Five years….it’s been five years since I’ve held you. So many people asked if I was doing something special this year for you but the truth is…I wanted desperately to pretend that this wasn’t a milestone. It’s not a milestone that I’m proud of. It’s not a milestone that I can look at you and see how you’ve grown. It’s just a number people use to highlight time has passed…but I don’t want to be reminded.
Your daddy wanted so badly to “fix” me this week but the reality is only you could do that. I’ve heard of people talking about phantom pain after losing a limb. I can say first hand…there’s nothing phantom about it. The feeling I have after I don’t see Sean and/or Keira for a few days pales in comparison. This is actual pain. This is gut-wrenching longing that can’t be relieved. I’ve tried…to put on that “I’m just sad” demeanor but really I feel like I’m dying inside. I feel empty.
Keira still only responds to who is your other brother with “Connor” but Sean has started asking about you. Nothing major just out of the blue questions…like “Where’s Connor?” I responded with “Heaven”, it seemed like the right response for a 4 year old. He asked why he couldn’t play with you and my heart broke a little more in that moment. On one hand I’m so happy that he’s asking and on the other hand I’m so afraid that he’s asking. I don’t want him to lose his innocence but this is also our reality…our family. Today on our way to the hospital to drop off the in memory preemie outfits, I told Sean that it was for you. He asked if we would be able to take you home…well, needless to say the tears flowed as I held him.
A few weeks ago, a co-worker lost his baby. As I read the email, I broke down in tears for their baby, Andrew but more for them. For the pain that five years has made tolerable but hasn’t made non-existent. I don’t cry anymore when I see a pregnant person but I do still feel some jealously when I see that complete family picture.
I know that tomorrow I will wake up and be relieved that today is in the past. I know that I will smile, laugh and even dare I say it…be happy. It’s just that when your anniversaries come around the ”what-ifs”, the “I’ll never know”, and the guilt basically overwhelm me. I still want to scream why me…why you! I want to know you as a baby, toddler, boy and as a man. I want to know how Sean and Keira are different/same. I want to know what kind of oldest son you would have been. I want to know what kind of brother you would have been. I want you.
I’m so sorry that I can’t read you a bedtime story. What I wouldn’t give just to hear you say “mommy”. If it’s not too much to ask…would you come to me just once in my dreams? Regardless, I will continue to acknowledge you as my son, no matter how uncomfortable it makes others. I will proudly say I have three children. I just can’t stop wishing all three were physically with me.
I love you then, now and forever.