From Saturday to Saturday, what a week it has been...
Last Saturday, the 8th, was our angel's birthday. He would have been five years old. It's hard to wrap my brain around that. Has it really been five years? What would he be like? How different would our lives be?
Quite honestly, I can't imagine a life without Nick. I think we are very blessed and that all the pain of five years ago paved the way to all the happiness that we now have.
Still, my heart continues to ache. There's a void that even time cannot heal. I don't know that everyone understands that, and truly, unless you've lost a child, I don't know that you can fully understand it. I mean, I have a child now, so I should just move on, right?
I very quickly removed a couple people from my life five years ago. The friend who said that my husband and I would "be parents someday," who failed to acknowledge that though our baby was born with an angel's wings, we were still parents. The family member who said that our grief was hurting her feelings and it was time to just get over it.
But then there have been moments of grace and beauty. The one family member who wished me a "Happy Mother's Day" that first May after we lost Gregory. The kind words spoken to me by a colleague who isn't generally known for his gentle heart. The surprising compassion of my former boss when I suffered a miscarriage just months later.
The single monarch butterfly flying overhead in a clear blue sky on October 8th of this year. I associate butterflies with Gregory, and I know it was his way of letting me know that he is okay and that he is watching over us.
Every year, around his birthday, we make it a point to visit the Rose Garden where he was laid to rest. I couldn't bear the thoughts of a sterile and dismal cemetery for him, so when this option was presented, I suppose I sort of bullied my husband into agreeing. I wanted him to have sunshine and butterflies and flowers...and the companionship of the other angels who would be laid to rest with him.
It is such a peaceful place for me. Somewhat sad, sure. But it is so healing to be there. To feel beauty and light and love surrounding me. I know that I couldn't have the feeling elsewhere.
Each year, I take pictures when we make our visit, and I always make an image just for Gregory. This year's image might be my favorite. I love how it turned out and I love the little angel that I snuck in. I placed the same angel in last year's image, and I think I may make it a part of all future images, too...
This past week has been full of what will become other sad remembrances, as well. One of our former students--the son of a former colleague--was killed in a car accident. Such a sad loss, and though I understand the loss of a child, I can't imagine the level of her pain. Two of my friends lost their mother-in-laws, and knowing the closeness of the relationship I have with my own, my heart aches for them and for their spouses.
In honor of these losses, I felt compelled to create an image for them last night:
When I was through processing this, I loved the glow coming from the center of the flower, like a votive candle was illuminating it from within. Well, that reminded me that today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. The October 15th website recognizes today with a Wave of Light. Everyone is asked to light a candle from 7-8pm tonight so that a wave of light will cross the globe in remembrance. I have a special candle that I light each year, and I'll be lighting it tonight.
I also processed another image last night, a reminder to myself that there are stages to life. And that these stages create a cycle of renewal, a cycle that means that--in some ways--everything that matters will go on even after we our gone...
Hmmm...what an introspective week for me. So many thoughts and memories, yearnings and sorrows mixed with joys and laughter.
I suppose that's a definition of life, huh? That balance between two ends of an emotional spectrum? The sadness paving a way for us to appreciate the wonderful blessings that we are given each day...