I am picturing you sitting on a cloud in heaven, holding 3 blue balloons. Balloons we sent to you yesterday, after taking the family pictures we never got around to scheduling when you were here. Yesterday we gathered Momma, Dadda, your sister and all your brothers and braved a 28 degree St. Louis morning along with the phenomenal photographer Heidi Drexler. And you were there too. In the form of a blue balloon.
Why THREE balloons? Well, because Momma is an idiot. We did have one solitary balloon but Momma opened her car window without anchoring it down. And, it was so excited to visit you it simply zoomed up and out, straight to heaven. So your oldest brother quickly ran to get another, and wisely purchased two so we would have a backup balloon.
In photo after photo your balloon bounced and danced in the wind. Pictures with your siblings, the whole family, Dadda and all his kids, and finally sitting around your special butterfly paver stone. The Pickle was fascinated by your balloons, so at the end of the shoot we gave him the strings while we all looked to the sky. "Hi Peanut!" Then we helped him release the balloons as we waved and called after them, "Bye Peanut! Bye balloons!"
And Momma hid her tears with a pair of sunglasses.
This on the heels of another Thanksgiving without you. In anticipation of another Christmas without you. Momma started Christmas and birthday gift shopping for your brother yesterday. Such an odd sensation to be shopping for gifts for a first birthday again. For a 12 month old. To not be shopping for TWO little boys. I can't help but pretend to shop for you...for a 3 year old boy. Let me tell ya, Peanut, you would be into some pretty cool toys and gadgets. It is so tempting to just give in and buys gifts for you. To suspend reality for a few moments.
But no...that would be more painful in the end when reality comes crashing down with all its brutal weight.
Instead I choose to keep your spirit alive. Momma talks about you a lot. While it may be uncomfortable for some people, Momma has come to realize that is THEIR issue. Not mine. People need to know you. To understand what a beautiful impact you had - and still have - on this earth. Thanks to The Compassionate Friends, Momma now wears a blue wristband in your memory that states, "Forever in my heart." It prompts questions, and Momma is happy to share.
Peanut, I hope you feel the love I'm sending you. I hope you hear my words, and can touch my tears. Tears of love, tears of remembrance, tears of thanks, tears of sorrow, tears of hope. Guess how much I love you, Peanut. To the moon - and back!