if someone told me years ago that one day ali’s face would be on the front page of the sunday paper, i would have believed them. she was always involved with plenty of events that were publicized, a number of reasons to be recognized. now here she is, her beautiful face, on the front page of the biggest local paper, on the highest sales day, celebrating her life. HER LIFE.
the enquirer contacted ben and i shortly after the funeral. they said that they noticed how ‘viral’ my letter to ali became on facebook and started reading more about her on my blog. at first they just wanted to just write a short column in the obit section, then a week later it turned into a regular article. before i knew it, we had a photographer at my house taking mine, ben and olivia’s pics (viewable online) with the news she was going to be on the front page of the sunday paper in color. holy cow. there were two different editions, the images above and below.
you can read the actual article on cincinnati.com if you didn’t get a chance to see it, it’s pretty awesome. (thank you to jessica brown for writing it so delicately.)
i can sit here and tell you that i was waiting in anticipation for the paper to hit the stands, but then i’d be lying. i was dreading it. that sunday was like reliving the “day after” all over again. at 6am the texts, phone calls, emails and fb posts started ringing in on my phone. all very sweet and supportive telling me how beautiful the article was, an an incredible tribute. i was a mess the whole day. i couldn’t bear to look at her face on the paper, not that day, i needed to wait. especially since i spent a couple days before with adam and ben redesigning the rockpink4ali site. i had to pull a bunch of images of her for the site and get it updated for the release of the paper. all images are hard to look at, but lately it’s the ones from before she was sick that get to me the most. the images i took of olivia’s birth and different family sessions (all can be seen under the category “ali” on this blog). it’s the ones where she is so damn happy and had NO IDEA what her future held. all she knew in those moments was happiness and a lifetime ahead of her being the wife and mother she always dreamed of. i can’t explain the deep pain i feel when i look at those images, i guess only someone who has grieved can understand.
when i finally did get the courage to flip the paper over (which sat on my kitchen counter upside down for over 24 hrs) my heart sunk all over again. a wave from head to toe took over my body. within a millisecond i couldn’t see through the tears dripping all over the paper. i tried to read it as adam stood behind me rubbing my back and clearing my tears. i got about a paragraph in and i started to get sick to my stomach. i had to turn away and let adam hold me as i shook just like i did in the ICU that night. he encouraged me to keep reading because it was a really nice article and i would be so proud to be her sister. i finally finished. i was proud. i was honored. but it just reminded me of how much we all want her back and how unfair it is. people can tell me a hundred times over how wonderful, inspiring, loving she was, but none of that takes away the pain. it may take a little bit of the sting away, but not much.
i feel like recently i have been a blink away from tears at all times. with the postpartum hormones being completely out of my control on top of this, i just can’t hold them back some days. when i’m out in public i don’t let myself think about her, even when every thing around me i can so easily correlate with her. everything. especially this month. how cruel it is to lose a loved one just before the holidays. when i’m at home it’s the hardest, especially into the quiet of the night. that’s when i pray through her and try to feel her presence. i continually ask her to bring me peace and help me through each day. i know she would never ever want me to sit on a pile of tissues because of her. we have to learn how to live without her here physically.
at the beginning of december about 25+ of ali’s friends gathered at ben’s work to decorate. most years she did it alone unless one of us could help. it was crazy to think it took so many of us hours to complete what she did all by herself in a day! it looked great, but not nearly as perfect as she did it. i didn’t do much that night since i just gave birth, but it was my pleasure to top the tree for her.
adam took a couple iPhone pics for me.
last week my mom, britt and i finally gathered the energy to decorate her house. each year we help each other put up christmas decor at our houses as part of our holiday traditions. mine takes 1/3 of the time hers does! mom did the rest of the house as britt was doing everything but decorating. she claims she didn’t get that gene, i think shes just afraid of the glitter. ;) i was the only one who knew how to make 650 ornaments fit on a 7ft pine, so fancying up the tree was my job. there is a method to the sparkle madness, believe it or not. we tried to keep it how she’s done it in the past but dang, she has a lot of stuff and it wasn’t easy. plus we had done our annual days after christmas sales shopping last year and she had bought a bunch of new stuff. it breaks my heart that she never got to put it out herself, i hope we had the same ideas she did.
she always did it up. proof you can never be too festive or have too much fun. And you certainly can never decorate too much.
thanks to all of you out there who have been sending donations, prayers and love our way. my family is really going to need some strength through the rest of this month, your support is keeping our spirits up. i wish i could individually thank everyone who has sent me something personally, but there is just no way. know that it means a lot to me/us and i’m sending y’all virtual hugs right now! xoxo.