Max's first birthday.
that's the word that just kept rebounding in my mind all day long: already? already.... already??
it was a much harder day than i had anticipated. in my journal, i recorded: "i have been on the verge of tears all day..." (a lot of what i'll write below are excerpts from my journal that day).
a little bit about me: i love birthdays. like probably more than the average person loves birthdays. we make em big over here! a whole week honoring the birthday king or queen. because birthdays are special. i love how they are truly a celebration of someone's life - their own special holiday. a day where you get to do all of their favorite things, shower them with all their favorite foods, and give them gifts that remind you of them. it's a day where you remember the year before and all the good things that have happened and changed since that last year and the milestones that have been achieved.
but with a baby who passes away, there are no milestones. no milestones other than the fact of making it through yet another day without being together. and so his birthday felt empty to me -- a day full of realization of all the milestones we had lost over that year. and i couldn't celebrate this birthday in the way i know how; i couldn't watch him eat his cake, i couldn't give him a party or presents, i couldn't invite all of his favorite people to party with us. i felt out of sorts and unsure what to do to honor Max, and how to feel. all i knew was that i was sad. incredibly overwhelmed with sadness, almost like it was all happening all over again.
losing a baby is just so hard.
one huge blessing that came was that my dad came into town for a business trip to San Francisco, and delayed his departure home until the evening so he could spend the afternoon with us. we picked him up after Ellie's violin lesson and he came to our house where we planted forget-me-nots for Max. they are so cute and the girls love love loved doing that! we also made a little batch of cupcakes together and went to our place where we met Mike's family with my dad. we brought a dozen white balloons, one for each moth, and wrote Max birthday messages on them to send some birthday love to heaven. it was the only thing that felt perfectly right that day. i asked my brother Sean to record himself playing the rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow that he had played on the guitar at Max's graveside service a year ago and we played it over my bluetooth speaker while we let go of our balloons. i cried real good when we did that. i felt this incredible sense that he loved it, and that made me happy.
the girls brought him the pots that they had decorated and planted for him and told him about them. honestly my heart aches for them. they'll never know life without death. and i know everyone dies but they're just so young to have this kind of exposure to it. they are so brave, loving, accepting and wonderful and they impress me so much. i am blessed to have such wonderful, kind-hearted children.
after we sang and had cupcakes, M was with his family, and i had a moment with my dad. i felt so overwhelmed with gratitude that he got to be there for me on that day. i didn't know it would be that hard for me, but it was. i desperately needed someone from my family to be there to support me in such an emotional day- and i'm so grateful my dad was there for me. what would we do without our wonderful families?
and of course, i have no idea what i'd do without my best friend. while this has been such a hard thing, i know that it has really brought us together in a way nothing else could. i love Mike more than ever and am so grateful we've had each other to lean on through it all.
happy first birthday, Max. your family loves and misses you so, so much.