2019 isn't even halfway over yet and the Rivera family has already been through so much. It honestly feels like we're drowning in ways and just waiting to catch a break, to be pulled above the waves so that we can catch our breath. We started off the year excited to meet our newest edition, but things began getting dim when Franky's beloved German shepherd, Smokey, suddenly lost the ability to walk on his hind legs in February. After several vet visits, some antibiotics and pain medication, we still don't know the reason for the sudden change. Franky has literally been this dog's nurse from the moment it happened, assisting him outside four times a day, everyday, without fail. He has had Smokey several years before we were married and his bond with his fur baby is strong. We are now looking at the possibility that we may need to put him down and it's heartbreaking.
The year continued with the sudden passing of my father-in-law. Words cannot describe how dedicated this man was to the Lord, how he preached God's Word every chance he had, and how much he loved his family. Even if he knew that you loved the Lord, he was expanding on that love and would continue to encourage you in your walk. I remember the last conversation I had with him was about a week before he fell ill. I was in a hurry to get to work and my in laws came over to watch Khloe since Franky was working. As I prepared to rush out the door, he stopped me and simply told me how proud he was of me and how he admired my strength as both a wife and a mother. I remember thinking, "Well, I don't feel strong...", but for some reason, his words stuck with me and lifted me up. They reminded me that yes, I am doing a good job, my husband and and my daughter know that I love them, and even though I feel like my house is never the way I want it, it is lived in which shows that there is love in this house.
The void the Frank Rivera left in our lives is still unbelievable. It still feels like he is simply on vacation and we are waiting for him to return. It's still hard to comprehend that we will never hear his voice, I will never receive an accidental FaceTime call from him, Khloe will only have memories of pictures and videos of him, and Natalee never had the chance to actually meet him. That hurts me the most, he never learned that he has another precious granddaughter who was days away from meeting him. Natalee Faith will only know her grandpa through the stories we will tell and videos we will show her. I never thought this would be the course of any of our parents.
Now we rush into today. I don't even feel like I can take it. Like I said, it's an overwhelming feeling. Our little eagle would have turned two today. We would have celebrated him and then thrown a big party for him this weekend. Two years already. Two years since I laid on that table as they cut me open to get him out. Two years since I anxiously waited to hear his cry that never came when he was pulled from the only home he knew in my womb. Two years of living by his memories and daily wondering what he would be doing in our crazy family. Again, Natalee will be told of her amazing big brother and his strength in life. We miss him every single day, but today is definitely a harder day.
I continue to fight to remember my blessings. The devil likes to steal our joy and lately, it feels like he's been winning. BUT, even in my sleep deprived state, when I turn over to look at this sweet, precious baby as she cries out in hunger, I remember my blessings and remember that even in the midst of our storm, God is waiting, our breakthrough is coming, and the blessings will never stop flowing.
So yes, sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. I'm trading it all for the joy of the Lord and walking in faith knowing the Lord has our family right where He wants us.
Happy Second Birthday Ezio! Mommy, Daddy, and your sissys love and miss you!