Today is your First Birthday.
You were pulled into this world, struggling at 4:09pm, October 11, 2016, all 3lbs and 11oz of you. I laid on that operating table with Daddy holding my hand watching you fight for every bit of oxygen while amazingly dedicated people fought along with you, giving you air, giving you life. It was some of the most difficult moments of my life. Somehow Daddy stayed strong for us. I still don’t know how he did it.
I didn’t get to hold you for 2 of the longest days of my life and when I finally got my hands on you, I thought I would never let you go. I didn’t know what was coming. Sometimes when I think about it, it still takes my breath away. It’s like I’m drowning under a wet blanket, gulping for air but no matter how many deep breaths I take, it will never be enough. I didn’t know that I would only get you for 15 days. A million wouldn’t have been enough.
You had so many people that loved you. You still do. There has not been a day that has gone by that I have not thought of you; there’s not been a baby around your age that has passed in a stroller that I have not envied. It’s not him that I want. It’s you. Your beautiful, sweet face that looked just like your brothers’. Actually, all 4 of you looked just alike when you were all new. I wish I could compare you as you all grew up. But that was not to be. Would you have been as fiery as Avery? Have a heart as kind and sweet as Noah? Would you have had the same blue eyes? All questions we will never have the answers to.
You have no idea how you have changed us. You are not forgotten. I think of you every day. More than once. More times than I could count. I think of you awake and sleeping. You have changed everything. Anniversaries are not blissful. Holidays aren’t as bright. The sun doesn’t shine as cheerfully. None of it means as much as it used to. So much of our joy seemed to leave our world with you.
Avery talks about you so often. She asks, “why did Heath have to go to Heaven with Zoe?” Another question I cannot answer. There are millions of those. Not only why did you go, but why can’t there be any more brothers or sisters? Truthfully, my heart cannot shatter into any more pieces. There would be nothing left. How do you explain that to someone that is barely 5?
Losing you has affected Noah so much. He doesn’t sleep well, and worries about losing the rest of us. I hope that he grows out of the anxiety and can pay more attention to memory of the sweet moments of holding you more so than the hole in his heart. I keep telling myself this is possible, knowing it’s not likely to happen anytime soon. He’s been through more by age 9 than many adults many times his age.
Today is your First birthday.
I’m sorry we’re not throwing a party with cake and balloons and more gifts than you need.
I’m sorry you are not here with us.
I’m sorry you had to endure so much pain in your short life.
I’m sorry that we couldn’t save you. I know that they tried. If love could have saved you….
I hope that you know that I would have traded places if I could. I prayed for that over and over.
I hope that it wasn’t painful.