Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Reflections on a Year

Has it really been a year? Where did the time go? Tomorrow is the anniversary of the worst day of my life. One year ago at this very moment, I was enjoying what I assumed would be my new “normal” as a mom of my brand new son. We were home, and learning the ropes of parenthood after being released from the hospital the day before. Then the next day came and my whole world came crashing down so very quickly. The worst happens to other people, not me. Will my life be defined by tragedy? Turns out yes.

I have spent the last year living day to day. Sometimes breath to breath (when I could breathe at all). I have been numb, raw, driven, slowed down, disorganized, inefficient, and everything in between. I don’t remember much of it. I know I have worked hard. I know there have been days when I can hardly get through. The only reason that I can stand here before you forming any kind of coherent thought is thanks to an incredible army of people, some of whom I knew before this happened, and some are wise souls that get what this journey is all about that have come out of the woodwork to see me through another day. It is the kindness and generosity of these people, along with some drive deep within me to not give up.

I do it for him. I do it for both my boys really. I do not want Noah’s soul to bear the burden of thinking that his short innocent life ruined mine. I look at his picture and remember his sweet spirit and know that I have to get up every day and try harder for him. He deserves a mother who keeps fighting. I do it for Aaron because he is an innocent spirit coming into a family amidst unfathomable tragedy, and he deserves to not have to pay for that. He deserves parents that can be whole for him.

My faith has certainly taken a beating this year. That will just take a while to repair. I look at God differently now. I suppose I always will. I will never again believe that he is who I was always taught that he was. I was clearly so wrong about so many things when it came to him. Forgiveness, and rebuilding of this relationship is what I hope for in the future. I am open and willing to keep trying. Pray for some clear messages there.

I had such a hard time in the beginning feeling like a real mother. I did it for such a short while after all. That’s different now. I do feel like a mother, but the thing is that I have had to embrace what that means – being a mother of a child that has passed away. I can’t clothe him, feed him, read him books or put him to bed at night. To be Noah’s mother is to always be the one that holds the candle for his memory. I will spend the rest of my life screaming from the mountaintops, letting anyone who can hear me know that he existed. He was special, and worth knowing. We will always celebrate his birthday. We will always have a stocking hung on our mantle with his name on it at Christmas. There will be Easter lilies up front at church for him on Easter. I will always make a way for him to be present at holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, and other special occasions to remember him. That is my job. That is what it is to be his mother, and I will do it maybe with an edge of panic that no one wants to hear it or be a part of it, but with pride over this amazing person that Chris and I made.

Sitting here a year later, I am very raw leading up to this anniversary. Coming up to it, it has felt like a return to where I was just after I lost him. I was numb, and didn’t feel “bad” exactly, but evidence of the trauma was there. I would make stupid, scatterbrained mistakes that I would never ordinarily make. I would think I had the car in drive, when it was really in reverse. I would write things down on the wrong day in my calendar. I would shuffle from one thing to another, only half completing everything. A day would pass and I had no idea where I had been or what I had done. I have been feeling like that again this last month. As the days to this week have gotten closer, I have tipped over into more raw emotion. I cry a lot. I feel very nostalgic. It is a blessing and a curse to be here. Every day that passes is another day away from Noah. Yet, every day that passes and I make it just a little bit further, I feel more and more like myself, or a new version of me anyways. I want to feel normal, but I don’t want to lose any more of my son. Memories of him.

I have one more task to face to close the last of the physical Noah business. I have to move him out of his room for his brother. We need the nursery. This tears my heart apart, but it must be done. So, we are spending this anniversary making a special chest that will be put in our room that will hold all of Noah’s things. There aren’t many things, as he was only here for four days. But to have everything that reminds us so much of him all in one place safe and sound and close to us feels good. It will be our permanent Noah remembrance spot that we can always come back to, rather than having to dig through this drawer, or that corner of closet to find all of his things. That makes it feel ok. The nursery will be redecorated for Aaron so that it will be his own unique space. The act of doing it feels terrible, but the end result will be good.

Aaron is the silver lining in all of this. Getting to this year anniversary is painful enough as it is. At least the sadness has rays hope in Aaron. He is coming, which means the noise and activity that we dreamed of having in this house will finally be fulfilled. We still have a lot of work to do on ourselves as we move forward, and we have not shied away from any challenge yet. But, amongst all of it, there is this wonderful potential for joy in him. We need this little boy so badly. Just to come here to us and be him, whatever that means to him. We are open with loving hearts to embrace all that he brings with him – his thought processes and choices, his sense of humor, the ups and downs of his life. We are more open to go with the flow with him in a way we might not have been had we not lived through this. His life is an absolute blessing and miracle, and we are so eager to see what he has in store for us. The thought of his arrival propels us forward to work harder, smarter, and faster in whatever way we can to be the kind of parents we feel he deserves.

We’ll see what year two has in store for us. The experts all say that the first year is the hardest. Maybe the load will be easier to carry. Maybe not. All we can do is keep trying the best we can. The journey is far from over, but at least we have braved some of the worst of it.


Blogger Alyce said...

So much of life-all in one year.
Thinking of Noah today,

9:20 PM  

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