Avery's 2nd Birthday
Time is such a strange thing to me. I often reminisce and look back at my life and wonder how time has taken me from a child to the current person I am today. I think back and wonder how I got through a lot of different challenges in my thirty-five years. It seems so long and at the same time, a part of me feels unlived in my own skin. Perhaps there is a part of me that yearns for something in which I do not have. A piece of myself that is missing, a part of my heart that will never be a part of me again.
When you're hit with the tsunami of grief, time divides your life into two parts. There is the "Before" the loss and then there is the "After". As I write these words I have spent the last two years in the "after" category. Everything that has happened to me as a child, teen and young adult sometimes feels like a totally different life. Like somehow two years ago I died and was reborn when Avery died. He was my transformation.
Today is Avery's second birthday and at the moment I am quite unsure how the day will unfold. Like most parts of my life now I have come to the realization that nothing is ever certain and all I can do is try my best and take each day as it comes. I have opened my eyes this morning knowing that above all else, I must be gentle with myself. Because I miss my son and the promises his life was going to make to mine.
Avery was born today at 3:37 AM. His life was brief, too brief for me to often understand but he has completely changed the person I am today. He gave me a gift in his death that I will never be able to repay...even though I will most certainly always try to give back.
Although his death left me numb and filled with a sadness I will never be able to put into words, it also helped me understand things about myself I had ignored for so long. At some point, after the initial shock faded I was able to realize that there is an entire world of others just like me who hurt and yearn for babies they lost. I didn't understand that before Avery. Sure, I thought every once and a great while there is a miscarriage or something else that might happen, but I never comprehended the unfortunate frequency that plagues so many happy homes. Avery taught me the importance of loving myself. To truly like who I am inside and out. And to recognize the broken pieces and work really hard to carefully fix them. This is a current work-in-progress. But I think the biggest realization for me is to have kindness. Avery taught me that above all else, you have to be able to be kind to others. Because in my deepest darkest grief, there were people to understood and were kind to me. And sometimes I think in the "before" life I took that for granted.
In two years I hope that I have done things Avery would be proud of. I have published 5 books in this honor, done two years of ornament projects and fall leaves of love dedications, and have spent countless hours drawing, consoling and praying for my fellow loss tribe. Even though this birthday did not come with something grand to remember him by, I have realized that he lives in my heart on a daily basis and it is ok for me to take a rest every once and a while to reclaim my strength. I have the rest of my life to live in the "after" and do things for my son and the others that celebrate their birthdays in heaven.
I am going to venture out in these early hours to take some pictures and surround myself in nature. That is the one place I always feel closest to Avery...and today I need that.
Happy 2nd Birthday to my beautiful baby boy. I love you beyond words and miss you more than you will ever know.