Although I had a funeral for Adrian, I also wanted to do something special to celebrate his life on what would have been his first birthday. I wanted something not so much focused on grief, but more on his impact; a type of celebration. I had already decided to build this website, and so it seemed natural to have a party and document both its launch and my son’s short but beautiful life.
Refuge in Grief
We are all living in uncertainty. We are all scared. We are all doing the very best we can. And you have every right to your feelings, even if they seem silly.
This is quite possibly the darkest thing I’ve ever written. Please note that the following screenshots are simulated tweets. This is the timeline of an event that never happened.
I wore a Claddagh ring facing inwards for a long time after the death of my son. I wanted to send the message that my heart was already taken, even if it was “taken” in a different way than those rings normally represent.
When my son was stillborn at 41 weeks, I came home to a complete nursery. All of his clothes were washed and sorted, his diapers laid out next to wipes and creams. And maybe it sounds counterintuitive, but I was thankful.
You are turning one next week, and I feel jealous. You are turning one, and my son won’t be here to send you a sloppy scribbled birthday card. You are turning one, and I am aching, and I realize that I miss your mother. I miss her, but I’m still not ready to be friends.
I never had to face this choice with Adrian. I never had to hold him, breathing; weigh impossible odds. I didn’t have to look into eyes gone soft and full of hurting. I didn’t get to hold his living body in my arms.
I fed her shredded chicken with my fingers this morning. The vet prescribed her steroids. She actually has an appetite. I gave her a piece of my blueberry scone. I guess it doesn’t matter now what’s good for her in the long run.
After he died, after that scream, I shattered. It wasn’t that time flowed differently. It was a completely different life.
I didn’t have a guest book at Adrian’s funeral. I wish I had thought of it. The space serves that purpose for everyone touched by Adrian’s life.
I didn’t ask to live here. I loved Sunshine. I had so many plans. I built my peaceful house there. But my key doesn’t fit.
I should know better. Because life is not a fairytale. I should know better, because you’re a person, just like me. And I realize I put the weight of my expectations on something that was only fleeting. And now it’s too heavy. I’m sorry it got heavy.
You were more than pain. You swept into my life and your presence promised happiness. And I hated that, because happiness wasn’t something I wanted to know. And I hate it more now, standing here, awake and oh so lonely. And this pain isn’t comforting. And this new life feels broken.
I feel your absence in my breathing. I wait for footsteps just around the bend. I hug your ashes and I think, “None of this is real. When I have paid my penance, I will hold you.” I will never get to hold you. Today is someone else’s birthday. Yours will never come.