I'm not sure why this year was so much harder than last. You'd think Alexander's first birthday would have been the hardest, but this year... This year, I felt the need (as you saw) to relive the days leading up to his birth and death. In some ways, it was cathartic... I was able to accept those feelings, those memories, and let them rest as a piece of myself. A piece that is at peace. I am still angry with the initial resident who saw me and the on-call who refused to call Dr. B. Maybe, just maybe, that would have changed things... But, maybe not. And, without my life exactly as it was, I never would have experienced my children who followed Alex, Bobby and Maya among them. And so, in remembering the details, I feel like I am at a place of peace with the events.
Last year, Bobby and Maya had just come home from the hospital, less than 10 days before we celebrated Alexander's first birthday. We missed his Mass that year because we were still adjusting to the newness of having two infants with us. We were getting used to the sleep a bit, change diapers, nurse, bottle to supplement, pump, go back to sleep, listen to them breathe, repeat... We were still learning that we couldnt just allow a few extra minutes to get them ready. We had the hang of it by the end of the month, but we just couldn't get things together to make the morning Mass being said for him. Peter's parents went and, although I was glad they were able to be there, to this day, I feel guilty that we weren't. We took the kids up to Bethlehem and enjoyed taking them on their first real outting. They were so tiny then... I look back on the pictures of us wearing them in the maetai carriers... My goodness... Tiny. Their presence took some of the sting out of the pain of not having Alex with us on his first birthday, but this year... This year, we are settled into our life and now... now the hurt hits.
Last year, Peter took the day off work and we took the kids out. We did something special. We bought a momento to remember. This year, since Peter has just changed jobs, he took the morning off for Mass and breakfast, but that was the extent of our celebration. I came home with the kids and cleaned the house. Tonight, we picked up a local, organic, free range and humanely killed Thanksgiving turkey from a farm (literally) down the street for the family thanksgiving at Peter's parents. We picked up some groceries. We ate Alexander's dinner. I did make a batch of fresh brownies with Icelandic chocolate (remind me to tell you about THAT sometime!!!) and we sang happy birthday with a candle. And, on Sunday, we had family over, as has been our custom, for his dinner and a cake (lemon). But there was no trip somewhere this year. (Peter did, however, purchase a soft, stuffed cow, which is sitting next to me on the bed. It's cute and has a sunshine happy face on its chest).
So, suffice it to say, this year was tougher than the last. It's strange how grief comes at you sometimes. Something you think you'll handle better than you expect crushes you, while the things you expect to knock you down don't hit nearly as hard...
A special thank you to all who facebooked, emailed, and left comments, remembering Alexander on his birthday, especially Aunt Sarah and Aunt Terri, his godmother. Your thoughts and care mean so much to us.
Thank you, Leila, for sharing Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander on your blog. Thank you for remembering them in your prayers and keeping them close to your heart, especially on Alexander's birthday.