Monday, October 9, 2017

Strides at Six

Dear Joan,

It's hard to believe that you would be turning six today.

Somehow, I anticipated the first five birthdays, in a way that felt different. But now. Now it feels like we've entered another chapter in a sense. Maybe it's because we now have not only your little sister, but also your little brother keeping us busy (to say the least). Somehow, the memories of you -- the raw, bittersweet, aching memories of our too brief time together -- are softer, have faded a little.

Maybe it's these dizzying days of keeping up with little ones, and the associated demands of life, that doesn't leave much time for reflection in the same way anymore. And even that is bittersweet. A gift, and a loss.

When I realized that I haven't written here in a year -- a full year -- I was a little surprised how quickly it passed. In a blink.

Though grief is continually evolving, you are never far from us.

Our work through Joan's Reach continues to grow in a way that fills me with awe and gratitude.

Each time I speak with another mother who is facing (or faced) a similar heartbreak, I am amazed at the similarities. They speak my same thoughts and feelings. They've experienced the same reactions, heard the same terminology and labels. 

Just the other day at a medical conference so many professionals that I spoke to -- sharing your story and the work you inspired -- responded with great interest and appreciation. 

The more events I attend, the more I hear responses like these... 

What you are doing is so needed.
We are counseling a family (or several families) through this situation right now.
We're not sure how to provide support.

Providers are contacting us saying...
We ran out of Joan's Reach bags for parents receiving a diagnosis. 
Can you send more?

Each year, we see more strides. More awareness. More support. For families facing the unimaginable, like we did. For that I am so utterly grateful.

And for you, sweet girl, thank you for being my guiding light.

Happy 6th Birthday, my angel.

For more information about the mission of Joan's Reach:

To support Joan's Reach through our upcoming fundraisers:

1 comment:

Teresa DelGiudice said...

Happy Birthday, Joan. We love you. ��

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