Well, it’s here! The day that changed our lives forever. We were not expecting I would go into preterm labor at 23 weeks 3 days and lose Emma 5 minutes after being born, and then Oliver 12 days later… yet here we are. 365 days later- and 365 days more experienced with handling grief and life at the same time.
I’ve dreaded this day and yet yearned for it to come. What would I emotionally be like? Would I spend the day curled on the couch crying? Not so far- instead, I found myself this week walking through the grief cycle once more as every single day I could vividly remember what I was doing last year on that day. No one told me grief could do that to you so strongly.
Tuesday it started with crying.
Wednesday was the day of denial and then immense anger at what was lost and the experiences I’ve had to go through. It crashed into depression that evening, but Thursday morning rose right back into anger again.
By Thursday evening I had moved back into the acceptance stage, where I have spent since. This week however, felt like an emotional rollercoaster of the last 12 months.
Despite that, I have learned many things these last 12 months. That time, how ever slow it seemed at the beginning, has changed my own perspective, personality, and spirituality.
This week, as I rollercoastered through the grief cycle, I had the opportunity to reflect on myself more than anything. I found, not only do we grieve the loss of Emma and Oliver, but we often grieve the loss of the person we once were.
I miss the woman I once was. The one who would laugh without a care. The one who wasn’t so serious ALL the time. The one who enjoyed things for the sake of doing them. The one who didn’t have a heavy weight of loss surrounding her.
However, she is gone, just as much as the babies she buried. In her place however, is is a woman I am beginning to like more than the one I once was. I like her more as she is one who has learned, and is still learning, how to survive and live life despite the grief she feels. She is more aware of the pain others go through, more willing to mourn with them, and to serve those around her. She now loves more deeply, speaks more sincerely, and more fully enjoys the moments she has to spend with loved ones. Despite her loss, she is more complete.
It’s amazing the changes children bring upon their mother- even when they are gone.
So today, as we celebrate the births and little lives of our sweet Emma and feisty Oliver, I am immensely grateful for our Savior who has not only been the one to help us through this year, but the one who makes eternity with our loved ones possible!
I think it very fitting our babies’ birthday are in the month we celebrate the coming of our Savior into the world. What an amazing reminder of why Christ came and why Heavenly Father would send his Only Begotten Son to be born in a world that can be so wicked and cruel. Christ came to atone for our sins, and in doing so, has felt everything anyone has ever felt. He not only knows us so perfectly, but he knows how to comfort our heartache and sorrow.
I am forever thankful to know, that through Christ, the pains and grief we feel here are not forever. We will get to see and hold, and raise, Emma and Oliver again. This time of separation now, is but a minuscule amount of time in the Eternities to come. What a gift God gave us, to have a Savior to make it all possible!
So as we celebrate our two angels this day, I feel them close as always. I thank my Heavenly Father for blessing us with the opportunity to be their parents and for the changes they have brought upon me. I will end now with a poem I wrote last night, in celebration of the births of Emma and Oliver.
Birthdays in Heaven
I thought of you today,
Like so many times before.
I wondered what you’re doing,
And it made me miss you more.
Birthdays in heaven
Are they just as special there?
I figure that they must be
Because so many people care.
There may not be gifts,
Or chocolate cake and ice cream.
But that doesn’t mean
Your parents still can’t dream.
We dream of the day we can hold you
In our arms once more.
To hug you tight and never let go
Just thinking about it makes our hearts soar!
Until that day arrives,
We will think of you each day.
And celebrate your little lives
And the impact that you made.
You’ve changed our lives forever,
Left your mark so clear and strong.
You’ve changed us so indefinitely
Even though you weren’t here long.
Though we cannot see you,
We feel you with us still.
We never have stopped loving you,
And we never ever will.
So here is to more birthdays,
Now and in eternity to come.
We shall celebrate you always,
Love, your dad and mom!
Cupcake photo credit to Brooke Lark on Unsplash.