A year ago today we had to say goodbye. We didn't want to. We selfishly wanted him here with us. How can a new little life end so soon? It was too soon in our minds. I hate replaying the events of this day a year go in mind. It was a day we were told to prepare for, but how can parents prepare for the death of their child? It's impossible... We tried so hard to live in the moment. To enjoy every little bit of life we shared with Owen. How can you prepare for holding your lifeless child in your arms? How can you prepare for leaving his body in the hospital, knowing you will never see him again in this life? You can't. But God gives you the grace to handle each moment.
Yesterday, I went into a children's store for the first time since having Owen, to shop for a friend's baby. I went to this store countless times before Owen was born, preparing for him and buying the cutest little outfits. When I made it in and out of the store without tears and a smile on my face almost exactly a year after his death, I knew it was only by God's grace. I can honestly say that nothing I do is by my own power. If it were up to me, I would spend lots of days crawled up in bed in tears. The ache is so deep a year later. People say it will get better with time. I feel like the people who say this have never lost a child. What I find to be true is that your heart gets used to bearing so much pain and sorrow that you learn to live with it. I loved the sermon on Easter Sunday. It was about deep sorrow turning into pure joy. I love the hope of that. In this past year, I have experienced some moments of joy that I am truly thankful for. A year ago today, I didn't think that would be possible. I am hopeful for more of these moments. It's such a strange balance of emotions. I'm still learning how to feel happiness, excitement, and sorrow all at the same time. It's really hard!
I was talking with a friend a few months ago, sharing some of our story with her for the first time. One of the things she said really struck me. She reminded me that God the same God on the day that I found out I was pregnant with Owen, the day that he was born, the day we found out about his diagnosis, and the day that he died. I love thinking about that. Instead of being angry at him for allowing Owen to die, I think of him rejoicing with us when we found out I was pregnant and when he was born, comforting us when we found out his diagnosis, and mourning with us on the day that he died.
After Owen died, I told my counselor that I just wanted ten years to pass quickly so I could escape the intense pain I felt. Now, I want the opposite. I hate that it's been a year since I held Owen in my arms. I don't want anymore time to pass. I don't want to forget things about him- what he smelled like, the noises he made, the softness of his skin... He will always be my baby and the one who made me a mommy. He is irreplaceable.
A year ago today, heaven became a very real place for me. A part of me is already there, and I can't wait to scoop him in my arms, hold him tight, and never let him go. When I was little and trying to understand what heaven will be like, my parents told me to imagine my happiest day, only better. My happiest day was the day I met Owen and held him in my arms. I can't wait for an eternity of those days.
Owen, your mommy and daddy miss you so much, especially today. Our sadness is deep because our love for you is deep. You continue to be a part of our every day. On our way to church on Sunday, we talked about what we would have put in your Easter basket this year and how cute your little outfit would have been. We fantasized about a family Easter picture after church. We still call our small bedroom that has some of your furniture in it "Owen's room." I still have your same pair of socks in my purse that I had a year ago when you were in the hospital. I smile every time I see them there. Every day we miss you. You have changed our lives for the better, and have taught us so much. A couple days before you died, I told a team of doctors that I didn't want to be the one to share your story. I wanted you to live to share it. God had other plans, and I feel honored to not only be a part of your story, but to continue to share it with others. Your life continues to be used in big ways. I'm so glad I'm a part of it