Weird...here I've been told grief ended at one year...I guess all those well-meaning and totally smart people who know about these things even though they've never experienced them were wrong. How odd! (*Please read the preceding with large quantities of sarcasm).
I opened my eyes to the second year of his absence with the same emptiness and longing I've had since he left. I guess it's time to begin year two of missing him. Only 40-60 more years of this until I'm done.
In a way, I feel very much the same as I did on the day after he died. It's like a numbed shocked sadness and hollowed out feeling. I'm somewhat reliving those moments in the hospital. I can feel it. It was terrible. I didn't even get to hold him. It was over and there was nothing I could do about it. That's how I feel about his first year: It's over and there's nothing I can do about it.
This past weekend, we celebrated and remembered our sweet little guy.
Our plan for a while had been to go to the zoo on his birthday. We both decided that's what we would have done if he were here, so that's where we wanted to go. We also both agreed that we would feel it out when we woke up, and not push ourselves if it was overwhelming. Staying in bed all day was a perfectly acceptable option, should we so desire.
The weather has been crazy here. It's been snowing and very cold for the past week. So we were not even sure if we'd be able to go.
Friday was very hard. I spend the majority of it just staring off into space or sleeping. The weight of the upcoming days was just too much for me. When Bryan came home, we talked and looked at the weather and decided to go to the zoo Saturday instead, since it wouldn't be snowing/raining that day.
We both had lots of trouble sleeping. When we finally got up on Saturday, we both felt okay to go. So we bundled up and headed out to the Como Zoo. This zoo also has a conservatory, and I thought it would be something beautiful to remind us of heaven.
We arrived and gathered up our courage as we watched all the families with kids and babies walking up to the door. "We can do this for him", we agreed and walked inside.
We went to the conservatory first to see all the lovely plants, gardens and water features. It was very beautiful. The lower garden room smelled exactly what I think heaven smells like. Fresh, beautiful and wonderful. It was very busy. I wish we could spend time there alone.
|We dropped some coins in for Samuel.|
|The smell is wonderful|
|the red lilies were just about as tall as me!|
|HUGE red flowers|
|I know Samuel would have loved to watch the water and fishies|
|Tiny little pineapples - no bigger than an egg|
There were some really cute and fun to watch monkeys chasing one another. I wondered what he would have done when he saw them. There was a seal that was playing catch with a Frisbee. I know he would have really enjoyed seeing it.
|Huge, sleepy monkey|
|Crazy, huge, hairy monkey|
|Zebras (inside for the winter)|
|17 foot tall Giraffe (also inside)|
|Sleeping Polar Bear|
|Frisbee throwing seal|
We went out to a nice dinner after we left and then went home.
We were both very tired and worn out, but we both agreed it was good we went.
We stayed up until midnight. There were lots of tears and memories. A year without your heart feels like a lifetime and a moment. I can't believe it's been a full year. My baby's not a baby anymore. We missed it all.
After a fitful night of tossing and turning, we both woke up. What do we do?? We had no idea.
I'd been toying with the idea of going to the hospital to thank the nurses who helped us when Samuel was born. Obviously, I have lots of negative feelings about that hospital, but I know the nurses cared. We decided to take them a card and some cupcakes. I also decided to bring the rest of the stuff from the hospital boxes and see if they would take them.
In spite of the rain and cold, we walked up to the floor where I had visited so frequently that week one year ago. The place where he came into the world and the place where I died inside. One year ago exactly. We were there at the same time as I had checked in that final time. It was surreal.
As we walked in, I noticed a man crying and another man holding him and comforting him. There was a group of doctors and nurses all gathered around in the nursery. I wondered if another baby had died. Why else would it look like that? I hope I was wrong.
We walked to the desk and we both immediately recognized the two woman there. They had both been there for Samuel. The woman we spoke with remembered us right away. We told her is was Samuel's first birthday and we wanted to say "thank you" for taking care of us. We gave her the cupcakes and the bag of things for parents who lose a baby. She took them and said how special they will be for families who need them. She gave us both hugs, we thanked her and left. I hope that when the staff eats the cupcakes, they remember our boy <3
(Side note: isn't it CRAZY how easy it was for me to give the box items to the nurse? She took them right away and thanked us. Why on earth did I ever bother with asking? We should have just brought them in to the OB floor in the first place! Oh...bureaucracy...gross.)
We came home just in time to watch the clock tick over to 6:28pm. Happy First Birthday, Samuel! We lit his candle and sang the saddest version of happy birthday that's ever happened. How is this our life?
We ate some cake and cried, then we released one of the animal balloons for him.
|Daddy's notes <3|
|Mama's notes <3|
|Samuel's special candle, next to the box of his ashes|
|I re-assembled the cake (it's been the fridge) and we blew out his candle together.|
|Zebra cake mix!|
We watched the huge balloons tumble and flop around as it went up and imagined him waiting to grab it as it flew up to him. Oh my goodness, we sure to miss him.
What a huge mess.
This is the opposite of how our life should be right now. But there is nothing we can do except just keep going, day by day.
There is one thing I know for sure: Samuel is one loved and missed little guy <3
We were very fortunate to have so many people support us this past week for his birthday. We asked people to write him name in a special way and we got some really amazing responses. Click here to see them!
We also have received texts and cards, flowers and cookies, stuffed animals and gifts, balloons sent up and donations made in his name. All of these things are very special to us and we appreciate them all.
If you were one of the people who participated: THANK YOU SO MUCH! They really helped us feel good that he was remembered. Thank you for taking the time <3 We have some great friends, family and supporters.