One of my new blog friends recently crossed the first anniversary of losing her son. This is still the toughest date on the calendar for me. I can’t help but think so many things – reliving all that happened, wondering what she’d look like now, what she’d be like now. Grace would be six. She’d be entering first grade and her older, wiser sister – having just finished first grade – would be giving her tons of advice. What would her personality be like? What would she enjoy? What would her talents be? I can’t help but think of all the things she’d be contributing to the world.
Although the first year was the hardest, I’ve come to realize that this isn’t going to go away. One friend told me a story of a 90-year-old woman planning her husband’s funeral and bursting into tears over the memory of burying their infant child more than half a century before. Another told me of how she had lost a sister and she still sees sadness in her mom from time to time. So, I’ve come to accept that this day will always be hard for me, along with the unexpected occasions that bring grief to the surface. I’ve decided to just allow myself to cry, as much as I need to. On any other day, I might shed a few tears but then pull myself out of the sadness and think on the good things that have come from having survived this experience. But on her birthday, I let myself grieve fully. I like to place fresh flowers in the vase that holds her earthly remains. I listen to the songs that have been so meaningful to me, and let the tears that instantly come flow. For me, it is cleansing and therapeutic.
Is your baby’s birthday a difficult day for you? How do you cope with it? Are there special remembrances you do? If you’ve not yet crossed this point, I hope this post will help prepare you. The day may be more difficult than you expect. If you have found this day hard, I hope it brings you comfort to know you aren’t alone and it doesn’t (in my view) mean you aren’t healing. If you find some comfort, my little Grace is indeed contributing to the world even though she’s left it.