"You get what you pay for, but I just had no intention of living this way." -Counting Crows

Why We're Here...

My husband David and I delivered a stillborn Baby Boy that we loved, and wanted. Our first and only son, Logan, had Down Syndrome. Our daughter's smile is a little light in the darkness. She turned one year old three days after our sweet Logan tip-toed away on January 24, 2009. After 2 1/2 years we found out we were having another baby, whom we affectionatly called Rudy. Just shy of 6 weeks we found out Rudy was Ectopic. Rudy was surgically removed on May 26, 2011 delivering another blow to our already broken hearts.

What is it about birthdays?

Yesterday was my 33rd birthday. The thing is, I wasn't all that keen on celebrating. The night before I cried like a dork. Cause I'm not old or anything, right? Well, that's what everyone keeps telling me. That doesn't change the facts that two years ago was old enough. And here I am, even older. Man, time just slips away and leaves me feeling like I am grasping at empty air. So yesterday was weird. The Muffin was at grandma's, so I spent most of the morning chasing away stray tears that threatened to ruin the rare occasion of make-up that I vainly applied for my license picture. Go ahead and laugh, but I want my drivers license picture to not look stupid, and I went to get it renewed yesterday. I also went to a funeral. That's fun birthday stuff. Oddly enough though it seemed appropriate and didn't bother me. I didn't know the person anyhow, so it made it easier to go. That evening David took me to Carrabba's, my favorite place. That was great. Then I watched The Timetraveler's Wife (which is full of dead baby stuff FYI). It was a pleasant enough day, except that all day I felt the nagging urge to go sit by my sons tree. Its weird that I feel more of a pull to that tree than I do to the box of ashes sitting in my room.

Yes. Logan is still sitting in that horrid box that they shipped him to me in about a year ago. Sad I know. David and I talked about that fact today. I told him that I wanted to have Logan in an Urn before Mother's Day. He suggested that we pick up an Alpaca Fur Bear from the local Alpaca farm. The bears are made from stillborn Alpaca fur, so when I first learned that last summer I was immediately drawn to them. The current plan is to get a bear and put Logan's ashes into a heart shaped urn and have the urn sewn into the bear. I'm liking this idea. I think I might go buy the bear this week.

So here's the morbid question of the year...for those of you who had your child's ashes returned to you, (and keeping in mind that Logan was 1lb7oz) about how much ash is there? I've yet to bring myself to look at the actual ashes, and I really have no idea how much is in there. I'm afraid to look. But I don't want there to be extra ash for the urn. I don't want them to throw him away. I'd rather put the extra in a small vile or something. So, I'm hoping some of you can give me a heads up.

Logan's tree is looking so nice. It survived the winter and has nice, new, feathery leaves on it. I am so happy about that, and my heart swells every time I drive by it.

Anyhow, what is it about birthdays and holidays that I hate so much? I just don't want to celebrate. I don't want to acknowledge the passing of time. I don't want to smile and pretend I don't feel the gaping hole. I'm not sure why I feel the hole more on those days, but I do. My birthday was no exception. Mother's Day ought to be a real joy too. It would be easier if people would let me be. I get tired of people telling me to do something nice, to make sure I celebrate and have a good time. I don't want to. I just don't. Its not the guilt. I think its just that I'm sad, I notice the absence and I just don't want to pretend that I don't.

Driving home the other day I was struck by the wonderment of what life would have been like right at that moment. Driving home from playgroup, two child seats in the back. A two year old on the right, an eleven month old on the left. He was sleeping, my daughter yakking about "mo cycles" and "ruffs". I saw it plain as day. I don't do that much. Part of it made me smile, but most of it just feels achy.

A friend of mine asked my mother how many grandkids she had the other day. My mom said four. I couldn't help but notice that she didn't say five. Not that she should have. I tell people I have one child, most of the time. But I noticed. That was the part that bothered me. I noticed. And David noticed too.

The night before my birthday, while I was allowing myself to wallow in self pity and cry for my broken heart, I kept hearing this thought echoing in my head...

"I will never be normal again!"

And I know it to be true. I will never be able to celebrate my birthday, Mother's Day or any other holiday without always, always, always thinking about what should've been, what's missing. There will never be a time where Logan's absence isn't a shadow on my heart and in my mind. I will never escape the knowledge that I should have this little boy, but I don't. And I will always think about it. And I will never feel like I did before.

Misfitzita had a birthday this week too. She turned forty, and said "I'm not a girl anymore. The 30s beat that out of me. Soundly." and I couldn't help but to relate. I spent my twenties growing up. I got my career, bought a house, got married, built a home, became a wife and at 29 got pregnant with my first child, a daughter. At 31 my son died. And from that point on I have felt like my thirties will always be defined by this huge event. I will spend my thirties mourning for a life that I perfectly planned...and watched blow up in my face. My thirties were my baby making years, that's the way it was planned. This fact makes me angry too. Its like starting off the new year bad (which by the way is exactly what happened!!), it just sets the tone for the rest of the year. So, my thirties aren't looking so great, and I really don't feel like celebrating.


Mary said...

A birthday wish from me. I get the same way about celebrating holidays that deal with me. I to begin with never really asked for much. I understand wanting an understated day. I just want to hide away so that time can stand still.

Michele said...

We have a small marble box. If you go to a funeral home, they will be able to show you the selection of children's urns. It's sad to think about... That there is a special section... For Nicholas, we had started with a tiny one called a "keepsake urn" but after Sophia died, we had them both placed (and later Alexander added to) the next size, called an "infant urn".

I'm sorry about your mom... That would hurt me so much. I still correct people when they mention Bobby and Maya being my mom's oldest grandchildren... It breaks me every single time.

Happy Birthday and thinking of you...

CLC said...

I think birthdays are just irrelevant after you lose a child. I don't know why. Acting happy and celebratory is extremely hard after such a life changing event. So thinking of you and what should have been. I feel the same way about my 30s. So many good things happened to me so far in my 30s, yet I can only focus on the one horrific thing that happened, and I am sure that will define the decade for me.

Catherine W said...

'two years ago was old enough' . . I feel the same way Heather.

In answer to your question (which I don't think is morbid by the way) my daughter weighted 1lb 10oz at birth and I think about 50 grams of ash were returned to me following her cremation. In volume, about a third of a small zip lock bag. Hope that helps. I've never quite brought myself to open that little plastic bag to put her ashes somewhere more appropriate, so there they stay, wrapped in a blanket.

I also think of two child seats and feel achy.

I agree with CLC, it is hard to feel the same kind of enthusiasm about birthdays and holidays. They just seem to make me miss her more.

Thinking of you and remembering Logan. x

Aunt Becky said...

Sending you a big hug. Loves you.

Jen said...

not a morbid question....Katy was just under a pound and her ashes are just a small part of a jewelry zip lock bag. We had her ashes split out between a necklace and a heart shape urn that they called a token urn.

This may sound really weird, but we filled up the rest of the space in the urn with sand/pebbles so that the urn weighs the SAME as she did at birth. Some people pick it up and when I tell them that is what she weighed, they are amazed at the heft she had. I like to feel that again sometimes too and can better remember then how she fit in my arms.

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