Yesterday Owen told Sam that he was “the best brother ever!” It was wonderful, and sweet, and heartbreaking. He never got the chance to play with and snuggle his first brother.
I have a million pictures of Owen and Sam. Owen loves getting their picture taken together. This is the only picture we have of Owen and Noah. Taken two and a half years ago today. 💗
I just found this in my drafts from October. I think was waiting for an image to go with it and lost track. And it was rambling. And not entirely on topic. But very much how I was feeling on the day after his 2nd birthday.
Forgiveness. Whew. What do I want to forgive?
I think I still have a lot of anger that this happened. That I was so sick. That he was so sick. It’s just … I haven’t done a whole lot of “why me?” At least not out loud. Logically I know that things happen. That no one has any control. That pregnancy and birth is a messy process, and that frankly, it’s amazing that it goes right as much as it does. It doesn’t make me not angry that this happened. To us. To anyone.
The common loss phrase “too beautiful for earth” frequently makes me irrationally angry. I know that some people find comfort in the idea that their baby was special. That there was a plan, a reason. But there is no reason. Owen has been asking why a lot recently. About everything but also why Noah died. We try to explain the medical side of it. But the truth is, it’s not a question I can answer. We are human, and our bodies don’t always work right. The pieces don’t quite fit the way they should.
Forgiveness. Who am I angry at? Biology? I don’t know. Maybe some day I won’t be angry. That day isn’t today.
Today isn’t a birthday. Or a death day. It’s a “what might have been.” I know that even if he had been healthy, Noah would almost certainly not have been born on this date. But it is the day of promise. From the moment of two pink lines, this is the day we looked towards.
I think for most people, a due date isn’t something you remember in years to come. But when things go wrong, you think of all the hopes you had.
Sam’s due date doesn’t hit me. But as a preemie Owen’s (11/11/11) does. And of course Noah’s (3/11/14) does.
I like the connections. Owen and Noah’s due dates were both the 11th. Owen was born at 10:33, Noah at 10:19. I went into labor with both Sam and Noah on a Thursday, and they were each born on a Saturday. Noah at 10:19, Sam at 9:19.
What might have been. My expected pregnancy with Noah and my pregnancy with Sam don’t overlap. They could both exist. Not likely, since I would have had to ovulate waaaaaaaaay before I’ve ever gotten a PP period. But possible. Enough for me to look around the room at bedtime and imagine a two year old there with my four and one year olds.
Due dates are a day of promise. So today, will always be your day Noah. 💗 We miss you. We love you. Always.
There are nights when I look at my sleeping kids, and all I can think, over and over again, is “please don’t die.”
I had a dream last night that my oldest had died. He was back as a ghost. We played, but he couldn’t talk. And I knew at somepoint he would leave.
A child his in our state was murdered in an act of road rage this week. I try to avoid such news but it has been everywhere. The low level panic from reading about that is wearing me thin. I can’t help but see my child in these stories. I know it is someone’s little girl. And there is nothing that makes me different from them other Han time and place. I know how easy it is for life to change in an instant.
So to my kids, tonight, please don’t die.
I never understood the trend in the loss community to equate our children with butterflies. But this summer, during an exceptionally hard week, a yellow butterfly came to visit our back yard every day. I had rarely seen a butterfly. I now see them all the time. As the seasons change and it gets cold, I will miss seeing them everywhere.
Yesterday at the Walk of Remembrance they did a butterfly release. Owen really wanted to hold a butterfly. He kept not having any luck, but then Dan pointed out one that had landed on me. Owen managed to hold it, and when it flew away, it came back to me. It flew away and then landed back in me three times. It was probably on me for five minutes. I can’t explain it, but I was very emotional when it finally flew away.
Tomorrow is Noah’s birthday. I love and miss you sweet boy. 💙💙💙
It is often said that you didn’t just lose a baby, you lost the toddler, child, teen and adult they would have been. Their first steps, first word, first day of school. Graduation, wedding, children they might have had. And I will think of all of those things when we get to each “he would have…” Kids the age Noah would have been I have already watched have their first words, first steps.
But we also lost the lives we would have had. I can not imagine a single aspect of our lives that wouldn’t have been different had he lived.
Owen plays every week at the park with a little boy just 2.5 months younger than Noah would have been if he had been healthy and made it to term. I get this glimpse of the big brother he could have been to Noah.
Most kids don’t know or think much about death. But we talk about death a lot. He heard me say “oh no” the other day. Nothing catastrophic had happened. But his first response? “Who died?”
I don’t want to go into all the people I might be closer to if Noah hadn’t died. Whether due to something they said, did, or didn’t, or just because of different beliefs, or circumstances of dates. I have just as many if not more people that I wouldn’t be as close to without our losses. Whether we met through loss, or just became closer through the common bond.
Our whole lives are different. I can’t even tell you all the ways. I can’t see all the “what might have been.” But we see glimpses sometimes.
If you see me in October I am near frantic. My todo list is spilling out the door, and I over commit to everything.
I’ll tell you it’s all necessary. It’s the way the calendar is. But the truth is I create the busy. I won’t let you take something off my plate, because then I might have to stop. Have to think. Have to feel.
I fill my days with commitments to organizations, to my kids, to elaborate meal plans, to crochet and memorial projects. Because I can’t stop. October hurts to much to look at.
Elizabeth Stone said “Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Part of my heart is gone.
October is a month of triggers. Reliving every day. From the 1st with what we thought was a “good” ultrasound to the 2nd where we got the call. The crashing bad news of the 8th and 9th. The last moments of the 16th, 17th, 18th. The final goodbye on the 19th. Picking up his ashes on the 23rd. All month I know where I was when.
So I keep busy. Go through with the trappings. Try not to think to much. Because sitting in that space again is scary. It’s overwhelming.
Someday I may be able to slow down. To sit with this month. But for now I keep busy. Because it’s too much.
My biggest regret is that we didn’t have a memorial service for Noah. I was so overwhelmed I didn’t know where to begin. And, I didn’t think anyone would come. I was still worried that people would be “uncomfortable.” Because what death isn’t uncomfortable? And no one knew him like we did. What could people say? There were no memories to share.
We had just moved here. I had been on bedrest as much as not since we got here. And all our family was far away. I still wonder who if anyone would have come. It was so hard to have the world keep turning for everyone else while I was stuck. It would have been nice to have people take the time to just sit with us. To acknowledge that he was here, and than gone, and that he was worth grieving. I think part of me was afraid that I would be more hurt by people not coming, so it was easier to just not.
On his first birthday I was feeling this regret acutely. I considered having one then, but the timing just didn’t seem right. We did get a stone for our garden for him, and we had a balloon release with friends. This year, we are doing something more private, but we are also doing a random acts of kindness drive. I would love if on his birthday, in addition to people sharing what they are doing in his memory, people would share how he has effected them. How they reacted when they heard the news. What thoughts and feelings they’ve had then or since.
Since starting preschool when I was newly pregnant with Sam, Owen has been asked to bring in a family picture three times. I never know what to send. There is no complete family picture. The closest I can get is one like this, that includes Noah’s Molly Bear.
Owen was asked to decorate this lead with his family picture. So he wrote everyone’s names, including Noah’s. He always includes Noah.
When we were on a trip this summer, Owen met a lot of new people, or people he hadn’t seen in awhile. They would inevitably ask him “How do you like being a big brother?” Owen developed a standard response – “Our first baby died. Noah died.”
Not something anyone was expecting. But I think that was the 3 year old way of saying that he was a big brother before Sam. Of insisting that Noah counted too.
Noah is always a part of our family. You may not be able to see him, but he is with us, in our thoughts and our hearts always.
What do I want to get out of this month?
1) I want people to recognize that I have 3 boys, not 2.
2) I want to spend this difficult month remembering and celebrating Noah.
3) I want to share him with the world and help other families going through loss.