Luke’s 2nd Birthday

Here is what I posted on Facebook for Luke’s 2nd birthday. I posted it the night before since I had to work 8 to 8 on Thursday, which worked out well because then I had comments and likes to draw comfort from on his actual day.

“Happy 2nd Birthday tomorrow to my Luke. Our firstborn son. I wish I were getting to see you play with your little brother. I wish I knew what your personality is like. I look at Samuel’s beautiful blue eyes and wish that I knew what color your eyes are. The few photos we have of you do not do justice to the preciousness of your sweet little face. You were so perfect.

I know I will see you again soon. I never worry about you; I just miss you. I am so thankful to have the assurance that you are in heaven and that I will be reunited with you there. I don’t know how anyone survives something like your loss without that. Thank you, Lord, that I have You! You are my comfort and my salvation.

My Luke, you are so loved. On your birthday, as always, I celebrate and remember you.”

I put a collage of his photos too. I am getting a little more brave about sharing his photos publicly as see you guys do so also. I like reminding people that he’s real. This was the collage:
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On Friday, while Samuel was napping, I got out his memory boxes and his little velvet box of ashes and held and looked at everything. I re-read all the sympathy cards we got, which was nice since they were kind of a blur at the time. The item that always makes me cry the most is the little onesie that he wore so briefly. I hug it to me, wishing I could feel his little body in it.

The actual birthday event went pretty well. As with most earthly things, things didn’t go exactly as planned. We had to postpone to Sunday (making it 3 days after his actual day) and then my parents arrived later than we’d intended. My mom brought the cake over unfrosted and forgot icing to write on it with. She clearly felt really bad. Luckily, I had some really old cake gel that Josh dug out and she used. There wasn’t enough to write all the letters, but we got the idea across.

Luke's 2nd bday cake

I started out quiet and down and a little disappointed with the inevitable flaws, but it felt good to do something for him and it ended well. I had asked my dad to maybe say a prayer before we released the balloons, but before we even ate, Josh said, “Alright, I don’t usually do this, but I want to say a prayer.” He had us all gather and hold hands and said a very nice prayer about how he appreciates all of God’s blessing even though he has sometimes expressed anger at God. He spoke about Samuel and Luke and me. I rarely see him pray and I don’t think I’ve even heard him pray out loud before, much less in a public way like that. It was really special.

When we went to let the balloons go, my mom said, “Okay, can we say, ‘Happy Birthday, Luke! Fly all the way to heaven balloons!” She hugged me as I cried and said, “It looks so pretty, Sara, doesn’t it?'” I wasn’t able to say anything, but my mom made many exuberant comments. She had that same spirit of joy for him even when we held his little lifeless body. I don’t quite understand how she can be so joyful in the face of such things, but I appreciate her joy for him. We could only watch the balloons for a little while because it was a windy day and they blew sideways as well as up. But it was pretty and I was able to get some pictures. I couldn’t decide how many balloons to get and finally settled on 7, thinking that it would be 2 for each adult and 1 for Samuel. Seven and three are my two favorite numbers and the number on the emblem on Luke’s ashes is 777, so it seemed fitting. There was a little confusion when dispersing the balloon and we ended up with some of us having 2 balloons and some only having 1, but that was okay. Samuel wore a shirt that said “Little Brother”.

balloon release 2 5-17-15

balloon release 3 5-17-15

balloon release 4 5-17-15

I am thankful for my family’s participation in doing something for Luke. I feel a little bit of the weight lifted now that we have finally had more of an official-type event for him. I love you so much, Luke. Save a place for me.

One Day Until Luke’s 2nd Birthday

Luke 2nd birthday is tomorrow. I should be getting ready for work right now but I feel like I need to write first. It is definitely weighing on me. I found myself thinking about it and crying while I was feeding Samuel breakfast this morning. Then he made me laugh by tooting and grunting and just being cute like he is. I was looking at his beautiful blue eyes in the sunny morning light and thinking how pretty they are and wishing I knew what color yours are, my sweet boy Luke. I’d like to think maybe green like mine or hazel like your dad’s.

The morning after I last wrote, I woke up to a sweet note from my husband saying that he loves me and Luke and Samuel and that we can do whatever I want for Luke’s birthday. He said Luke will never be forgotten, which I know, but it’s good to hear.  The note was very sweet, but it still leaves me to decide what we should do. So, I’m going to try to work my long day tomorrow and get through the day, and then we are going to celebrate on Saturday night with a dinner and a cake and hopefully a balloon release with my parents.

My mom offered to make a strawberry whipped cream Angel food cake, which is one of my favorites, but I think I might want it to look like a birthday cake? I have to figure that out. I think I might even want it to say “Happy Birthday Luke” on the top. Although, I don’t know if I can stand at a grocery counter and order that without breaking down. Maybe I will have to write it myself. I think maybe I just need some of those concrete visuals that we have not had. I want some of those normal, official things.

I have also been thinking about what I want to post on Facebook. I don’t write very much about this on there, but I want to write something special for Luke tomorrow. I want people to remember him and to know that it’s his birthday. I hate that I have to go all day tomorrow working with people who don’t even know about him, for the most part, and won’t know that it’s his birthday. Some girlfriends invited me to dinner and a movie tomorrow, and I was happy for the opportunity just to say that it was his birthday and remind someone. That felt good. They kindly responded that their thoughts will be with me, with a heart, which I liked.

Luke’s memory bush started blooming a couple of weeks ago.

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I would love prayers for the day tomorrow and for the celebration this weekend. Lord, please send us peace and help us to know the right things to do to celebrate our first son.

One Week Until Luke’s Birthday

This may not be my usual kind of post because I am upset and needing to vent.

I have been trying to work on setting up something for Luke’s birthday. When I talked to my husband about it a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I thought I might take the evening off work and he said he didn’t think I needed to do that. Between that and thinking about the money we would lose, I decided maybe I should just work the whole 12-hour day and celebrate his birthday the next night on Friday. Then I started thinking that maybe we better wait until Saturday, since Josh is often tired on Friday nights and my mom works a full day Friday also. But today, as I was working my 12-hour Thursday and thinking about doing the same in a week on his day, I struggled with this. It doesn’t feel good. I don’t like the thought of going around all day interacting with kids and other adults and not having any of them know what an important day it is. Many of them don’t even know about Luke. This hurts.

I tried to kind of tell one of my favorite speech clients about it today. Her birthday is May 10, 4 days before Luke’s. She is turning 12. We were talking about that. I told her that next Thursday was an important day and that I was planning to come for speech, but that I might be a little sad. She asked why and I paused, not sure if I could say it without breaking down. Then she blurted, “It’s not when your grandpa died, is it?” I answered no, but that it’s when someone else died. She said, “Awww” and quickly went on to another topic. This is how desperate I am to have Luke’s day known and acknowledged–I have resorted to trying to talk to 12-year-old girls I work with about it!

I tried to firm up some sort of plan with my husband tonight. Granted it was past his bedtime, and I had already asked him to talk about Mother’s Day plans (and he hates planning), but it went frustratingly badly. I knew when I was bringing it up that it was not the right time, but I just could not hold back. It is weighing heavily on my mind. I again mentioned a balloon release and he said (as he did once before) that you are not supposed to release balloons anymore because it kills birds. He didn’t remember telling me that he didn’t think I needed to take the day off and now told me I should go ahead and take the day off if I want to, which is frustrating because it would have been best for me to tell my clients today while I was with them that I would not be there next week. Now I’m not sure what to do on that.

I asked if we might have my parents over on Saturday for dinner. He said fine. He said he doesn’t really care and that I should do whatever I want. He said he grieves differently than me and that he is aware of Luke’s birthday and misses him…then corrected that to say that he didn’t really get to know him, so maybe he doesn’t “miss” him (What?!). He said he doesn’t need to spend the whole day wallowing in it. He said doesn’t need to spend weeks beforehand discussing and planning what to do on the day. He said Luke has birthdays every day in heaven (I think he just means that heaven is full of celebrating?). He said his mom’s birthday is the week following and he doesn’t do anything for that (his mom died a few years before we met). I said I felt like that was different and that this was our child and he said, “Well, it’s my mom.” I said we could do something for his mom’s birthday if he wanted and he said no. I then tried to tell him that I feel like we have never had a proper event for Luke. I told him that everyone else I have met through this blog has had memorials, have gravesites to visit, have had balloon releases…and that this lack of a proper event for Luke bothers me.

I told him that Luke’s birthday is important to me. He said, I know it is. Mother’s day is important to you. Christmas is important to you. Our anniversary is important to you. Valentine’s is important to you. Halloween was important to you and you made us drag our 3-month-old son downtown in the cold (a previous huge fight–I wanted to get to put Samuel in a costume and show him off, having had costumes in the closet just waiting for a baby to put in them. He thought it was ridiculous and got super angry about the whole thing. He exploded and called me selfish, among other things. It was so terrible, I don’t even like to think about it.) “Groundhog’s day is important to you.”–There’s the barb. I am appalled that even in anger he would put Luke’s birthday and Groundhog’s day in the same sentence. And Yes! All of those holidays ARE important to me. I love holidays and special occasions and I think they matter. Isn’t that a pretty normal thing for a woman? It ended with me saying forget it, I don’t want you to do anything for Mother’s day or Luke’s birthday. I will just do it myself. He left saying, “The big jerk is going to bed. Thanks for making me feel like crap.” Not a good ending and I don’t even understand how we got there?

So, now I’m hurt and feeling alone in this again. It feels like I am holding this big weight and reaching out to my family asking them to help me hold it and they just keep leaving me to hold it on my own, whether they mean to or not. I have talked to my mom a couple more times in an attempt to plan something for the day. She is willing to help celebrate, but again, she just kind of listens to what I say and no plan is formed. My sister is coming up for part of the day this Sunday for Mother’s Day, so I know she won’t come up again so soon after for Luke’s birthday. She is lost in her own land of her boyfriend who she moved in with 4 months ago and his 5 year old son. She’s hard to get responses from lately.

My heart hurts. This is a hard time of year and I feel like I am starting to crumble a little. I could use prayer for how to mark my 1st son’s life and death. I can use prayers for my marriage that has way more strife than I would like lately. God, please show me to right way to mark my Luke’s birth this year. Please help Josh and I understand each other better and not fight so much. We have a sweet baby in our home now and I want him to feel safe and surrounded by love. Please help me get through this big day a week from today. Please give my Luke a kiss and tell him how much I love him and can’t wait to see him someday.