When Hackett's birthday approaches each year, Kevin and I reminis, giving a play by play of the events leading up to his birth. It's fun to relive the joy together. This weekend I find myself doing the same with Koen's birth. These memories I am not speaking outloud, not laughing about, not enjoying reliving them. It's not fun. It's excruciatingly painful.
Such a common "mom" topic that comes up in group conversations is birth stories. We all have them, they are all unique, many are funny, and most mom's love reliving those moments. Surprisingly, I have found myself in the middle of these conversations a few times this year. Sometimes and with some people, I do want to talk about Koen's birth, but in a larger social setting I just want to run. It is so painful to listen to others joy. As I have been anticipating Tobin's arrival it has occurred to me that I can't be the only mom that feels this way. So many of my friends have had their precious new babies swept away from them and taken to the NICU, not the joy filled experience of your dreams. Scary, so scary to not know and to not be with the new life you brought into the world. It scares me to think about my third birth story and what that will hold.
We have decided that while Memorial Day won't always fall on May 27th, it will be the day we celebrate our Koen. It is the day we remember and a day we know we will always be together. We will have cake and visit Koen's gravesite, heartbreaking that those two things go together, but it's necessary. We need to grieve our loss, but also celebrate his life as part of our family. We also decided to start a tradition of lighting some candles to float down the creek for Koen. I will have to watch this year from the deck. Difficult to grieve the way I would like to this year while I am fighting to keep the life of my third son safe. My Tobin who I love so dearly, but who would not be here if we had not lost our Koen last year. So many emotions.
It has been a long year. A year filled with intense grief. A painful year. A year that has stretched our faith. A year that has brought me to my knees. A year where we were surrounded with love. A year that has changed me profoundly. A year that has made us stronger. A year where I have learned how to continue to live with a large piece of my heart missing. I can't believe it has been one year since I saw my Koen's face for the first time and then kissed him goodbye ...