I had been dreading July 7th....because on that day last year I had to deliver my son...too early for any chance of survival. I tried to come up with all kinds of different ideas on what to do that day. Some of them were elaborate and completely over the top. I had this idea in my head that the bigger the "show" the more it would show that I love Landon. I think that the hardest part for any mother who has had to say goodbye to their child is that we feel like if we are happy again or "move on" we are forgetting them. And when people stop asking how you are doing or do not mention the child's name anymore that hurts us just as much as the day we buried them. We do not want people to forget that they were a person....no matter how small or how long they were with us they still matter. So I really struggled with what I should do. In the end I asked my Pastor to say a few words at his grave site and I had friends and family there. It was perfect....it was really hot! And actually that is how it was last year too. Twenty or more people stood beside me, behind me, and my mom held me while we listened to the beautiful words that Christopher had to say about Landon. He spoke of how Landon has taught him things and about how he got to hold an angel. I shed a few tears because it really felt so familiar....and then I remember looking at Christopher's face and he smiled at me and then I glanced around at every face that was there and I got an overwhelming sense of peace. I felt loved....and the tears stopped and a smile was put in their place. Then it was time to let the balloons go that I had bought for him. And I even commented on how they would probably get stuck in the electrical wires or in the trees....because that is just my luck. But when I let those balloons go they were swept right up and we watched them until they were almost out of sight.
Since that day I have had a few rough moments but I feel healed. I gave myself a year to really go through the grieving process and now it is time to really start living again. I know they say that you should not put a time frame on your grieving but for me it was important. I made it through the whole year of firsts and now I need to "move on". I will never forget him...he will always be my son and my firstborn but now when I talk about him I do not feel sad because he is not with me I feel happy that I was chosen to bring that sweet face into the world. I do not cry when I talk about him....he is not as constant in my thoughts...don't get me wrong I still think about him but it does not consume me. And instead of thinking negative things about him (as in he is not here, why did this happen to me etc) I think of the positives. And if my mind starts to wander to the negative thoughts I replace it with two positive things (got that hint from Shannon!). It sounds so simple but it really has worked for me.
I had been feeling like I was in a funk this last week so after work one day I took Shannon's three girls...Riley is 7, Lucy is 5 almost 6, and Emry is 2 1/2 (she always adds the half) so that I would be forced to have fun and play outside. We had a great day! We went swimming, then I made them a dinner picnic, then we went to the park, and finally we went and got ice cream. And as we got into the car after ice cream Lucy says "So Aunt Karen who do you think that you are going to marry?". And I reply with the standard I don't know. And Riley says "Weren't you ready to have a baby?" So I retold them about Landon and what had happened and they had some questions about why he was born so early if he was not ready...and they were in awe when I said that Landon gave his life for mine. That I would not be here if he had not done that. And they came up with the best theory I have EVER heard. They said that God took Landon to "fix" (they did not really get the concept that it was me that was sick) him and that when I get married then He will send him back down to me. I had never thought about it like that. Only from the lips of children. I could not have loved those girls more in that moment. I am so fortunate to have them in my life!
I am proud of how well I did on his angelversary and how well I am doing now. I never thought that I would ever climb out of that darkness. It is so hard to believe that a year has gone by since I held him in my arms. He may not have ever taken a breath but he lives in my heart.....forever.