A month. It’s been a month.
What makes me so sad about Arthur not being here is all the things we will miss getting to do with him, particularly as we hit milestones. I had a lot of fun with Adele in her first year of life photographing her and seeing her grow. If you’ve been friends with me since she was born, you should remember the weekly pictures next to the frog. And her monthly picture in the small chair**. We will miss out on so many things, and not just in this first year. I suspect this will continue to be this way in varying degrees until my own death.
While I think about these things a lot, I try not to stay there. One of the ways I am trying to cope with my grief is not by dwelling on all the mothering I don’t get to do with him, but by finding ways to mother him that will honor him and celebrate his life – what was and what is. Milestones can be hard for parents who have lost a child. But establishing traditions and making attempts to incorporate your child in the life of your family can be extremely helpful in healing after loss. As we returned home from the holidays, I decided it would be good for me to celebrate Arthur each month. I wanted to include Adele too. But I got stuck for a while, not knowing which day to celebrate. We were blessed with an amazing gift of time with Arthur. He spent 2 days with us after he was born, hours we had not expected to have with him. He was born on December 8th. And he died on December 10th. Which one do I celebrate? The day that he was born was an awesome day. The day he passed was the saddest day of my life, but it marks one month of heavenly bliss in the arms of God. Celebrate his earthly birthday or his heavenly one? Like I said, I was stuck here for a few days, feeling both dates were significant enough to celebrate. Finally an idea came to me that could include both.
This Friday, I drove Adele to buy Baby Arthur a birthday balloon. We got it on his one month birthday. It felt good to talk about him with her and it was good for me to go purchase something for his birthday (although the balloon man was kind to us and gave it to us for free, all without hearing our sob story). We brought the balloon home and it stayed with us through the weekend. Today, Sunday the 10th, we went outside before it got too dark and we released the balloon to the sky – celebrating, with Arthur, his first month in heaven.
So here’s to new traditions for this year. Here’s to missing you, celebrating you, and looking forward to my heavenly home, Arthur. Happy Birthday(s), sweet boy!
Thank you for continuing to pray for our family. I have no explanation for how we have come through the last few months and are still standing, other than God has been at work – strengthening us through His Presence, answering hundreds maybe thousands of prayers, and showing us through tangible ways (usually through people) that He loves us. If you have done anything – sent a message, a gift, a meal – you have been an agent of comfort and you are an important part of this story.
While I think we are doing ok, things remain hard. While we are hopeful, our hearts ache. Some days I think I am doing fine, then out of no where, grief and longing hits. Walking by the newborn nursery is hard. Seeing mothers carrying their babies, particularly boys is tough. If you think of us, please continue to pray for us as we move forward into this new year. It is my hope this year to continue to share Arthur with you and the lessons we are learning in the grieving process.
**This post is not about Adele, but as I wrote today, I couldn’t help but go back and look. Here’s the montage of her monthly pictures, how cute is she?!