Saturday, June 25, 2011

Year 2

Dear Noah,

I think I have been composing this letter in my head about a thousand different ways in the last few weeks. I have had a hard time doing this exercise, trying to put words to the multitude of feelings that I have had swirling within me since we first met.

Somehow it has been two years since our journey began, and no matter what happens in life I still think about you all the time. You are always one of the foremost feelings in my heart . I still look at us and our situation with one another and wonder how on earth this happened. Your father and I look at our house and family and feel incomplete, and have learned that that is something we will just have to somehow get used to – the incompleteness. I am proud to say that we have held firm in how we walk through the world, wearing both our sons on our sleeves. We didn’t get to choose how you exist in this world, but we accept you and love you nonetheless, and we always will.

Speaking of your brother, through a lot of hard work and sacrifice, we have found joy again. I know you were a large part of this story behind the scenes, and the words “thank you” hardly feel adequate. I know that he is someone that you love deeply, as do we. Life between you boys was painful, excruciating and at times hopeless, but we are grateful to be where we are now. He has brought some acceptance with him. To hold Aaron and to feel a healthy child in our arms has showed us how sick you really were. I will forever be sorry that our inexperience as parents caused us to not see what was really going on with you. I know that you weren't meant to spend your life that way, or else our story would have turned out differently. We didn't have a choice in the matter, but I miss you terribly.

Loving and losing you has shaped who I am as a mother. I wonder what kind of a mom I would be if it had never happened and you were still here. Some things would be the same I'm sure. But, I do catch myself making decisions rooted in fear in how I parent your brother. For example sometimes if he naps too long, I get nervous, and I have to wiggle him a bit to make sure that he is all right. Somehow just as I start to get nervous, he will sigh in his sleep or start snoring, and it makes me wonder if you are poking his subconscious to send me a message that all is well. I also have to work at handing him over to friends and family to let him relate to others. That is hard for me to do, yet I know he needs to grow up being a part of this world, and part of that is forming relationships. I keep trying though since all of this is not his fault. Keep sending me strength as I continue to learn to trust. It doesn't come easy.

Carrying the grief is a daily burden. I learned from other parents that it never goes away. Two years in, that is definitely true. It is a weight on my soul that has become a constant companion. I have gotten stronger, and I can hold it better than I used to be able to do. It is always there though. I don't want it to go away. To have it go away would be to really lose you. I hold onto it because what I have of you is so limited, that I grasp at whatever I can get my hands on, good or bad. I know you prefer that I look on you with love and relishing and reliving the happiest of our memories together; those four wonderful days, the really fun pregnancy, the excitement and hope we had for your life. But I need this part of it too.

No matter how much time passes, I still have hard days every so often. Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays seem to bring out the worst in me. I feel you not there so much more on these days. They should be days of family celebration with you in tow. I should see your excitement as you fight over a turkey leg at Thanksgiving, or delightfully opening presents on Christmas Day, or making me homemade cards and macaroni necklaces for my birthday or Mother's Day. Aaron is here to help fill some of that void, but he doesn't replace you. That is too much to ask of him, and not something he could ever accomplish anyways. I hate feeling out of control in any aspect of my life, and I have to admit that I can't always control my emotions around these times of the year. I can do pretty well on most ordinary days. I guess it will take more time for these days of celebration to come back to me as times of joy too.

I will never give you up. There are some in the grief community that think it is good to "let your loved one go" as a part of the healing process. As your mother, I will never do that. You don't give up on your children. Never. You are my son, and your soul will always be tied with mine. We shared one body for the majority of your time here on earth, and I cannot let that go so easily. I love you baby.

Happy birthday sweet boy. Here's to making it through another year. You are always and forever on my heart each day and night.

Lots of love always,