March 15th has come again, the day I took my precious girl to Cold Stone Creamery three years ago. Three years. Sadly, the store on Thayer Street where we went has closed (it's now a Verizon store -- no fun!), so we decided to have our Cold Stone fix at home. Yesterday, while out braving the rain and feeling completely disoriented from the "spring forward" time change, Roslyn and I picked up our Cold Stone out in Seekonk. Thank the universe they had banana and a nice dark chocolate close enough to the kind I had with Natalie. We got a quart to go.
Tonight, the three of us held hands as we remembered our beloved little Natalie. Tears streamed down my face and I did my best not to "lose it" in front of Roslyn. Roslyn said "I love Natalie" and we all said how much we wish she was still here with us. Roslyn wondered what Natalie would talk about (and if she would be able to talk). We assured her that Natalie would definitely be able to talk since she'd be almost 5 by now. I said I bet she'd be quite a little chatterbox, which made Roslyn laugh. We all savored every bite of that delicious, super-creamy ice cream. My thoughts kept returning to Natalie who was so excited to be out that night, a rainy night just like tonight. She kept going over to the window to look out at the people and lights on Thayer Street, returning to where I was sitting nearby with her mouth open for another bite of ice cream. She loved it and I loved that she loved it. We had so much fun.
As March 18th approaches, the dreaded anniversary, Chris and I have both been feeling the heavy weight of that day. We're tired, exhausted. The tears come easy and often. It is an exceptionally difficult time of the year. This year, as we are now six weeks away from meeting our baby son, there's an added layer of emotion. It doesn't make the anniversary easier to deal with or the loss of Natalie any less painful, but it does give us something good to look forward to. And something more to worry about.
For now, I will look forward to more banana ice cream in the coming days. And with every bite, I will think of my little girl who I love and miss more than words can ever express.