Tonight marks fours years since I last felt you hug me so very tightly and whisper "Mommaahh" in my ear. Since you tickled my eyelashes and wove your fingers through mine like knitting a blanket. Since I believed that, no matter what, children outlive their parents.
January is a complicated month for Momma's heart. First, we burst with joy when we learned we were pregnant with you over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend in 2009. The warm glow of that memory burns in Momma's heart every January...we so desperately wanted to get pregnant and you were our gift from heaven. In more ways than we ever realized.
Two years later we woke to find you unresponsive in your bed. January 26, 2011. Tomorrow. My healthy, beautiful, curly haired son with the musical laugh and expressive fingers. I still see your deep blue eyes and can hear that head-thrown-back laugh you inherited from me. Tonight I pray in my superstitious head that everyone (Pickle) survives the night.
And then there is the miracle that is your brother. The Pickle. Born just a week before your Angel day, he is the glowing beacon who brought light and laugher back to Momma...and maybe to our whole family. How do I explain tomorrow to him? At age three he grapples to understand the concept of a brother who exists that he's never met...yet, he knows who you are and can name you in any picture or story.
Four years. How have we - how have I - survived? After you died I was confident I would whither way, and life wasn't worth the effort of waking up, showering and getting dressed. Yet, I went through the motions, wrote thank you notes, went back to work and had dinner with friends. Eventually we found Henry the Dog, and his furry dog love reminded me what it was to experience a version of Momma-love. After that we made the decision to get pregnant again...with the help of some wonderful doctors and amazing science/medicine.
Even the miracle of Pickle brought its own heartbreak - his twin sister didn't survive past four months. But, here he is today. Smart.strong. And, in so many ways aware that he is special. Not spoiled special but toughed with an ability to see beyond the retractions of this world. Often, I hear him having long conversations in his room with stuffed animals and I'm fairly sure this is your way of communicating through him. It is...delightful.
Tonight I read your brother "Guess How Much I Love You" and gave him a Backyardigans book to read. Momma reminded him these were to help honor you and he gave me his, "I know, Momma'" look.
Peanut, tomorrow I will celebrate you. Your life. I will not focus on those seconds, minutes, hours when we found you at home. administered CPR, rode in the ambulance while praying feverishly, answered police and transplant services questions, held your lifeless body and prayed with our full family, and eventually watched you roll out the door with the County Coroner's office. That was the last time we saw your body - but not your spirit.
Peanut, you are with us - with me - every day. Sometimes Momma loses sight of what's important and the lessons learned through your death. But, January always brings those reminders front-and-center.
I love you so much, my sweet Peanut. And, four years later I miss you as much (if not more) than the day you died. From the deepest part of my heart, to yours. And, to the moon - and back.
|Picture from our 2011 "Happy New Year" card, sent just weeks before Connor passed away.|