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.”
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.
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”.
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.