Keaton’s 3rd birthday and “angelversary” is coming up in a few days – 3 years old already, wow! As I look back, in some ways I am amazed at how quickly the years have passed. Yet, three years ago, I distinctly remember each moment painfully dragged on and I asked myself if I would be able to stand one more day without him.
Day after day, I remember being conscious of the very act of breathing. It is like I had to force myself to breathe in and out between bouts of sobbing. Slowly but surely, I managed to put one foot in front of the other taking tiny little steps towards healing. I had to focus on very simple accomplishments at first; making myself eat breakfast, getting out of my PJs and taking a shower, walking out to the mailbox – check, check, check.
Admittedly, Keaton’s first birthday was hard. We made cupcakes and decorated them with sprinkles and we sang “happy birthday” with such sad voices. My family brought birthday balloons to the cemetery and we went for lunch. We celebrated because it was important for us to mark this special day and remember him. I knew I would have been more upset if we skipped his birthday cake altogether.
Keaton’s 2nd birthday was not as sad for us. We went for fish and chips and took a walk along the beach. Before long, I hit my stride and moved ahead in my grief journey by leaps and bounds. Connecting with other bereaved parents and starting this blog really helped. I still battled the occasional road block of course, but those are always to be expected.
A babyloss friend shared with me that her grandmother lost an infant, yet celebrated her baby’s birthday well into her 90s. It was not as common back then to even acknowledge infant loss and I applaud her! What a great role model for my friend’s family. I plan to do the same thing for Keaton and look forward to many, many more birthday cakes for my son.
This year brings about new beginnings, dreams and goals and a different kind of relationship with our son, one that I believe he would have wanted for us. I’m excited to celebrate his 3rd birthday. I still miss him like crazy and wish he was here to celebrate, but when I think of him, I can’t help but smile. The thought of him brings me pure joy. Our belief is that Keaton is here with us – he not only hears us, he participates in his own special way in our family.
No matter what, we will always celebrate Keaton’s birthday in our own way. This year, we ordered custom birthday cakes so that we could share them with each side of the family. We will visit Keaton at the cemetery and go for dinner. I will write him a birthday letter and also got two beautiful Sunset Butterfly photos by Carly Marie just for him. I can almost feel our birthday boy beam from ear to ear!
There are many things that families can do to honour their heavenly infants. A eco-friendly balloon release, having young children participate by blowing bubbles, a donation to a local charity and for some, a graveside birthday party – you name it! Whatever speaks to you, however you want to honour your child, I pray that these moments bring you and your family much joy.