You are our joy.

This weather reminds me of our deep grief and the redwoods beckoning us toward them. Their rain soaked bark, the intense reds, browns, greens, lifting our eyes up toward the sky, carrying with them our hearts. 

And the redwoods will forever bring us back to gratitude. For you, our people, who rallied around us and surprised with the funds to make our trip more feasible. And the gratitude swells much wider still to all of you that have "sistered" us as we shouldered our grief through this last year.

It is overwhelming at times - your love for us.
Elizabeth Gilbert captures this well:

In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.
— Elizabeth Gilbert - Eat, Pray, Love.

We could never repay your great kindness. And as our list of "thank you's" has grown, I began to think you may be blessed to see how your love was joined by the love of so many others. So this is an outpouring of our gratitude in response to your pouring out of love on us.

(Please accept it in place of a hand-written note - though many of you know how much I love those.)

{Thank you}

For the many beautiful bouquets and the one that came a year later.
Thank you for twenty-five meals delivered along with the many gift certificates to our favorite places to eat. 
Thank you for loads of orange juice, groceries and a special delivery of captain crunch cereal.
Thank you for comfy pjs, nail polish and a pedicure kit.
Thank you for countless cards, letters, and a mystery package filled with personalized mementos, poems and a cd that was put away in a drawer then retrieved almost 9 months later meeting us where we needed at just the right time.
Thank you for the priceless photos that captured the fleeting moments we had with our daughter.
Thank you for loving on the people that were tirelessly loving on us.
Thank you for cleaning our house and shoveling our driveway.
Thank you for tucking us in with tea and sandwiches when we returned home from the hospital with newly empty arms.
Thank you for paczkis.
Thank you to our nurses who tenderly cared for us and our family, who made molds and mementos, who cried with us and walked us through each heartbreaking step.
Thank you for packages of candy, candles, aromatherapy and beer.
Thank you for drawings & paintings & the colorful pages from your pirate coloring book.
We have proudly displayed them all.

& most significantly... 

Thank you for being with us, for sitting with us in our deep grief, for gathering with us around the redbud we planted in our back yard, for calling - every day, for stopping by invited or not. Thank you for all of the quiet ways that you have loved us, many that we do not even know. Thank you for grieving and missing our daughter with us. We know that we are not the only ones tending to an Eloise-shaped hole. 

You, dear friends, are our great joy and our hope. For you we are forever and sincerely grateful. 

~ J&K Bergman