1. Write about it. Write about every curve, intonation, juxtaposition, curl of the lip, gut-punch in the stomach, facial expression, door slamming shut, every feeling that happens because of the door slamming shut, eyes burning, just write and write some more.
2. Say Grace out loud as often as I can.
3. Connect Grace to my father, my father to Grace and then connect them again.
4. When people ask how many children I have, say four! Four. And mean it.
5. In the same way that I own my joy. Live it every day. Grief and joy side by side.
6. Connect my five-year-old self when my own father died to my son who was five when his sister died.
7. When people ask how old my children are, tell them. And every year increase their age by one, except for Grace's in which you respond dead every time and never change your answer. Dead.
8. Remember when your grandmother told you that she never for one moment forgot her first born son who died, and that she was afraid to talk about him out loud because she was supposed to "get over it." Never get over Grace. Remember your grandmother each time because you miss her too.
9. Remember that the depth of your grief is equal to the depth of your love and no less. No. Less.
10. Forget about the stupid people and how they still say stupid things once in a while. If you are feeling especially gracious, say a prayer for them. But don't be hard on yourself if you don't.
11. When someone brings up "God" and "Grace" in the same sentence, put up all your protective walls. Remember they mean well, but it never comes out sounding that way. God does not kill babies.
12. Be with my other children, fully present, and teach them kindness, empathy, compassion and love. Because nothing else matters. Love just love.
13. Sometimes by crying, but rarely in front of anyone else, and mostly by myself in the car while driving. Sometimes, late at night when everyone else is asleep.
14. Sometimes by simply feeling like the loneliest person in the world.
15. By listening to other people's stories and grief and giving them a safe place to say the darkest things.
16. Once in a great while still, not wanting to hold someone else's baby. Very rarely. But still sometimes, it stings too much.
17. By remembering every day, I am alive, and Grace is not. And being okay with both things some of the time. And some of the time, not being okay with it at all and wanting to throw yourself down on the ground and kick and scream.
18. Each May, each May succumbing to my body's own darkness and sitting with it and still learning to be okay with it.
19. By shouting expletives and saying them under my breath too.
20. Say Grace out loud as often as I can.