It's hard to imagine that we've lived an entire year without our son. Hard to believe it's been 365 days since I last held him in my arms, snuggled him close, sang to him, dressed him, read to him, breathed in his scent and whispered "I don't want to forget..." a million times. I was so afraid the freshness of it all would fade. There are days that is has, and it scares me, but there are also days when I'm right back there in that hospital room. I welcome and need both of those types of days. I allowed myself time this week to go through his photographs, the ones I treasure so much. I looked through all of his hospital keepsakes: his footprints in my bible, his locks of hair, his sweet and tiny hat and gown. I read all the cards, all the notes, even some of the facebook messages from around that time. I treasure everything I have that makes it all seem real. Because it was. Sometimes it still seems like a dream, so to have these tangible items means the world.
Christian is so missed. Sometimes it still takes my breath away when I think of just how much. I wasn't sure how I would feel on his birthday. I set no expectations beforehand. I wanted to celebrate the day we met our son, and celebrate him being in heaven for a whole year. Yet, how could I truly celebrate that when we miss him so much? It is hard to accept sometimes that he isn't here with us. I wanted to find ways to honor his memory, to remember our time with him, to relive the bittersweet memories without making it a day of complete doom and gloom for Chase. I believe that God has things in store on Christian's birthday in years to come in how we can use his story for good in teaching Chase about eternal life - what a gift it is, and what it personally means to our family. It means everything.
The support we received this week and the days leading up to Christian's birthday was so important to us and so very appreciated. I've heard from some other baby loss families that year #2 can be hard because families start to realize that this is always how it's going to feel. After the first year, all the "firsts." That is scary, because I know life goes on for everyone, but we will always have a hole in our family. We will always live with the what could have beens, the lost hopes and dreams we had for our family. Having Christian be remembered means the world, so thank you from the bottom of our hearts!