It has been 9 long years since Baby Alex died. Nine long years since I found him unresponsive, laying face down during a nap. Nine years since I felt my heart drop out of my body. Nine years since I felt that the best parts of me died, and I would never be the same again.
And life moves on. Even though it felt so callous when people would say, “time heals all wounds.” Time passes and things have moved on. Molly was born, and then Emily. And we moved to MN, and life just keeps going.
I can’t quite imagine what it would be like if Alex were still here. Our family didn’t have 2 brothers for very long… I can’t picture what it would be like to have 2 boys in the family. Does that betray Alex’s memory?
I accept what our family has become. I trust God’s plan for how we go forward. I understand how our lives have evolved.
I long for the baby who didn’t become a toddler. I ache for the child who will never become a man. I pine for the life that was simple and uncomplicated. The life that isn’t fraught with grief, confusion and inexplicable emptiness.
There is joy, laughter and love in this life of ours. There are moments of unabashed simplicity that take my breath away.
The hard part is finding a balance between the two. There is powerful, agonizing grief that emerges without warning. There is arresting pain that surfaces at inopportune times. Times that are too far removed to explain to others who don’t know.
“Hey, sorry I’m having a bad moment. My son died nine years ago, and sometimes it hits me and I don’t know what to do…”
Not only does this hurt, but it still hurts. Every day. Some days more than others, but every day. How do you slog along in life, with this ache that intermittently paralyzes you, for nine long years?
We are grateful for all the blessings in our life. We are grateful for the 3 kids we can kiss and hug everyday. We are grateful for a strong and solid marriage that supports our lives.
The love you feel for three children doesn’t fill the hole you have for the one you lost. If you’re craving chocolate, a handful of jellybeans does nothing. All the light in the word doesn’t fill the darkness left by the loss of a child.
These annual milestones come and go, and I find myself still surprised by the fresh ache of grief that accompanies each one. Baby Alex, we love you. So much that it hurts to remember. So much that it hurts more to forget.