Friday was a different day. We made a stop at the annual Christmas gathering for my FIL's family. It's a big family - there were about 30 people there while we were there. I was okay going in, but that was short lived. We weren't in the door 10 minutes and I had to duck back out to compose myself. Several of Jeff's cousins were there with their kids - one has a 3 year old little girl who is more or less how I imagined Gracie would have looked and acted at that age, and one has a son born May 28th. Apparently seeing them together was enough to just knock me over the edge a bit, and it really made me feel what we were missing.
From that gathering we continued to the cemetery, and then to my father's. We were greeted by a little stuffed dog that was left there to watch over Gracie by my husband's friend. We were somewhat disappointed that the solar lights on her trees were not working, but it wasn't a very good day for storing solar energy. Dinner was pretty uneventful, but I had trouble shaking the sad, empty feeling for the rest of the evening.
I think it is safe to say that Gracie was alive in most of us over the last few days. She was present in conversation several times, and she was remembered in a few gifts. Jeff's parents gave us a shelf with a quilt bar so we can safely display some of Gracie's mementos, including the baby quilt that my sister made. She got a few more tree ornaments to compliment the ones already on the tree, and my father and step-mom gave us a beautiful figurine. Perhaps the most touching gift of all was the very unexpected gift from a fellow baby loss mama friend; she and her husband had a star named for Gracie.
On a different note, if you are reading this today (12/27), please take an extra moment to remember angel baby Sophie on her 3rd angelversary. Her mom, Debbie, is a real life friend of mine.