11 October 2011

The Last Anniversary

When I was pregnant with Ewan, my due date was October 5 -- my Dad's birthday. James' birthday is on October 8, so when we determined what Ewan's due date was, there were several animated family discussions about whose birthday he would share, and how I should keep my legs crossed should labor start too far in advance of the desired date.

But Ewan decided that he not only wanted his own birthday, but his own birthday month. So when I was just a few days shy of 38 weeks pregnant, Ewan made his grand entrance on September 18.

With Ewan's funeral on October 9 last year, we all forgot James' birthday (including him). Our son died the day before his due date, and his funeral was the day after his daddy's birthday. These were two of many truths about our loss that grated against my grief. What should have been days of celebration became days of bereavement packets and funeral preparations. 

birthday time!!

That made celebrating James' birthday this year really important to me -- not just to remember it this time, but really mark it as something special. Though his birthday last year was the eve of the day we buried our son, we couldn't allow sadness to have the final word.

And so this last anniversary passed not with the same tearful memories that marked the day we said goodbye to Ewan, but with what I remember feeling just the smallest seed of on the day we buried him last year: acceptance. There wasn't a lot of it there at the time, and a year later, I still have plenty of room to grow where accepting all of this is concerned (I still have days where I cry and beg God for my baby back). But it was just enough that on his birthday this year, we were able to celebrate James with chocolate chip pancakes and cupcakes topped with Fruity Pebbles, with a dinner out, and a ridiculously hilarious night at the theater to boot.

I imagine that as these anniversaries approach again and again throughout the years, that there will be tears as we remember and acknowledge the significance of things that happened in years past. That will never go away. But October 8 this year was all about celebrating life again, of accepting without bitterness what has already happened that we cannot change, and of making sure that we are intentional in marking those things truly worth celebrating.

Happy birthday to the man I love: my best friend, the father of my children, and the one without whom life would be a bland and boring Fruity Pebble-less cupcake. I love you.

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say their names

There is still plenty of time to submit names and share the link for the Say Their Names project. Names will be accepted through 3 pm (EST) on Friday, October 14. No name will be overlooked!