Dear August,

You are a month that is so very bittersweet for me.  It was on your 22nd day that I became a mom 13 years ago.  Having gone into labor at 35 weeks, I was so very scared.  But my firstborn, a beautiful daughter, arrived perfectly healthy, and we became a family of three.  August, we shared some great times.

Two years ago, you brought me devastating news, August.  Twice.  After having heard so many heartbreaking words from the doctors.  "She coded during surgery."  "She has no brain activity."  We said goodbye to our littlest girl.  Three months and ten days just doesn't equate to the lifetime I envisioned for her.

Then 5 days later, as we tried our best to celebrate our firstborn's birthday in the midst of such sorrow, I received news of my mom's death the day before.  Really, August?  You nearly crushed me that year.

Last year, you brought us Max.  He's the black and white fluff ball of a dog that you brought to us as we reached the first anniversary of Kristen's death.  The girls adore him, and honestly, he's been good for all of us.  He's brought some joy back into our lives, smiles to our faces.  Despite the occasional accidents on the floor, the trips to the groomer every 6 weeks, the mess he makes when he eats (because he takes a mouthful of food and walks a foot away from his bowl to eat it, leaving crumbs everywhere), and the wet beard he uses to mop the kitchen floor after he takes a drink, he's been very good for each one of us.

When I've been missing Kristen so much and the tears start to fall, he's there.  Even though there are times I look at him and think that if she were here, he wouldn't be.  And I'm glad (that he is), but I'm not (that she isn't).  And I don't want to even go there.  He lays on my lap and seems to sense all that's on my heart.

August, you now bring to a close our first year with Max and our second year without Kristen.  I guess that's just what you hold for me.  Happy and sad.  Joy and pain.  You bring the "stuff" that builds character...and leads to hope.
...but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  --Romans 5:3-4