I've delayed writing this post, not because of emotion, but because of pictures (of course). However, I just realized that today is the day that Aaron passed away (I really try to just focus on his birthday) so I guess a late post is actually appropriate.
2nd year. What can I say? In some ways it's been just as hard as the 1st year and in some ways it's been better. I've spent all of the past month thinking about his 2nd birthday and the service project and activities that we were going to do for it. So, consequently, he's been on my mind a little bit more than usual and I've been a little bit more emotional than usual.
That's the funny thing too -- without the perpetual milestones (rolling, crawling, walking, talking) to suffer through -- life has taken on a routine and rhythm that doesn't include him. It's kind've the same thing as having a child -- you get to a point where the newness wears off and you can't hardly remember what life was like without that child. Well, the newness of this grief has worn off and I can't hardly remember what life was like WITH this child. Which I hate. And which is also a tender mercy. But Chopper and I have made a conscious decision and effort to include Aaron in our day to day lives. That has meant a lot of different things but I think the hardest thing has been talking about him with new people. In some ways, referring to Aaron comes very naturally -- especially around this time of the month. And then I get confused faces or polite smiles because people don't want ask questions -- I think they can tell it's a sensitive subject. I hate when he comes up unexpectedly. I have no time to compose myself and think about what I will say. When I am in control of the conversation and take it in that direction, I'm still emotional, but it's less . Easier to talk and easier to smile.
So this year as we decided to again do service for Children's Medical Center in Dallas, I felt like I had to explain myself to those who wanted to know why this service and why this hospital. I hosted 3 Tuesday mornings where friends came and helped me sew FIFTY Beads of Courage bags and then we collected individually wrapped snacks to be used in ICU's at the hospital. Our total was 1227 snacks!! They'll probably be gone in a day or two but it was still an awesome thing to take a trunk load of snacks to the hospital.
This is just the stuff we purchased with donated money. It does NOT include what people gave us in actual items. William not included of course!
This year we didn't stay. We dropped the donations off and went to visit Aaron's grave. There was another family standing at his grave. It was the family of the couple who are his next door neighbors. We talked with them briefly and then they left us alone with our son. I had my moment -- I always do and the kids always comment about how I'll cry as we drive there. Megan had hers too. Abby and William put flowers at his grave and then they look at others or go sit on the bench nearby and play in the dirt. Megan always takes a moment to be quietly by herself. She told Chopper one time that she talks to Aaron. I think he appreciates that and I love everything about it.
Afterwards we went into downtown Dallas and played at Klyde Warren park and walked through the art museum. We got ice cream on the way home and I would say that overall it was a really good day. I should also mention that this was all on Saturday. Thursday -- his real birthday -- we celebrated with cupcakes and and edible arrangement that my parents sent. And I spent the whole day inside. No one came over or called and it was actually great because I could cry in peace.
Megan did a project in the fall on a famous Texan and chose painter Julian Onderdonk because of his funny name. But she genuinely liked his paintings -- he is famous for being the first to really paint landscapes with bluebonnets. Well they have a real live Onderdonk at the DMA and she was pretty excited about it and studied it for quite some time.
Working on a community art project -- weaving. I think we're going to add this activity to our conference bags. They actually really enjoyed it.
William jumped in with a group of boys playing soccer at the park. I think it might be time to try him out in some sports!
Who is the poet/author who said "it is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all." It's attributed to Tennyson but that's the internet for you. Well it's true. But only because I believe that that particular love will remain and be stronger when I hold him again.