Some days are just harder than others, and usually your month birthdays are days like that. I wake up with a deeper ache. It hurts more that there is only one little boy snuggled up next to me in the morning as we wake up. I stretch my arm over the spot next to me and shed some quiet tears that you are not there, while Judah builds his little nest on the other side.
To be honest, this month has had a lot of hard days. It kind of started out on the wrong foot for me - when we let your nine-month balloons go, the wind was weird and they got stuck in the tree in our front yard. I laughed it off, but it actually really bothered me. They didn't float off into the horizon like they usually do, and there wasn't a sense of release or "letting go". Instead, they stuck in our tree and slowly deflated or popped. I tried not to look at them. I am fully aware that when the balloons float away, they come down somewhere and get stuck in some random tree or pop or deflate. I know it's silly, but having it happen right in front of my eyes was disheartening, and it just seemed to kick start a sad month.
This month also contained Easter, which was just hard. Another "holiday" without you... more traditions that should have been with two boys... egg hunts and Easter baskets and enjoying the beautiful spring. Judah was very interested in the Easter story this year, and it was hard to explain it to him in an age-appropriate way. It's not an easy one to comprehend even as an adult. It was such a tender subject for me this year, and I was a bit of a wreck for most of a week. He died and rose again, to save us from our sins... so that we can be together in heaven one day. I just struggled so much with the reality of this world, the suffering, the pain, the separation from loved ones. This life on earth, it is a Holy Saturday. The dark wait before His return, before the "He is Risen!". Some days it seems too much to eek out an existence and hope is hard to grasp.
The countdown to your baby sister is getting shorter, and the emotions and anxiety that go with that have also really hit me this month. She will be born within days of your first birthday in heaven, and I wish I knew exactly when she will arrive so I can prepare my heart a little more for the onslaught of joy and sorrow that will happen in the same week. Moving through the weeks and milestones at the same time of year as I did with you last year is bittersweet. Never in a million years did I think I would be pregnant again this year - I thought I would have you in my arms. "The mind of a man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps" - Proverbs 16:9.
O God, who holds all souls in life;
and calls them unto Yourself as seems best:
we give them back, dear God, to You who gave them to us.
But as You did not lose them in the giving,
so we do not lose them by their return.
For not as the world gives, do You give, O Lord of souls:
that which You give You take not away:
for life is eternal, and love is immortal,
and death is only the horizon,
and the horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
- Rossiter W. Raymond
I came accross this poem some time ago, and I've read it over and over. Yes, God gives and takes away... but not in an eternal sense. Only on this earth. This sorrow-full earth. God gave us you for nine short months here, but for an eternity in heaven. As far-off as that seems, and as painful as this life on earth is... we will see you again. A sweet friend reminded me today that time in heaven is different from here on earth - maybe for you, no time at all will have passed until we meet again in that whole and perfect place in the presence of our Savior. That brings me peace. I cannot protect Judah from sorrow and pain (that is hardest part of being a mother), but you are in the very arms of Jesus - never to suffer, never to want, never to miss us or long for us like we do for you.
A year ago right now, we had just moved into our first house - bought with the anticipation of bringing you home to our own house. One of the main reasons we decided to buy a house was so that our children would have a place to really call "home"... to put down some roots here and settle in. This is your house just as much as it is ours, though you never got to come home to it. I am very attached to it - you lived here inside of me for two months, and I labored here with you before I knew you were gone. It has harbored us during our grief, and helped heal us with it's bright and airy atmosphere. Our first house has very much become our home, and you are very much a part of our home.
I can never predict when a hard day is coming, or what odd thing will trigger deep grief. There have been many hard days this month, and it's been draining. I can understand why - we are getting closer to the one-year mark of saying goodbye to you, and closer to meeting baby sister all at the same time. I am anxious, exhausted (I guess two pregnancies in less than two years will do that), and grieving. I just miss you so much. As we were leaving the cemetery today and climbing into the car, Judah said sadly "But what about baby Theodore? I really miss him"... like he wanted to somehow take you with us. Sigh. We all really miss you. You and baby sister are going to be my Irish twins... I wish you could both be here on earth.
We love you, little Theodore... 10 months old, I can hardly believe it. We've lived a lifetime in 10 months, it seems. And yet I can vividly relive the day you were born. I wouldn't change it for the world, except of course to have gotten to keep you here on earth with us. I love that I got to carry you for nine months, and that we got to meet you... heartbreaking though it was. You are worth it all.
Love, Momma, Papa, Judah, and baby sister