One year. 365 days. <sigh> It's hard to comprehend. It is impossible to describe. It has felt like 200 lifetimes. It has felt like a blink of an eye. And now, this first year, this "last of the firsts" is behind us. Does it change anything? No. You're still gone. We still mourn. Just another milestone has passed us by, another mile marker on an endless journey of grief, love and learning.
At 7:02 am on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 you were officially pronounced dead. And, in that moment, the world shattered into a million sharp, jagged pieces. Over this last year, we have worked to glue those pieces back together, and have smoothed their rough edges a bit. They will never again fit together perfectly, and will always be a bit fragile. But, they have reformed into something new, different, and somehow beautiful. The passing months have allowed us to remember you more through laughter, and with each day there is more and more joy in telling your stories and speaking your name.
As I swim through this day, in a bit of a fog, I am so thankful for the sunshine provided by the very real, very sharp memories I have of you. In particular, I think about the last few days we spent together - the last weekend. You had grown into such a ham. Such a big personality. Such a little man. I'll never forget our last Friday together. I had to go into work that morning, so you spent part of the day at grandma and grandpa's house. But, around lunchtime, I picked you up and had a surprise waiting for you in the car - McDonalds french fries!!! Deeeeeeeeee-licious! As we drove home, I handed fries back to you, one at a time. Once you had gobbled it down, you would kick the seat to let me know it was time for MORE FRIES! The look of sheer delight on your face was worth one hundred million words.
That Saturday, you and I spent the day hanging out in the kitchen - you in your high chair and me at the computer - while Momma built out the family tree on Ancestry.com. I'll never forget the pride I felt in adding your name to the tree...never imagining your branch wouldn't be allowed to grow firm and strong, cut short in just a few days. Every hour or so Momma would take a "steam break" since I was fighting an awful sinus infection. Those steam breaks, where I would drape a towel over my head and a pot of hot water, sent you into peels of hysterical laughter. The combination of "peek-a-boo" and Momma's electric red face was just too much fun.
Later that afternoon, we watched "The Jungle Book" and we danced and danced and danced. You fell in love with King Louie and his song, "I Wanna Be Like You" to the point that we played it not once, not twice, but over five times that day! At first, Momma picked you up and we danced around the room with you in my arms, your hands over your head as you giggled and squirmed. Then, I turned you loose on the dance floor (OK, the TV room floor) where you bopped and bounced with your hysterical little Peanut dance. EVery few seconds you would glance over your shoulder to make sure Momma was watching, laughing, clapping. I finally scooped you up, covered you with kisses, and received a Peanut hug in return.
In short, that was one of the best weekends of my life.
Then again, every minute with you was the best moment of my life. And now, your legacy lives on through the little brother you helped us conceive. The little brother who was born last week. The little brother who is sleeping peacefully as Momma writes this posting, tears streaming down her cheeks, but with a smile on her face. And, in just a few minutes, I will play King Louie's song over and over for him while I share stories of his big brother, his guardian angel.
Peanut, your light was snuffed out far too early, yet your impact in the short, 500 days you spent on this earth has been powerful. Amazing. Magical. Your Peanut Effect.
Missing you more than I can describe on this terrible anniversary. But, my heart is full of fierce, powerful Momma love that I am sending to the moon, the stars, the universe and back. Forever, and ever, and ever, and ever...