Yesterday was the four-month anniversary (fourth luniversary?) of Levi's heaven birthday.

Thanks to some wonderful friends, I got to spend the weekend at a scrapbooking retreat, and chose to use that time to add pages to Levi's memory album.

I had started the album in July as a way of trying to remember some of the good things and good memories of his time with us. All I could think about every moment of every day was the accident, about how he died in my arms, reliving every moment of that horrible morning. No matter how I tried, I couldn't think of anything else about my little boy for longer than a few minutes.

I worked on the album pretty steadily for a week or so, and it did what it was meant to do--started the healing process and helped me to move past the trauma a little. However, after that our summer travel plans and the necessary evil of office work took priority, and I didn't do any more pages on the album until Friday night.

I probably seemed excessively quiet to those at the retreat who didn't know me or what was going on. I didn't even have the armloads of traditional scrapbooking supplies--I just brought my laptop, travel mug, and a box of tissue and sat working pretty quietly all weekend. (Except when I had to disappear to go cry in the bathroom.)

I am glad that, even though I didn't take as many photos and videos as I wished I would have in retrospect, the ones I have tell so many wonderful stories of Levi's life. It is also hard, but healing, to remember all the precious things he was to us, and to be thankful.

Being thankful--I think that is part of learning the new way I must relate to him. I'm still his mommy. I just don't get to parent him anymore. And that's tough to process.

I am trying to learn to be thankful for the time we had him, instead of angry that it was so short. That's a hard thing, too.

I am also trying to remember all the many blessings in my life I still have to be thankful for, that Levi was not the only one I loved or who loves me.

So today, here are the reasons I feel lucky:

  • My husband and other three boys--they are all really awesome. I am a blessed wife and mother. They ground me and give me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. They bless me with their laughter and love.
  • My friends and extended family. As hard as the circumstances were, this year I have seen nearly every person in the world that is dear to me (barring some who were not able to travel to see us), and have been reminded how much love surrounds us. Some of them I have seen multiple times, despite the travel distance required for the visit. That's pretty awesome.
  • Though I haven't been able to "quit work", the type of work I do allows me to grieve when I need to. Also, the creative aspects of it are actually helpful in my healing process, and give me a welcome distraction at times.
  • My church. Wow, what an amazingly supportive group of people. When we moved back to Canada in 2009, we chose to come back to Peace River primarily because of the support network we had here, and this summer has reiterated the wisdom of that choice. Our friends, and even acquaintances, from our church have provided for needs we didn't yet know we had and have been so supportive along this journey, in small and big ways.
  • New friends. Again, the circumstances are hard, but there are many of you reading this that I never would have come in contact with if it were not for you reaching out to support us through prayers and words during this time. I have been amazed at how many people in this world truly care about others in need, even those they have never met. Thank you. And if you haven't reached out, but are still reading and praying, I thank you, too.

Last weekend, we went to visit friends in the Okanagan valley in British Columbia (auspiciously so Jason could run a 22 km Spartan Race). Also, I have been very busy planning our fall Comedy Night fundraiser for Faith Children Home for the last two weeks, since that is coming up fast.

I have been too busy to post, but was still processing some thoughts during my "blog silence" that will most likely make their way here in the next little while. Some of them even ended up in a song, which I hope to record and post this week.

In the meantime, feel free to check out the new layouts in Levi's Scrapbook, if you're interested.

When we're in the midst of trials, it is easy to forget how lucky we really are.

How are you lucky, friend?