I Miss Stella
Posted by Mishi Methven on Nov 08, 2012
I Miss Stella
I miss Stella.
It seems like such an understatement when I type it like that, yet I don’t really have another way to express the way it feels to be beginning this next part of life. The part where Stella is gone forever.
After 16 months of Aimee and I focusing almost all our energies on Stella, suddenly we find ourselves with not that much to do. Both Auntie Angie and Auntie Heather went back to work on Monday. It was strange for them, strange for us. GrandPa and Nanny went on a week-long trip. DeeDee and Tutu are both working full-time again. Gracie is back at school, Juju is back to her regular schedule of the gym in the morning and work all day. Poppa still comes over in the mornings, but without chocolate Timbits. He is back to playing in bands almost every night (he is a trumpet player).
It’s as though we are all supposed to pretend like nothing changed, but everything has changed. There is a certain amount of a feeling of, “okay…that part’s done, let’s move on”. But most of us are not ready yet. We are still lagging behind saying, ‘wait…the world is different now…we don’t know how to act anymore…we’re not ready to live without her…’ But the world keeps steadily marching forward whether we’re ready or not. So we are running a bit behind, trying to find our way and playing an exhausting game of catch up.
Since Stella died Aimee and I have been inundated with offers of visits, social events, dinners. We are happy to get out. Happy to be distracted. But it feels strange somehow, like an old favourite shirt that doesn’t quite fit anymore. We laugh but the laughter sounds hollow to me. We enjoy ourselves, but feel guilty about it. We push the pain down as much as possible, but it resurfaces at odd moments. We go outside but the sun hurts our eyes and we just want to return to our home. Return to the place where photos stare out at me from every single wall of the house, where her art peeks out from all corners, her clothes remain neatly folded in her drawers, her room virtually untouched other than the fact that Sam’s crib is in there. It feels like she is everywhere, but I can’t find her anywhere.
I miss Stella.
I miss saying her name 50 times a day. When she was alive, it seemed like every other minute someone was saying “Stella”. I love the way the two L’s of her name roll off my tongue. Now an entire day can go by and we say her name only a few times.
I miss looking over on the couch and seeing a pile of reddish curls piled on the pillow. We cut off a bunch of her curls as she lay dying and they now sit in a box in our bedroom. I’ve opened it a few times to look, but I don’t find the curls comforting like I thought I would. I find them devastating to look at. That my beautiful, vibrant, energetic daughter is gone leaving behind a pile of inanimate curls behind. It’s so wrong.
I miss reading books to her. Sam and Hugo aren’t old enough to sit patiently as I read through favourite books. The books that we once read multiple times a day (King Hugo's Huge Ego, Adele and Simon, Stella and Sam), sit idle now. Piled on the floor next to the couch, gathering dust.
I miss working so hard to make her smile. Stretching the limits of my imagination and ability to play, sing, dance just for a glimpse of one of her precious beams of teeth and light. Sam and Hugo smile so easily for me. It warms my heart, but I miss her smile so much.
I miss watching Stella interact with her brothers. I miss Sam crawling all over her and giving her lots of kisses. I miss Hugo cuddling into her. Miss seeing her laugh when she sees them. Now when you ask Sam "Where's Stella?" he smiles and points to her picture. It's cute and heartbreaking all at the same time.
I miss the feel of her warmth next to me in the bed. I used to fall asleep holding her hand in mine. I used to wake up and place my head on her cheek or her chest. When she was able to, she woke me by smacking me in the face or whispering “couch”. I miss being able to reassure myself that she is still here by simply reaching for her in the dark and feeling her next to me. After so many months of having her between us, Aimee and I cling to each other desperately at night now, both needing the reassurance of another body in the bed.
I miss taking photos of her. We took hundreds of photos of Stella, frantically trying to capture each moment of her life. Now I have to remind myself to take photos of the boys, remind myself that their smiles and experiences are just as important as Stella’s and need to be captured as well. But whenever I look at the photos I find myself wishing Stella was in them too.
I miss being known as “Stella’s mom”. That was my title, my identity for over three and a half years. Now I don’t know who I am. I need to rediscover myself, reset my life, review my goals. It’s overwhelming to think about it all at once, so I am remembering what Stella taught me and living one day at a time, one tear at a time, one laugh at a time and one dream at a time.
It’s been so incredible to continue hearing from people all over the place about how they are having “Stella Moments” in their lives. Everytime I hear from someone who still thinks of Stella, or tells me she affected then somehow, it’s a balm for my broken heart.
This Saturday in the park just outside Stella’s beloved Riverdale Farm there will be a public “Stella-bration” with candle lighting, a Timbit Toast and some storytelling. I’m so excited at the prospect of talking about Stella to people again and seeing how many people she touched and being reassured that she did live an important life, even though it was short. I also love hearing from people about their plans for the Stella Stars (http://www.stellastars.ca/). It’s an obsession I have to ensure Stella is not forgotten.
People have been asking about the blog, what our plans are for it. The blog was supposed to be Stella’s story, something for her brothers to read someday but it also became the story of how Aimee and I learned to accept the unknown, grow, love deeper, embrace life and, ultimately, let go. And Stella’s story isn’t over yet. I have read so many blogs from people who stopped writing after their child died, but I’m not ready to stop writing about Stella and so I will keep going as long as it is meaningful for me. It likely wont be as rich as it once was, because life is less rich without Stella in it. But it remains an outlet for me to work through my thoughts and feelings, to share my daughter with others.
And when I miss Stella the most, I come on here and look at her pictures and remember. And then even though I miss her, I feel her in my heart and I can pick myself up, go play with my wonderful sons and get lost in their laughter.
But I still miss Stella.
Breaking Amish...baby style (Hugo and Violet):
Uncle Tristan takes Hugo out for his first Hallowe'en:
Stella a year ago with Sam: