Open your heart and drink.

We are moved. Two weeks ago this weekend the moving truck picked up our belongings from the home in Seattle and delivered us back to our house on Bainbridge Island. This move across the sound isn’t a long one, but there is so much to it for us.

Hannah only lived in this home on the island for a short time. She was born in November and spent a few weeks in the hospital. We returned home, then began our stays at Seattle Children’s in mid-December, and never had a full week without a stay at the hospital until we moved in March of 2011 after her longest consecutive stay in the ICU. If we look at the numbers, Hannah never really lived in this home.

But she is here, everywhere. Outside, the sights and sounds of nature bring us to her – mama and baby deer nibbling our grass; butterflies flitting around the garden; the few late season hummingbirds that swing by. Our back patio is a wonderful spot to sit and relax and observe. Within moments, Hannah is present in nature.

In the house, we have been able to recreate the spaces we love. It is funny to move back into a home you once occupied…things seem to just fall into place again. Our friends helped us host the garage sales last summer that allowed us to shed so many things. Yet still, we have a house filled with memories and furnishings. On Saturday we unpacked the final box – placed the final pictures. It feels good. That kind of good that is deeper than a sense of satisfaction…it feels right.

And yet the tears flow more in the past two weeks than in the past months. The anonymity we had in Seattle is now gone, and we are on an island that knows us and our story. We are fine…we are strong…we have Wes…and yet our hearts ache every day still, for the baby whose life we had welcomed just a few short years ago.

Sometimes it feels like the 16 months with Hannah didn’t happen. How could that life of crisis – ambulances, hospitals, rescues and uncertainty have been ours? We did what we had to so that our family could be whole and we could have our children with us. We were able to love Hannah with as much intensity as any parent can a child, and keep Wes growing and thriving. How did we do it?

I have so much to write, and don’t want to overwhelm myself or any readers on the first blog post for a month, so I’ll end with a video that I received through a friend that recently lost a loved one to Lymphoma. I think when we face health issues (perhaps more than any other time in our lives), we feel gratitude. We see life through new eyes…appreciate small things that may have not even made our radar before. This video is that. Written by Louie Schwartzberg, it is from a recent TED talk and focuses on Gratitude.

The line from the video that I was drawn to while watching the first time was “Open your heart and drink.” Allow yourself the 10 minutes to watch this – it is SO worth it.

My heart is open and we’re drinking in home.

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2 Responses to Open your heart and drink.

  1. Kelly says:

    Allyson,
    Thank you for your thoughts. I took some time this morning and watched the TED talk as well as the Wish You Well video. Both were amazing, soft and gentle. I can’t wait to see you and just hug you. You and your sweet family have been on such a roller coaster of life events. From a spectator’s role, though, I know that you cherished EVERY hill-climb, every thrilling drop and turn. You will remember Hannah. You will see her in Wes and remember the special moments you had through simple, everyday tasks. She is alive and has taught us all so much. Love you and hope to see you soon.
    Kelly

  2. Betty Oneill says:

    Sweet Allyson, I think about you so often. All I can think of when I read your words tonight is God has a plan. You’ve followed his lead and now returned home by his lead again. Hope soon we can have a time for coffee and some talk. Maybe in the yard with Hannahs spirit blowing around us and Wes playing in the breeze. xo

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