By: Heather West
My dearest Dolly,
How do I put into words the many ways you changed my life?
There is so much I want to say to you, but I was not granted with the blessing of telling you in person. Instead I am forced to unwillingly put on layers upon layers, bundle up, and sit outside at a snow filled cemetery.
It is here that I can tell you everything.
It is here that I sit and wait for the smallest sign that you are with me, for the smallest sign that you are proud. It is here that Daddy and I read you books, wishing we could go back to the moments where we sat as a family and read books together.
All my life I wanted to be a mommy, but I didn’t know until January 2016 that I needed to be YOUR mommy. I fell in love with you from the moment I saw the word “pregnant.” From the moment you were placed on my chest, I was completely enamored by you. That Daddy and I could make something as perfect as you.
Right then and there you gave me a gift …. you made me a mommy. The BEST title I have ever had in life.
But shortly after that moment CHD (congenital heart disease) came along and made me a heart mommy.
It rocked our perfect world and turned everything I knew about motherhood upside down. You went on for eight months to fight for your life, with a strength that took my breath away. Seeing you straight out of open heart surgery, broke me. It took a piece of me I will never get back.
Nothing could have prepared me to see you like that, covered in a bodysuit of tubes, wires, and gauze. Unrecognizable!
But all it took was one look at you and I was instantly reminded of your strength and your will to fight. In those moments I knew, I needed to keep fighting right alongside you. For eight months I never left your side, I reached into the depths of my soul and pulled out strength, emotions, faith, and love I never thought possible, until my life was changed by you.
In May 2017, CHD came along and made me a grieving mom.
I thought being a heart mom was hard until I became a grieving mom. CHD left my arms empty and left a hole in my heart the size of you. My heart is not ok, because yours was not ok.
Every day I come home to your beautiful nursery with the bed you should be sleeping in, the clothes you should be wearing, and the tiny little shoes I should hear running through my heart and home. CHD took all of this away from us.
This silent home is a constant reminder that we were not given a lifetime.
Although CHD robbed us of so much, it cannot take away love. It cannot take away pride, and it cannot take away the fact that you came along and made us a family. The three of us were perfectly picked for each other.
The center of my pride is being your mom, and I will spend forever shouting it from the rooftops.
Since I cannot spend my days mothering you Earth side, I will cling onto my memories and mother you the only way I can- by spreading your story of strength, love, and light. My angel your blue eyes sparkled in a way that could light up any amount of darkness. People stopped by daily to soak up your light and see this little CHD warrior that was changing the world.
I try every day to keep my promise to you. I will always try to change the world in your honor and ALWAYS speak your name.
I hope with everything I have that you are proud. I hope you hear the books we read to you. I hope you see the difference we are making in the CHD world. I hope you feel me near when I sit with you for hours at the cemetery.
But most of all I hope you know how incredibly sorry I am that I couldn’t save you.
My number one job as your mommy is to protect you and CHD took that from me. I know you know that if given the chance, I would have given my own breath so you could have yours. Please know because of you, every breath I take is not taken for granted.
Every day I am reminded I slow down, not rush through life, and completely soak in the small things.
I find myself being breathless at the way you paint the sunsets. Before you I never took the time to enjoy sunsets, but now I sit and soak it in. I let the pinks and purples of the sky dance through my soul like you would if you were here. I take these moments to daydream about what our future would have looked like.
What I would have looked like as your mommy here on this Earth and what it would be like to stare into those beautiful blue eyes one more time.
As you watch over me I know you see a sad broken mommy. Watching you take your last breath rocked me to my core and took motherhood from me. But I also know you watch over me and see those moments of strength.
Your passing knocked me down and I have spent the last 8 months clawing my way back to the surface.
In those moments of strength, when I make it to the surface I truly soak up the light, knowing all too well that grief is going to come back around and knock me back down. I will have to use the strength you taught me to climb my way back to the light.
When people speak of you I refuse to let them say, “Adalyn broke Heather.” When they speak of you I want them to say, “When Adalyn came along Heather became her best self.”
You have given me a voice and a passion and for that I am forever grateful.
Thank you for making me a mom. Thank you for showing me what strength looks like and thank you from the depths of my soul for changing my life. Every day is one day closer to you. Just like Rory’s mamma said …. WATCH OUT ADALYN IM COMING FOR YOU!! Save my spot in heaven.
Keep painting those skies,
I am a hairstylist and love making people feel good about themselves. I am a wife, daughter, sister, and best friend, but of all the titles given to me, heart mom is the most important. My husband and I have been married for almost 8 years and have spent the majority of our time together building a strong foundation and traveling the world. In 2016 we got pregnant with our first daughter and could not wait to be parents. Upon birth we found our daughter was very sick and instantly we became a heart family. We spent 8 months fighting for her life and we are trying to navigate through our grief and try to help people along the way .