This photo is of the gathering we had directly after her funeral. The wonderful church family we have gave a memorial dinner and we did a balloon release directly after. This was the beginning of the new for us. I never thought something as simple as watching a balloon float into the sky could raise such emotion in me. But it reminds me of how quickly Dakota left and how silent her passing was.
Our oldest daughter watched each balloon until they were out of sight, while I cried and my husband held me. This moment in time reminded me just how important family really is. That's when I made the promise to our daughter Dakota that I will NEVER let her go. Her memory will always remain alive as long as I am alive.
Each holiday that passed, we decorated her grave site with different items to show we were thinking of her. The firsts are the worst but we made it through. The heartache was unbearable at times. I couldn't have imagined that when I turned 26, I'd be mourning the death of my child.
We dedicated a small part of our living room to her, which over
time became half of the living room. So many wonderful people wanted to help us remember our precious daughter. I can't express how much this meant to me and still does. Every time I share a thought or a part of my grieve with those who have followed our journey, they always leave words of encouragement. But most of all, it showed me that I'm/we aren't alone.
Another way I remembered Dakota was in a book dedicated to her and her story. I wanted people to know who she was and what had happened to her. So, through the pain and tears I wrote her story. As a tribute to her I made sure it was published on October 15, 2013, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. My hopes for her book is that everyone out there reads it and learns. But most of all I pray her story helps others who are going through the same thing and they can find hope like I did. My faith remained strong and I straightened up my life so I can be with her again.
I pushed through my grief and my hope was restored. Dakota taught me a lot over the past year and I am so grateful God chose me to be her mother. The 40 weeks 5 days I had with her will always stay with me.