In the lead up to April 3rd, I was anxious and scared of how I would feel on the actual day. Would I need to save up my energy so I could cry all day? Did I need to ask my husband to stay home from work to look after me because I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed? Of all the scenarios that went through my head, they were all bad ones. I was dreading this day; the day that would have been my son Lewis’ first birthday. I was dreading the pain that I would feel knowing that I wouldn’t get to spend it celebrating with him. I was fixated on all the moments and ‘firsts’ I had missed out on with Lewis in this past year and I was worried his first birthday was going to be a difficult reminder of that.
AN UNEXPECTED TURN OF EVENTS
To my surprise, the day actually took an unexpected turn. It started with me staying in bed and crying until noon, clutching the blanket some sweet soul crocheted for us to hold Lewis in as he left this world (this is not the unexpected part..) Then miraculously, my husband called and said he’d be home early from work. Great! I perked up a little bit – someone else to share my misery with but it didn’t feel right. Something was off.
As I was brushing my teeth, it dawned on me (here’s the unexpected part) – I realised what I didn’t want this day to be. I didn’t want it to be a day to comiserate, to stay inside and cry all day. I decided to make today into what it was meant to be. Today is Lewis’ birthday – one of the best days of my life! Today should be and is a blessed and glorious day for me and my family. I had totally lost sight of how blessed I was because I actually had a day that I could celebrate him! He is mine! woo hoo!
Lewis lived and he had life, boy, he had plenty of life for a 26 weeker.
KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH REALITY
I wasn’t going to pretend that the sadness of not having him here will ever go away, but today as my husband and I sat at Lewis’ graveside armed with three cupcakes, I finally felt some semblance of peace about this whole situation. And let me tell you, I’ve been feeling anything but peaceful about it up until now.
The mindset and accompanied knowledge of how glorious today truly is trumped the weeks of the dreaded countdown, the devastation, the bitterness, the anger, and gave me some much needed resolve. I am blessed to have given birth to Lewis and my life is infinitely richer for having known his sweet spirit. I love my son, forever. I’ll miss him incredibly until I see him again.
There will be sadness. There will be anger. There will be heartache. There will be emptiness. There will be longing. That will never change. What has changed is my heart. Today I learnt there can be joy and there can be happiness in the midst of this unsolicited situation. I’ve always thought I was ‘celebrating’ Lewis by grieving him and I’d feel guilty about the times where I wasn’t sad and wasn’t feeling immense pain. But I’ve learnt that I can open my heart enough to celebrate him and his memory with joy and with happiness too because that’s what he deserves, that’s who he is – happiness and joy.
NO ONE CAN TELL YOU HOW TO FEEL
(AND WHEN TO FEEL IT)
Tomorrow is the anniversary of Lewis’ passing and I can’t know or say for sure how I will feel but I probably won’t be celebrating with joy and happiness like I did today, and that’s OK. It’s OK to have sad and bad days, especially on anniversaries and holidays.
I’ve learnt that grief comes in waves. Even though it doesn’t seem that way at the time, I know I can weather the storms that come my way and endure for the most part, especially with the love and support of my husband. What’s important to remember is that there’s always a calm, there’s always a light even though it can often be difficult to envision it in the midst of darkness. But I know that it’s there, I try every day to keep going because I know things will get better.
Today was a blessed and glorious day and I can’t wait for the next April 3rd.