Sunday, June 30, 2013

3 weeks

sleep

Our precious Mary Anna was three weeks old on Friday.  It is so often said at these stages, but it is indeed so hard to believe it's been three weeks already.  Blink.

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Without diminishing the ceremony that was her birth, it is hard to reminisce on her arrival- those sacred moments - without also thinking of my mother's death.  Every motion of the labor room- my own, the baby's, and the nurses'- kept my dear mother right there.   So blessedly present.  When I spoke of her to my sweet labor nurse Tonja, how she was a newborn nurse for so long, how she just missed her 13th grandchild, we both heard my heart rate on the monitor soaring.  (Beating. Running towards her).  Tonja held my hands and cried with me.  Gathered my hair to one side of my shoulder and caressed my head.  So gently.  And how these two Marys missed each other.  By just exactly 3 weeks.  The very definition of bittersweet, if ever there was one.  It is almost impossible to grasp all of what has happened in these last two months.   I don't expect to ever fully make sense of things and in fact I have to go over the basic facts in my head almost daily to remember why my life is suddenly the way that it is now.  Mom had cancer. We tried, but couldn't make it better.  I was pregnant when she died.  She didn't live long enough to meet Mary Anna.  The brain must have these sort of mechanisms that prevent it from thinking of the whole thing all at once, otherwise I think one would simply collapse from the pain and sorrow.  That is, if you were to really absorb all the individual and collective sadness of losing one, so loved, so close.  It is a hole that cannot be filled with anything.  Nothing.  You just find a way to make that okay.  Perhaps embellish a frame around the void with flowers, stitching, beauty, memories, stories, belongings, gifts.  Until, eventually, there is an image there, a picture of that person.  A picture of kindness and love and you can look at the framed portrait as you always would, in anticipation of being together again.  A placeholder, reserved for that one cherished soul in your life that will never be like another. 

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But this soul.  Oh how dear, perfect, and mild she is.  Her pediatrician walked into my recovery room after his first look at her in the hospital and said, "I think she's beautiful and I think she's strong."  We agreed.  My heavy heart is made lighter continuously at the peace and sweetness she has brought into our lives.  I've looked so deep into her eyes, searching.  She seems to answer questions I cannot even formulate words for.  She is her own, beautiful, exquisite little soul, and I wonder how I would tread these days without the focus of caring for her.  Needing her to need me, and filling her hungers and her cries with every thing that I am.  Everything that I am trying to be.  I heard Tonja say it, after checking the monitor and calling the OB in, just seconds before this little girl was thrust into the world "you are just created for this, sweetie". 

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I am conscious of the gift of caring for this child in the midst of also caring for myself, the fragility of the two is just the same.   I am so incredibly thankful that it is almost impossible to put into words. It is like pressing my lips against her tiny head, holding her tightly, closing my eyes and falling into a place that doesn't have any edges, or beginnings or endings, and thinking of my mother, and feeling the ever present reality of being the very physical link between these two beautiful lives.  Just as I felt it when I bowed my head in tears, both thankful and sorrowful, and held my mother's hand with my right, and clutched my pregnant belly with the left and thanked God for being this person in between.  Continuous and never ending family.

Her name itself, chosen several months ago, has been both title and narrative of our story.

Mary for my mother.
Anna for myself.
Louisa for her.

Mary meaning bitter.
Anna meaning grace.
Louisa meaning warrior.

xoxox, AM

89 comments:

  1. What sweet words straight from your soul. May you continue to heal more every day as you hold that precious bundle near your heart. Prayers for you and your family.

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  2. She is just beautiful and her story is beautiful for her grandmother's story is now so intertwined with hers. These are sad and wonderful times for you all. This brought tears for you and for your boys and especially the girls of your line. Kia kaha (Maori - stay strong)

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  3. What a beautiful post. My heart goes out to your as you are trying to piece it all together. What a gorgeous, precious bundle you have there to love, care for and chatter away about your mother to.

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  4. I am so very sorry for your loss. I wasn't pregnant when my mother died, but I recognize these feelings of being a link because I feel them every time I think of my mother and see my children.
    I know there is no consolation another person can give you when you loose your mother, but consolation will come, from your innermost heart, with time and the knowledge that a life ended which was well lived and filled with love and grace, and the trust that although every individual life has to end, as long as there are children, and grandchildren, and memories cherished, and things remembered, and stories told, there is no end to giving and receiving love in a family, whether its members are alive or had to go on.
    Sending lots of good wishes to you and yours over the pond! Ulrike

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  5. I know your pain exactly, 28 years ago I lost my mother 17 days before the birth of my son, my first child. Even yet I know the feelings you describe, bittersweet is a perfect description! How I would have dealt with her death though without having my son to care for I'll never know. He was a complete blessing in so many ways (and still is)!
    Take care,
    Vivienne x

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  6. God bless you! I'm sure your precious bond with your little girl will keep you close to your Mum. I lost my Dad in October and some days it hits me with the full force of the day he died, but my family give me strength as I'm sure yours will do for you xx

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  7. lizsmtih2:45 PM

    so beautifully said. much love and take good care xxx

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  8. Anonymous2:46 PM

    I have been reading your blog and buying your fabric for years now. I lost my sweet dad, only 62 years old, in November. My third baby was born just before he passe away. I've cried buckets during the hours nursing. She's been my little comfort. My dad held on and was able to see her and hold her a few times. My heart goes out to you and I feel each word you've written. Peace to you and your family.

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  9. God bless.
    Your mother raised you well and you and your beautiful family are a tribute to her. I am struck through the Instagram photos by the temperament of Anna, quiet, knowing. Please continue to "baby" yourself a little.
    Much love from Michigan.
    I admire your ability to put this time into words. It will be 20 years this fall that I lost my mother.

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  10. Oh I meant Mary Anna. You knew.

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  11. What a beautiful post. So glad you have your lovely little one at this hard time. She is very lovely.

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  12. Anonymous3:33 PM

    Beautiful little Mary Anna. Beautiful words from a beautiful heart.

    jam

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  13. Beautifully written.

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  14. Lovely, beautiful, graceful.

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  15. Thank you for sharing. Lots of heartfelt hugs!
    Esther
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo com
    ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

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  16. Anonymous4:15 PM

    You are so lucky! I lost my Mom to the bottle years ago. She was selfish, and chose addiction. I try to focus on the good memories, yet there are very few. I would rather focus on my grandma, who...taught me to thread her Singer when I was 5. Who taught me to sew on construction paper. Who helped me put the embroidery hoop on the fabric. She passed when I was nine in 1979. The pain softens over time.

    I know that sounds trite. But it really does. You are so lucky to have had a wonderful sane and sober Mom.

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  17. So lovely.

    Wishing you, and your beautiful family, well.

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  18. Wow. Amazing how so much comes all at one time... But I'm thankful that you have the gift of seeing and being comforted by the details... I think her name and the meaning and connections between y'all is just such an amazing thing!

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  19. Beautiful. Beginnings, endings, grief, joy, life entwined. It is who we are and what we live for, and you express it so beautifully.

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  20. Anonymous5:18 PM

    We are not friends, and I"ve never met your wonderful mother.... yet I sit at my computer, crying my eyes out for you and for her and for your little warrior. You are such an amazing person for letting the world into your life, for sharing the joys and pains with all of us strangers. It is a bravery that I could not imagine. Many prayers for you and your family.

    Christine T.

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  21. Thank you for these beautiful words!

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  22. Tears. So touching! Thank you for sharing such heartfelt words.

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  23. Simply beautiful, in so many ways. I've been thinking of you and your family often the past few weeks, and keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers. xoxo

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  24. Beautiful, beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Time will help heal.

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  25. Thank you for sharing such beautiful thoughts.

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  26. Your heart is so full of love. Thank you for expressing its contents with us. I felt teary because I understand your sorrow of losing a parent. Sadness, yet joy now, for you are blessed with Mary Anna. Hugs to you in your healing and also for nurturing of your new daughter.

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  27. You are a poet! Thank you for baring your soul with us. You and your family shine so brightly! May God continue to bless you and may all the Marys continue to sprinkle their grace upon you and yours...

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  28. Thank you for this exquisitely beautiful post. May you be comforted at this time of sorrow and loss, and find joy in the anticipation of a future reunion. In my faith tradition we believe we lived as Spirits with God before we came to earth. I'm sure your mother spent a beautiful three weeks preparing Mary Anna for her arrival on this earth. She helped her in her transition between heaven and earth and will always be an angel to you and your family, continuing her work of caring for her family members.

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  29. I am a firm believer that those who pass know those who come to us. The Mary's have met, believe me, they have met.

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  30. Well done.
    Well lived, Mary.
    Well birthed, Anna.
    Well living now, Louisa.
    It is well with your soul, I think--even as you grieve deep and hard and long. Life-long.
    Well written, too.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  31. Such a beautiful post thank you for sharing something so special with us!

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  32. Anna, your amazing gift of expressing yourself is always a treasured gift to me. Thank you.

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  33. I was thinking about what a beautiful soul you must be as I pieced together some of your lovely fabrics in a quilt today. You have to have a lot of love, and passion for life to create things of such beauty. Reading this makes my heart hurt for you. May you find peace, and rest and rejuvenation in the treasure of that new little soul you are caring for.

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  34. What a very moving post. You have brought me to tears. My heart bleeds for you during this difficult and yet beautiful time. May you keep finding strength in the bind that is continuing from your mother to your daughter and may your bitter grace warrior lead you on your path to Leto holding your mum and daughters right hand. Sending you warm wishes. Stay strong but also embrace your weaknesses, it's ok to feel like you can't sometimes. Love yourself as much as you can xo

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  35. Beautiful tribute, full of thoughtful metaphors. I had a similar instance of experiencing a passing of one and arriving of another. I wondered it their souls somehow met for a moment in the place that we know little of in this life. I agree that we know only in part knowledge that we cannot fully bear. None can ever fill the void left by a mother, and truly, we want that to be so. I hope the writing of these things is a balm to your heart.

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  36. I am forever amazed by God's grace..He alone knew what was
    going to transpire in your Mom's live and then of course yours. He knew long before any of you even had life. In His infinite wisdom and gracious love He provided a way for you to have this precious gift during a time of great loss. God is so good.

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  37. This is a lovely tribute to your Mom and your new daughter. Thank you for sharing.

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  38. You do such a beautiful job of acknowledging the pain and the blessings. Thank you for sharing. Your eloquence is touching many hearts. (The baby photos are rather delicious too.)

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  39. Blessings, love and light to your family. What beautiful words for you to share with us- thank you for that gift.

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  40. Beautiful words, Anna. I really do think it was God's mercy that gave you Mary Anna right after your lovely mother's passing. It's wonderful that you almost have Mary Anna to remember your mother by.
    Much love,
    Achaia xxx

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  41. I heard Jeff's song for Mary Anna on his website... it's beautiful. In fact, I heard it one night and the next day it kept running through my head....
    xxx

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  42. Anonymous10:35 AM

    Dear Anna, I still thinking of you and I wish you and your little, sweet Baby all the best. In your words I feel the love between you and your mother and your Baby will still felt this too. She knows that her mother is forceful. Your teardrops help you to became vigour. XOXOXO Britta

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  43. Beautiful words from a true heart.

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  44. Really, just astoundingly beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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  45. Thank you for this. As I sit here today, freshly back from my dad's memorial service in Nashville, huge with twins, I am having trouble knowing how to take it in. Yes, I hopped a plane at 37 weeks, but I couldn't miss it. These are the first grandkids, which means my first kids, which means I don't know what I'm doing, but your words are encouraging to me as I try to figure out this period of mourning and joy.

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  46. This was so beautifully written I almost couldn't read it. What a precious time.

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  47. Brenda Comolli5:17 PM

    Thank you for the gift of this post.

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  48. Beautiful beautiful beautiful girl.

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  49. Your words are so perfect. Loss -- such immense loss -- is emotionally unthinkable, unlivable. And yet our bodies are also mechanical, and they keep going, thank goodness. Your metaphor for stitching a frame around an emptiness is astonishing. It's so true. You emanate so much love, such gratitude, such grace. You live up to your name indeed. All the best to you, your family, and this precious baby girl.

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  50. You have captured with beautiful words what I have myself experienced and never been able to define. I am so grateful to you that I was able to read this and better understand the loss of my own mother right before the birth of my first child. Thank you and, speaking from seven years later, you are absolutely right. The picture will emerge, the brain will slowly let you realize it is true, and you will never EVER lose her.

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  51. what a beautiful post. how my heart breaks and celebrates with yours. i love the gift of names you have given her-what honor.

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  52. Thank you for this beautiful post, Anna Maria. I too lost my mother to cancer on May 26th. It's devastating. I can completely relate to how you're feeling. I just keep telling myself that my mom gives me strength. XOXO

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  53. What a wonderful mother she must have been to have a daughter like you. What a lucky baby to have a mother like you. I hope your line stays strong. I wish you peace.

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  54. You are such an inspiration - a beautiful bond created.

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  55. oh, how beautiful this is..... I'm reading this with tears in my eyes..... You're mother is so proud!!!

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  56. Thank you for those heartfelt thoughts......I too just lost my mother (3 months ago). Although I have grown children I can feel your sorrow.....I am thankful that my mother got to meet her first great granddaughter before she left us. She was too weak to hold her but the joy and delight everytime she saw her was something that still warms my heart......enjoy you new Mary & make sure you tell her about your mother and all the wonderful & funny things about her

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  57. You expressed your thoughts of birth and passing so well, I felt as if I were inside your head thinking the same things. I lost my Mom two weeks ago. Even though I had her for 86 1/2 years it is still hard for me to believe I will never hear her voice again. I am comforted to know that my Mom is at peace. I know in the days/weeks/months to come when you think of your Mom it will be hard, take joy in her life and the life of your new daughter. Blessed be, Ani

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  58. Your writing brings tears to my eyes… the way you describe motherhood… you most definetly could be a prolific writer, not that you need one more thing to do well ;) you are amazingly beautiful AMH! Your mother is most assuredly proud!

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  59. What a beautiful tribute you have penned. You are obviously your mother's daughter and I feel reading this that she is proud of you and she is with you in these special weeks and of course will always be. God speed. Helen

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  60. You have an amazing gift with words. May God shower you with His peace. She's beautiful, by the way.

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  61. Anna Maria, your baby girl is beautiful. I have a 2-month-old boy, my third, born a year and a half after I lost my mom to cancer. He is my first baby after losing her, and it has been a different experience. Bittersweet, I would say. I grieve because she isn't here to see him, but I rejoice at new life. I love what you wrote about being the link between your mother and your daughter. I will think of that as I hold my baby and gaze at my mom's self portrait that she painted when she was in college. Blessings to you and your family!

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  62. Anonymous10:32 PM

    I'm so, so, so sorry for your loss. And so, so, so happy for you and this brilliant new life in your family. Sending you love and comfort and peace and rest.

    Jennifer

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  63. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your Mother. My Mother just passed away too and I know that God will lift you and comfort you and give you His peace. Your baby is beautiful, pray Gods blessings upon your family.

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  64. Beautiful words, beautiful baby, and a beautiful name.

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  65. Tears, flowing. Your words ripped my heart out in the most amazingly beautiful way. You really need to print this post and hang it in the nursery, or at least put it in her baby book. I sincerely believe that everything happens for a reason, this just proves that ten-fold. Blessings to you Anna Maria. You are gifted and loved in so many ways. XO

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  66. Anonymous4:13 PM

    Wonderful words, again. And what a beautiful baby, so serene and content and such a comfort in current times. Liz x

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  67. I was just catching up on my blog reading and finally read this. You have the most beautiful way with words. I work in the birth world and it is often so similar to death in the most surprising and profound ways. What a journey you have been on. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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  68. Thanks for expressing your thoughts so beautifully. Your sweet little baby will keep you in the present, and moving forward as you remember your mom. I lost my mom 30 years ago, when I was in my early 20's. So I never got to share my marriage, kids and love of quilting with her. I think of her often and know we would have so much fun together! I think this is one reason why my quilting friends are so important to me... they have helped me through so many difficult times in my life. Take care, give little Mary Anna Louise a hug and kiss for me!

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  69. There is a girl in New York City
    Who calls herself the human trampoline
    And sometimes when I'm falling, flying
    Or tumbling in turmoil I say
    Oh, so this is what she means
    She means we're bouncing into Graceland
    And I see losing love
    Is like a window in your heart
    And everybody sees you're blown apart
    Everybody feels the wind blow

    In Graceland, in Graceland
    I'm going to Graceland
    For reasons I cannot explain
    There's some part of me wants to see
    Graceland
    And I may be advised to defend
    Every love, every ending
    Or maybe there's no obligations now
    Maybe I've a reason to believe
    We all will be received
    In Graceland

    - Paul Simon, "Graceland"

    Wishing you continue to find peace in this beautiful, sorrowful, blessed time.

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  70. Dear Anna, My condolences for your loss. May the sorrow you feel in your heart be lightened by the "LOVE" that surrounds you with sweet, precious Mary Anna Louisa.

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  71. Anonymous7:56 PM


    Loss and possession, death and life are one, There falls no shadow where there shines no sun.

    Hilaire Belloc

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  72. Anonymous1:46 AM

    I'm very touched by your words, the expression of your heart in the midst of the loss of your dear mother and the arrival of your dear daughter. God bless you and give you peace.

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  73. God bless you, and as a friend of mine put it--I am sorry that you have had to join the group none of us wants to belong to--that of motherless daughters. My mom has been gone for three years now. Relish these days--and I know that you will--with your precious little girl. She is beautiful. Your mom is still loving you, and sweet baby Mary Anna Louisa. That love you feel for your daughter--that's the same love your mother had--HAS--for you.

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  74. Anonymous10:38 AM

    Hi,
    My name is Marianna (I am also Greek) and my first daughter is Louisa (yiayia 1) and second daughter is Mary (yiayia 2). I am expecting the 3rd daughter next month and thinking of an ancient Greek Name this time. I cried very much after reading everything you wrote... God bless you and your family...

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  76. Thank you for your beautiful post. I lost my mother to cancer 4 years ago today, just 11 days before the birth of my first son, and my mothers first grandchild. Everything you have said is exactly what I went through, but my son was also the best thing that could have happened to my family at the time, particularly for my Dad. May your precious daughter bring light and happiness to you and your family during this difficult time.

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  77. Hi friend I love your blog always has nice things here, beauty baby, cheers for him,hugs ...

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    http://vitrine.elo7.com.br/titacarre

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  78. Oh Anna. Haven't dropped in here for a while. I'm so very sorry about your mother, and so sad she didn't get to meet Mary Anna Louisa. You write so warmly on your blog that you feel like a friend, and I'm crying for you as if I've known you for years. My heart goes out to you, and to all of the others on here who have shared their stories. Love and hugs to you all. x

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  79. Amen.
    Your life is an incredible story...
    and this just one of the most beautiful of it's chapters.
    Still praying for you in Sugar Land Tx...

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  80. I am constantly in awe of your ability to beautifully and eloquently weave such emotions into words that also tug at my soul. I lost my Mom last year in a tragic set of circumstances so your posts are beyond moving and I too feel those same things as you describe....

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  81. My dad died last year, just three months after my fourth baby was born, and months before my sister's first baby was born, and we both agreed that it was the best way it could be, and the worst. And yet, truly, as time goes by the raw sadness transforms bit by bit as happy memories stand side by side with the hardest ones. My baby helped me make it through that really difficult time. I still miss my dad every day, but I see him in her smile and mop of curly hair, and her stubborn individualism. In his last days my dad dreamed of my sister's baby and she was born much as he said she would be- they had already met! Have faith that your mother's spirit is there watching over you and your beautiful family.

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  82. Much Love. Welcome to the world, little doll. <3

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  83. Oh my. What sadness and joy. I'm sorry for your deep loss and thrilled for you to have your little girl. You are passing all those blessings your mom gave you to all of your children and in that way, too, she is never gone.

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  84. I am currently living this very same heartbreaking moment in my own life.....
    Loosing my Mother a little each day, uncertain if the baby girl I am carrying will get to meet her or not.
    Reading this is like a salve to my weary heart --- Thank you

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