Three days from now will be Jack's very first birthday. January first. The promise of a new year, fresh resolutions just waiting to be broken... But it holds a very different meaning for us now.
It's not like I didn't know it was coming. As I've watched the calender pages turn at a furious pace, I've realized this date is inevitable. Over the past few weeks I have been trying to wrap my mind around it, trying to wrestle my subconscious into submitting to what will be an excruciating day.
So in knowing this, what have we planned?
Not a thing.
It's not that I haven't had the time, because I have. And it's not like I don't want him celebrated, because I do. And it's definitely not that I don't want to remember him , because I will, forever and ever, and until way past then. Rather, we've planned nothing, because nothing feels right.
There can be no birthday celebration without the bouncing birthday boy. I suspect on the day when most people are suffering from a champagne-induced hangover will be a solemn day in the McCannell household. One in which I cry a lot, and attempt to fall in and out of sleep in the safety and comfort of my bed, or my husbands arms. I'm going to unplug the house phone, silence the our cells, and tuck away my computer. And just be alone, with Jack's dad.
In all honestly, the very idea of spending time with anyone on our son's first birthday is suffocating to me. In the days and weeks after Jack I felt like my skin was afire anytime someone hugged me. It was unbearable, but I hugged them because they sought comfort, even though it brought me physical pain. I felt smothered, much as I do now, by people's pity. I didn't want to be touched, and I didn't want to be held, and there were (and still remain) no words which made me feel any better about what happened. No promises of "it was God's will" bring any resolution to my grief.
And I feel badly for the first person to tell me this inside baby needs her mother to be strong for her. The person who tells me that once this baby gets here we will feel better. Because while I can not wait to hold her in my arms and lavish kisses upon her sweet baby skin, I will never again get to do that for my son, and I am beside myself grieving that. I will never get over that.
On that note, I am really irritated by people who think I should be happier now I'm pregnant. I am happy, but I am still grieving, and one does not negate the other. Everyone assumes it will all work out this time, and that what happened to us was such a spontaneous fluke... That history certainly can't repeat itself. But it does, and it has, and to make me feel guilty as though I'm somehow doing a disservice to my baby girl by grieving her brother...Really? To utter these words to me is unconscionable. The people who speak these words know as much about grief as I do about physics. Because until you've cuddled and kissed your baby and passed him to a nurse, knowing you will never hold him again no matter how long you live, you don't get a say, and I don't give a damn how much you feel I'm letting down my daughter. I just don't. She is loved. And she will have a wonderful life (I hope), but I'm so sick of people trying to inspire me to be happy by guilting me about her.
So what do I want? I want people to remember him. To say his name. To look at his photos and remember that he was, and still remains, a very loved little boy who just isn't here with us. He is as much a part of me as my heart and my lungs.
To remember whether we have one or even twelve more babies, he will always be missing.
That's all I want. Well, that and my baby back.