One week from today, my baby should be celebrating his 4th birthday.
Instead, it's just another year gone by that I am left to wonder who he would be.
Over the past few weeks, I have done a lot of traveling.
Two weeks ago, my husband and I took a week long camping trip, just the two of us. July is our anniversary month and this year we celebrated 10 years of wedded
I guess that is normal when you are married at 20 years old and don't really know who you are. Add four children, jobs, college, death, and houses into the mix, and you learn who you are and who your spouse is. We have spent the past 10 years growing up together and it's been exhaustingly wonderful.
As Shane stated last night, our love is deeper and more firmly planted than it was 10 years ago. We have survived and thrived. We have loved and lost and stayed together through it all. I've cried silent tears of thanks that our love and our marriage has remained. I can't imagine losing him after everything else.
Last week, the kids and I went on a small road trip to Maryland to visit my friend Marina. Marina and her husband lost their son, Charlie, to HLHS 4 years ago also. They are now raising Charlie's surviving twin brother and also his rainbow baby sister. Marina and I met shortly after her sons were born and she was quick to offer encouragement and wisdom before Joshua was born. Our friendship has grown over the years and we have found sacred space in the deep crevices of our friendship.
The kids and I spent a week with Marina and her family last week. Even though it was chaotic with 5 kids under the age of 8, it was so comforting to be with someone who understands. She knows the pain and heartache of saying goodbye to her baby. She knows the pain of having to learn to live without him. She knows the joy of a rainbow baby, but also the struggles that accompany new life. She knows the struggle to balance grief with joy, anxiety with letting go, and raising children while in the thick of grief.
I am safe with her. I can cry without having to explain myself. She, the same. We don't have to speak about the pain. We can just sit in silence and share each others pain. We don't have to explain why we do the things we do, especially when it comes to raising our children. We understand the anxiety and the overwhelming need to keep our children close. We just get it.
One day, when I stepped out of the shower, she could tell I had been crying and she knew why. She simply followed me into my bedroom and offered a hug and shoulder to cry on. That is sacred. She understands and supports and loves because she, herself, knows.
But now, I'm home. The tears have been falling, often silently. I don't want to share them any more. I hide them. I don't talk about them. I just let them come and conceal them from others.
After four years, I've found that I'm tired of explaining them. I'm not overwhelmed with grief and sadness like I once was. But the tears are there. My mama heart hurts for a baby that isn't. Small things remind me of the loss. Big things remind me of the life that won't be. And the ache in my heart works its way out through my tears. I'm not necessarily looking for comfort from others, or searching for answers to life's big questions. My tears are simply signs of a mother missing her child.
Four years have passed. My grief has changed. Joshua's birthday is a painful reminder of what is gone- a birthday without the birthday boy; another school year beginning without my child.
My heart aches. My soul cries out. My arms yearn to hold the child that he would be. But it just isn't, and tears are all I have left.