Having One of ‘Those Days’

Today was one of those days. One of those really hard days. Where missing Penelope Joy feels so fresh. I don’t know why it was like that. I don’t know what made today different. What I do know is that there were several times when I caught myself thinking about her and missing her. Right in the middle of a meeting. And in the middle of working on a project. I even found myself driving home with tears in my eyes as I thought about our baby girl.

I’m sure it has a lot to do with what’s on the horizon.


Christmas was hard last year — nearly impossibly hard. This year, it’s hard in a different kind of way. We’ve settled into our grief and into our life without Penelope Joy. But there’s still a hole. And I can’t stop myself from thinking about how fun our little 15-month-old Pickle would have been — I mean, come on, that’s like the perfect age for Christmas and all its magical joy.

Maybe that’s what it is. Christmas is such a magical, happy time — or, at least, it should be — that so perfectly pairs with the magic of childhood. Don’t get me wrong: I do enjoy Christmas. And I don’t hold anyone’s happiness or joy or magical moments against them. And I think everyone should embrace those things in celebration of what this season is about. But, it makes missing Penelope Joy fresh again.

We’ve certainly found some ways to bring Penelope Joy — and her spirit — into our Christmas celebration. We have many special ornaments on our tree for her. We also buy presents from the Angel Tree for little girls who are around the age Penelope Joy would have been. These things do make her feel closer. (Learn more about how we remember Penelope Joy during the Christmas season.)

Special ornaments

Penelope Joy’s ornaments were some of the first we put on our tree. The angel baby with the star says “2013: A star is born.” The yellow star is our tree topper made by a special friend. The pickle … well … for our Pickle. (The top left ornament is from our first married Christmas together.)

Maternity Photos

After some discussion, we decided to have some maternity photos taken with Sprout. We had some done with Penelope Joy, and I loved love them. But it feels very weird. We’ll basically be having family pictures without our whole family there. I suppose it will always feel strange, knowing that part of our “us” is missing.


I cannot even begin to tell you the joy and excitement we have in our hearts as we await the arrival of our precious Sprout. (Just under two months to go!) It’s pretty much beyond words. And knowing that the doctors have told us our baby looks wonderfully healthy — no signs of any heart or other defects at this point — gives us even more reasons to celebrate.

But every part of this pregnancy has been tinted with what happened with Penelope Joy. And as we look forward with such joyful anticipation to Sprout’s arrival, we’re reminded of our precious Penelope Joy.

We finally unpacked the 14 boxes of Penelope Joy’s things. (You know, for a little girl who never got to come home, she sure had a ton of stuff!) So much of it we’ll get to hand down to Sprout — most of it brand-new, even. Can they really ever be hand-me-downs if they never were used by their original owner?

We spent a lot of time on Memory Lane while we were unpacking those boxes and getting Sprout’s nursery ready. We were reminded of what we missed out on — but also were reminded of the amazing gift we’re being given with Sprout as well. It’s a weird feeling — being sad but oh-so happy at the same time. But, as time goes on, I do get more and more used to those two contradicting emotions living side-by-side in me.

Sprout's nursery is a mix of some brand-new things just for her — and some special items that once belonged to Penelope Joy.

Sprout’s nursery is a mix of some brand-new things just for her — and some special items that once belonged to Penelope Joy.

So, there’s a lot going on. A lot to be overwhelmingly happy about. And some things to be sad about, too. That’s probably why today was one of the hard days. There’s a lot going on — and there’s a lot coming up. And mixed emotions (combined with pregnancy) can be exhausting. I know not every day is going to be hard — and not every hard day will be completely hard. I also know that it’s OK to have hard days and it’s OK to be sad. And I know that the sadness does not — in any way — diminish the joy in my heart about Sprout. Nor does that joy diminish my love for Penelope Joy.



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5 responses to “Having One of ‘Those Days’

  1. Wendy warren

    Today was one of those hard days


  2. Nancy Lueder

    If it helps you at all to express these feelings…I hope so, because they bring all those feelings to us and we weep with you and rejoice with you…it is a mixture of sadness and love, but always love…and Pickle will always be with you. And yes….there are hand-me-downs, b/c there was a big sister; not long enough, but there was…..I know you will always keep Pickle alive b/c she was and is a part of your life. I hope you have a Merry Christmas – with its joys and sorrows, but mostly b/c you are alive and Sprout is growing and…life does go on.



  3. Hi Kimberley,
    Feel like holding your heart in my hands and being there with you even though wee are strangers and I think I might have read your blog once or twice before. I haven’t lost a child myself but a close friend had a baby who died at birth when the cord was wrapped around her neck four times. Sadly, they haven’t been able to have more children. She was given a white bear by the hospital and she sits on their bed and they have birthdays together. For the last 8 years, I’ve been seriously i8ll and fighting for my life and trying to hang in there for our kids. They are now 8 and 10 and I find Christmas hard. Last Christmas, I was having chemo. That provided hope and was a step up from where I was but it would be lovely to just celebrate Christmas without this shadow. So from all the way in Australia, I send you my love. It is such exciting news that you have your sprout but that doesn’t reverse your loss. I have a lot of us and downs with my health and I’ve now realised that it’s about living with contradiction and that’s taken me to a place of understanding and acceptance. Perhaps, that might describe your situation as well…happy-sad. It was inspired by a quote from Anne Frank who described herself as a bundle of contradictions.
    Love & best wishes,


  4. Kimi, I’m always amazed at your gift {and it is a gift} to put thoughts and feelings into words, and then to sort them out in a way for the average person to understand and relate. We love you, and rejoice and are sad with you. 💛


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