The birthday letters I write to the kids every year are letter to them, for them, as they get older. They are notes filled with stories of the people they are turning into. Lines filled with words of accomplishments they have made in the last year!
My yearly letters to you are for me. They are notes filled with stories of how much I love you. Lines filled with how you impacted my life and continue to do so long after you are gone!
9 years! I have a 9 year old! That astounds me and well, honestly makes me feel slighty old!
They say every persons grief is different. Even grieving for the same person, individual people respond differently! The same hold true for years later.
What is even more amazing is that years later people who never knew you grieve for you!
I realize every year on the day of your birth just how much I am loved. Friends, always sweet and kind, seem to realize that on this day in particular I need to be taken care of a little more! They seems to know without having been told or lived through it, that an extra hug, a smile, a kind word will go farther than any other day! On your birthday, I am reminded that while I do all for everyone else, every other day, that on your day I need to be human, I need to take time and let others love me!
On your birthday I am reminded that there is a huge world over which I have no control. There are some parts of me, I have no control over! I am reminded that some of the greatest joys in life are not things that we actively seek out. Some of the finest moments we are given are those that God allows to happen.
It seems that every year that passes someone new learns about you! The reaction is usually the same, you can see they want to be sad, they want to hug you, they want to know how I survived the pain. For some, I suppose it shows I am human! My answer is always the same...I had to survive, I wasn't the one He called home. That letting go is heartbreaking but when left with no choice, you learn to accept. That sometimes in quiet moments, you still cry but for the most part, you are so busy with the chaos, you smile and move on!
I think this year your greatest gift to me has been to show me that no matter how bad life gets, I am a survivor! This hasn't been an easy year, for many reasons. There are times I have been tempted to throw in the towel, give up, walk away from anything and everything. Then I think of you. I look back on the most difficult time in my life, watching my own child go home, and I know that I can survive anything! I am strong, but human. I am tough but easily bruised. I am fearful yet confident.
I have never looked at your life and death as a badge to be worn. I have never thought of surviving the death of my own child to be a coat of armor wrapped around me. Yet, I realize, I am who I am because of who you are.
I look constantly at my tattoo. It warms my heart to see your feet on mine. I wonder would we have spent hours dancing around the living room while you were a small child? When I got the tattoo done, I blogged that it was for me. I sit here now and wonder if this isn't yet another way you are holding me? I love that every time I look at my foot, there are your feet. I hope that others look at it and feel peace like I do. I suppose there are some that don't and may never, but for me, I get a smile that goes straight to my heart!
On 8/25/2000 from 9:30am-12:29pm, I was irrevocably changed. I always say I held an angel that day. Maybe it was the other way around. Maybe you were holding me. Maybe you knew that as the years went by I would need you some years more than others. Maybe you knew then that mommy was only human! I am certain then you knew that I loved, breathed only you!
Before you were born, on your birthday, today, tomorrow, forever....
I love you Andrew Joseph!
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