understand that just because Bethany is physically dead doesn't mean my relationship with her ends. It doesn't mean she still doesn't exist in my day to day life- because she does and she always will. I'm still figuring this out, but I love looking and even not looking for the signs of her, her presense and her love. Because I know it is all around me and that brings me peace and a soft smile to my face many times during the day.
But tonight it all just hurts. It is all raw and vicious and the pain is horrendous. The panic attacks, and vomit inducing, heart pounding flashbacks are oh so real, and oh so vivid and the images that are seared into my brain won't leave. I won't let them leave. And I think back to those moments, with crystal clear reality- those moments when I knew my baby was dying, the moment her heart stopped, the moment I knew she was gone. I think back to the moment Will walked into a hospital room and saw her. I think back to holding her for the last time. I think how can this possibly be MY life??? How is this real? How is this the life I was suppose to live? How am I THAT mom?
I remember leaving the hospital. The sun was bright, and hot and it hurt my eyes. I remember being so numb thinking I can't possibly be leaving without her. Who will take care of her? She needs me- she's never been away from me for a night, how could she be without me now. Maybe more imporantly, how could I be without her? My entire life without her? It seems like an impossible task. Thank god your body knows how to breathe on it's own, or I don't think a single greiving parent would make it past that first day. That first shocking, horrible, soul changing day.
Tonight I am just in pain. Deep, agonizing, raw, pain. I miss my child. I miss her with every single fibre of my being. I miss her with each breath and with each hearbeat. I am at a loss for how this is our life, her life, my story. I mean, who has pictures of themselves holding their dead child? This just wasn't how my life was suppose to go. It's not how her life was suppose to be.
I am a forever bereaved parent and I have come to understand, or perhaps, learn some valuable lessons in the past few weeks. One is that I constantly live on the edge and am subsequently defined by the edge. I am always on the edge- the edge of sorrow, the edge of happiness, the edge of peace, the edge of the savageness of this world, the edge of immense soul crushing sadness, the edge of glory and grace. I live in a world that shift s like quicksand underneath my feet. In moments I can feel so blessed, so grateful before I am spun, cruelly and without care into a tidal wave of grief so huge that it threatens to consume all possibility of light and joy and happiness in my life.
I am always aware of how much I have lost- at the same time I am aware how much I still have. I still have so many ‘first world’ problems. I can pay all my bills, I am healthy. I have a roof over my head and I have food on my table at night. I am able to afford luxuries some people can’t even dream about for they are too busy just trying to survive. Yet, I am not like you. I live on the edge of having problems that are really miniscule in scale and size to some many others, but yet. My life, my hardships, my struggles are more than yours. Here’s my secret- my burden will always be greater than yours. It just will. You may come to a point in your life where you too will bear a great burden, but unless it is the death of a child, mine wins. I don’t want to win. But I do. So burdens about marriages, money, love, jobs, homes, toys, relationships, even sickness- I am sorry but you lose. You see you have your entire life to fix your burdens, to work on your burdens, to choose to unburden yourself. My burden will be with me forever. That’s not to say I wouldn’t choose her. I would choose Bethany every, single day. I would choose the last nine and half months of my life, as heartbreaking as that sounds, because I will always choose love. I will always choose love for me, for her, for Sam, for Will. I will always choose to try for another baby, for my rainbow, for another chance, even though each month it doesn’t happen threatens to drown me in waves of despair and self loathing. I will always choose my life because I feel my life must not just count for me now, but for her too. But, you see, my secret is that your burdens are not mine. And you don’t want my burden.
I’ve come to completely accept a new reality- the reality that the concept of closure does not exist and those that want us to seek, to find, to accept closure really have no clue what they are asking. Closure is a horrid concept, made up by an industry bent on profiting from death, and then at the same time move the grieving away from the death of their loved one and back into the world of the joyful and living. I am living. But I am living with a piece of me missing. As long as I live there will be no closure to her death. I am completely, 100% ok with that. How on earth could I possibly be anything BUT ok with that idea? And yet, I have been told since she died I would have to ‘seek’ closure. Is this silly concept around the corner? Can I just wake up one day and be ok with what happened? How does a mother ever accept her child’s death? The answer is- she doesn’t. And finally I found someone telling me that not only was I ok to not have to seek ‘closure’ but that it is completely unnatural to do so. I will never stop loving Beth, I will never stop thinking about her, I will never stop wishing for her to be here- why on earth would I ever stop mourning her death?
Living on the edge of grief, living with grief, living a life without your child, you become a circus act. You are constantly learning the balancing act of acting ‘normal’, who you can count on, when to have that breakdown, what triggers another meltdown. You are always aware of how different you now are. I am constantly amazed at how many people this could have happened to. In an instant your life can change. I am hyper aware of death and dying children. I follow their stories in the news or on facebook and when a child like that wins I am overcome with joy, and when they lose I am overcome with sadness. I don’t think anyone who hasn’t walked this road really understands how quickly your life can just change in a single instance. You never think it will be you and your family, your child. And then suddenly it is. And nothing that has happened in your life could ever prepare you for it. It is so unnatural to have to bury your child and it rips at the very fabric of our existence to be here without them. Sometimes living on the edge of sorrow, the edge of such overwhelming emotions, can separate me from life and reality and other times I feel I connect with life more deeply than I ever have before.
I know that our daughter is deeply missed by so many, but especially by her immediate family. I know that lately I have found it an almost physical presence by her not being here. Last summer was so amazing and filled with so many memories of us just doing silly family things. I find myself drifting back to her dresses and her hats and her soft skin. I miss everything about her, but I especially miss who she would be today, who she should have been tomorrow and all the tomorrows after that. And knowing that I now have permission to not have to find 'closure' I can find a little peace, and move back from the edge a little bit, because I know that I am ok, I am normal, and I am a grieving mother.
With a week like mine, can you blame me?
I've head this often from other grieving parents- eventually it all becomes too much for all those other people- the ones who haven't experienced the death of a child. Eventually they just get sick and tired of hearing how sad you are, how shattered you are. They don't want to know how parents who lose children often don't sleep for years. How our concentration is scattered, or how we lack the ablitiy to commit to tasks that once seemed so easy. You see, as time moves farther from the death of your child, you are suppose to get 'better.' And when you don't, when you don't just smile, or put the happy mask on, when you rip that mask off and bear your grief for all to see, when you are REAL, and RAW and honest, well you know what happens? People don't like that. People don't want to be in that world. People WANT to pretend that you are better- or at least pretend that you are getting better. What a joke. Seriously. Here is the truth- you don't ever 'get better.' you don't ever fully 'recover.' You learn to live with the staggering, gut wrenching pain. Every. Single. Day. If you are like me, you seek out meaning, you seek out other grieving parents. You love deeper, but you grieve so much. You are so heartbroken. You know that this is survivable but you somehow wonder each day... how is this survivable? How do you face a lifetime of such pain? If you haven't been in these shoes, you simply cannot know this burden. You cannot. So. Here is my rant. DO NOT ever judge me for ripping off my mask on occassion and showing you what I am feeling. Maybe I'm being a bitch about a special event. But you don't know how that event may be ripping me to pieces. DO NOT ever judge me on loving my family more because I have lost my daughter and DO NOT ever tell me to be thankful. You cannot be allowed to say those words to me because you are tucking your children safe into bed tonight. Anger, despair, pain- these are all factors and part of the grief prcess. To deny them, to get on your self rightouse pedestal and attempt to tell a parent who is grieving what she should or shouldn't do- you don't get to do that. Most days I look for the hope- the signs, the light at the end of the tunnel. But trust me, TRUST me when I say, it is a very long tunnel and the light is sometimes very dim.
Tomorrow is my birthday. I can find very little joy or happiness in such a day. How could I possibily be expected to? Beth got no birthdays. I get 33. IT will never be fair. IN time, with work, with hope, with help, I know that my birthday will soften perhaps. Tonight, tomorrow it brings me nothing but pain. Do not judge that. Just accept that fact. Acknowledge it and choose to either support me or don't. My family has. We are not doing any celebrating tomorrow. They love and respect me enough to give me what I have asked for. I think others could at least do the same.
Wednesdsay, Beth would be 18 months old. What a milestone. And she isn't here for it. This breaks my heart in so many ways, I can't even describe them all to you.
Saturday, Beth will have been dead for 8 months. Eight months. Imagine if you can, living with your heart bleeding and shattered for 8 months.
My heart is so heavy without having to defend myself to others. I really shouldn't have to. I am surviving, the best I can. I think I am doing pretty good. I have tried to inspire and reach out to others. I have tried to offer hope and healing. But tonight, tonight I just feel pain. And I shouldn't have to apologize for that. IN fact, I won't. I miss my baby so much right now, I'm so raw and I feel so broken. I will not apologize for loving her that much, for missing her that much.
The picture I have posted is one of the last ones I have of us together. We are at the hospital holding our baby after she has died. It is suppose to be this painful, because I love her that much. I'm clutching her, looking at her, and I can't beleive she is gone. I can't believe my entire life has changed. I can't believe she will never open her eyes, she will never smile at me again, she will never kiss me. I must leave her in the hospital, and the next time I see my baby she will be at the funeral home. These are events that no parents should ever have to go through for their child. We did. We are surviving. Don't judge how we are surviving.
Have you ever had a time where you stop for a moment in your life and you wonder, "who's life am I living?" Or maybe something more along the lines of "How did this become my life?" I frequently have such moments- and have since that fateful morning seven months ago. I remember standing at the foot of the bed, nurses and doctors, surrounding my baby. I remember all these tubes and lines in her. I remember her coding the first time. I remember thinking- who's life is this? How can this POSSIBLY be happening to me and to her, right now? I wanted to walk out of that hospital room, with my baby, bundled up and go back. I remember the horror of watching her die. I remember watching the faces of the nurses and doctors. I wanted a rewind button, I wanted a do-over, I wanted to wake up. Seven months in, and there is no rewind button. And I still find myself in those 'dreamy' moments of I am a mother to a angel- or on my bad days, I am a mother to a dead child.
To be perfectly honest, I still have lots of surreal moments in my life. I have lots of guilt, lots of anxiety, lots of shame and lots of fear. I don't know what path my life is on. I try so desperately to open myself to love, healing, kindess. I try. But I fail at this lots. I have moments where I want everyone to know my pain. And that's a horrible thought. But it seems grossly unfair that I am the one going through this. I have so much pain, so much hurt. My heart has literally shattered and I wonder- when, how long, if ever does this leave a mother who's child is now gone.
I know logically I cannot protect all those I love. I know that life is unfair and unpredictable. I try so hard to not be 'that mom' to my son. You know her- the nut. I try to be the mom who is not a nut job for her 4 year old. I mean, he shouldn't live a life of fear just because I am. I don't know, maybe somedays I suceed better than others. Time will tell.
I am so pissed and so tired of bringing flowers to my baby. The other day I thought "Fuck flowers. I am so fucking sick of flowers. FUCK YOU FLOWERS. What do you do FLOWERS???? You aren't her." Really, that's what I thought. I passionately hated flowers. But today, on the 7 months, I will bring my baby flowers. She doesn't need them. I guess I still do. And really, I love flowers. But oh my, do I have moments when I hate what flowers now represent in my life.
Sometimes I wonder, how am I going to do this- forever. I mean, honestly. Here I am, courageouly working my way through each month since her death, passing the time, going to work, being a mother and a friend and partner. I am living. I am surviving. But really- how do I do this FOR-EVER!? I mean, it's always, always, always going to be there. She will ALWAYS be gone. I know the advice- take one day, one holiday, one month at a time. But when you plan your life, or your future, it's like "How in the heck do I do this- forever?" How do you live with the pain, the broken heart forever? Do you know how exhausting it is to wake up everyday and realize that you are going to be in pain? To know that today some innocent comment, a smell, a picture, a word, a gesture, a food, is going to trigger an avalanche of pain and sorrow down upon your soul? I mean, really, every day. And that I have this feeling that what happens when the 1 year is up and I am still in pain and grief and feeling lost? Are people going to be sick of hearing me discuss my pain for my child?
Here is an inside look at how we cope. Will and Sam found a package of Boo cookies. There aren't anything special- just arrowroot cookies. But oh man, she loved them. Today as we are leaving for daycare, Sam spots them in the basement, and he runs over and grabs a 'boo cookie.' Look mom, I'm eating a boo cookie. He's munching away in the van "We will have to make sure our new baby gets these cookies, because B liked them so much and they will too." I love him so much. He is my joy, hope, happiness. He fills me with peace and he is so loving and so filled with empathy and compassion. I truly hope I have another baby who likes Boo cookies as much as little miss did.
A Quick Update
I've been kind of quiet lately. Three weeks ago, to this moment, I was in Vancouver, getting ready for my tubal reveral surgery. Three weeks later, I am recovering. Painfully. It has been a more painful recovery than I counted on. On top of that, there is a whole new world of stress and emtional baggage, that while I may have thought I saw coming, I really didn't.
Before I had my surgery, having another baby was a 'let's hope it might happen one day' kind of thought. I knew it's what we wanted, but because we PHYSICALLY couldn't, it wasn't a let down each month. But now, now, oh my. How did I NOT see this emotional bomb? See now we are actively trying, and without going into the personal and physical makeup of my body, it's not a guarentee. In fact, I would put our chances at about 70%. That's pretty good odds, considering that most 'normal' couples when they set out on the road to having a baby start out at 90%. But oh, I don't want 70%, I want 100%. I want to have another baby. We did not spend the money, make the scarficies, and yes, live with the physical pain of surgery to NOT have another baby. Our son wants another chance at being a big brother. I want another chance at being a mother to an infant and watching a child go through all the stages of learning and life. So now each month, it's like, did it or did it not work. Added stress. And added stress is BAD for baby making.
I pushed myself too hard last week and was in ALOT (understatement) of pain last week. I had to basically lay off and rest in bed for 2.5 days. And in those 2.5 days I realized I just want to get better, get healthy and when I feel good, then I can focus on the next steps. Because I have a tendancy to rush things, or want things so badly, that I do whatever I can to sort of 'make them happen.' And I think that's not really the way the universe works as I am always and constantly finding out.
Yesterday, my dear friend, 'celebrated' her baby's 1 year anniversary. There are names for such a day. Some people call it an 'angelversary.' That's kind of hokey to me. I don't know. Your child died- it's just the one year anniversary of their death. You can try to dress it up , but really, it will always just be the worse day of your life. My friend she is strong, and she put on a brave face, and she had love and support. But I think about her constantly today. Because today is the day after. The day AFTER the one year. The day when you stand your shower and let loose, and cry and realize that today, you start the journey into the 2nd year without your child. How can that be real? How can she be faced with such a reality today? I think about my friend today, and yesterday. And I think about me. I will be her in 5 months. And the first year will be over. And I can't imagine NOT having my baby for an entire year. My friend also has a son who is 4. Sam and him are special you see, because they are little boys who have little sisters in heaven. They know more than most children their age. They are old souls, and they have been impacted in ways that even her and I haven't been. Why should 2 little boys, standing in park, know that when you let go of helium balloons they are messages of love to those little angels? These little boys should not know this reality. But they do. So I think of Sam often. I think of my son, and I think about all he has lost- that innocent piece of his childhood that he will never truly get back.
Anyways, I'm just in pure recovery mode. Three weeks in, three weeks to go. I am trying to NOT stress about life, things, babies, no babies, the boo. I want spring. I can say this on this supposed first day of spring as the snow falls. I'm ready. I'm ready for rain, and pavement, running and grass, tuplips and park playdates, yard work and BBQs. I'm ready. Ready for the next chapter, ready for winter to be over.
Learning To Live
I posted a comment last week on my facebook page last week, after my surgery on on the 6 month anniversary of Beth's passing. Here it is:
I think this is the unique quality about grief. If a person opens themselves up to the greiving process, and in turn opens themself up to others who have walked this road, and yes, even to those who haven't, I think, I don't know, but I think that we allow ourselves to then become a deeper, wider, more connected person that we ever could have before such an event happened to us. And by allowing ourselves to develop these facets that we may previously never have even known existed, it blesses our lives with a fullness and a richness that we might never have known.
Six Months In
Last night I was in a smood. Not a typo. What's a smood? It's our family work for a shitty mood- a smood. Sort of like March sometimes gets nicknamed Smarch for shitty march. You get it. So I'm in a smood. I'm angry, I'm hurt, I'm pissed. I have this overwhelming feeling or rage and anger and even jealously and I posted on my facebook page at how I am amazed at how people have 'disappeared' from my life. Sigh. Talk about opening a can of worms. In my continued smood, I blogged last night. I typed as fast as I could (and I can type pretty damn fast)... and then I erased the entire post. Because it was full of rage and pissyness and smoody emotions. I thought I will sleep on things and I will feel differently tomorrow.
So here I am- and I don't feel differently tomorrow. I feel worse. I feel more pissed and more rage and more anger. Am I experiencing the 'anger' stage of my grief? Maybe, I'm not too sure. Are my expectations too high for others? Again, I'm not too sure. Here is what I know.
I feel like by sometimes blogging everything, people may get the impression that it is enough- that because they have worked up the courage to read about how shitty I am feeling today that are being brave. I get it- it must be hard to read about my pain. But I don't really care. I don't care that you may read my blog and cry and feel bad ... because this is MY LIFE!!!!! I LIVE THIS LIFE every moment. So imagaine, imagine that PAIN that YOU might feel by simply reading my blog and then, oh I don't know, magnify it by a ZILLION. and you might, MIGHT just have a clue, a clue what I feel. Is this your fault? No, it's not your 'fault' that you don't know exactly what I feel. But it is your fault that if you think by reading my blog you are somehow doing enough to engage in my life- that this somehow makes you 'involved.' You're not. Actions and actually being involved in my life are doing enough.
If you've read my blog, I've always worried about the time when people start to think I'm ok, I'm 'getting better' or I'm reovering. Insert massive sarcastic laugh here- when would YOU recover from this? Really. Sit there right now and think about an appropriate time frame for 'recovery.' Can you ever really even recover? Conceptualize the fact that for most grieving parents, the true loss isn't even really being felt until 6-12 months after the loss. Wow. I'm at 6 months. So each day my pain is intesifying. Right now I am in pure survival mode. Like you've cut off my leg and each day I have a fresh wound, a fresh bandage, a fresh bout of pain. That is my reality. That will continue to be my reality.
My blog wasn't supposed to really be for anyone but me, and maybe one day Sam, for him to be able to journey back to this time in our lives, to see what his Mom was going through. It was partially a way to raise awareness of infant and child death, a window into what a mother is going through. Maybe even to reach those who live far away. I feel like sometimes my blog has become an excuse for those close to me to not engage. After all, I get it. If you look at me and really ask me how I am doing- what is the response going to be? Will you get the acceptable lie of "I'm Ok," or will today be the day I unleash even part of my pain and desperation and anger and hurt and longing on you and open you up to the hellish world of child loss? Maybe today will be the day when I don't just say, I"m ok. Because I'm very rarely ok. I will, one day, with the support of Will and Sam be ok one day.
You want to know how I feel about my upcoming surgery? Here's a thought- phone me. Ask me. Engage with me. Show me that you actually care about what I am going through. Remember I'm in a pissy mood- and I don't really feel like 'sharing' with people who don't seem to care what I am feeling.
Here is the disclaimer on today's blog- to those ladies who continually, continually invite me out and deliever me flowers, and have me into your homes... thank you (Krista, Jen, Alana, Nicole, Kiona, Nancy, Angela). You make me realize that you will be here for me for forever, and that I can always talk about Beth with you. And that is the most precious gift I could ever be given.