The Valentine's Day card that I bought for Justin says:
My Forever Love
I wouldn't change a thing-
not one second...
not one syllable...
not one smile or sorrow
of all we've shared
over the years.
The things I love about you
are the same as always-
your eyes still light my world,
your smile still fills my heart,
your arms still make me feel
secure and loved.
You are the love of my life,
and nothing will ever change that.
Happy Valentine's Day
This card could've easily gotten lost in the shuffle of reds and pinks, hearts and roses. But when I finally picked it up to read it, there was no hesitation in knowing this was the one that spoke to me most. At the end of the day, I wouldn't change the sorrow that we've had to face together. Ultimately, that has made us a stronger couple, better parents, and more faithful individuals. Because of this unspoken thing that we share, loving Dylan and facing his death together, Justin is a part of my life and my heart that no other man could ever be. (And wow, just like that, I figured out what to write on the inside of his card!) Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!
I have some more tv dialogue for you (I promise I don't just sit around and watch tv all day ;). First, it was a conversation between a man and a woman, both widowers (from One Tree Hill; again, it's taken out of context but still totally applies to our losses):
Woman: It's hard, isn't it? Learning to live without them?
Man: Yeah, it's hard making new memories. You know, like it's not fair to them.
Woman: I think, it's not fair to them not to. I mean, they'd want that, wouldn't they? They'd want to know that we face their absence with dignity, grace.
Man: Yeah, well the truth is, I'm not sure I've been that gracious about any of it.
Woman: You're still here, aren't you? Still finding your way? That's about as much grace as anyone can ask.
Second, a conversation between a father and son (also from One Tree Hill, also out of context):
Dad: You miss him?
Son: Yeah . . .
Dad: It's hard when you miss people, but you know if you miss 'em, that means you're lucky. It means you had someone special in your life. Someone worth missing.
Son: Yeah, I guess, I just don't like the missing part so much.
Dad: Yeah, me neither.
There isn't an abundance of references to childloss in pop culture (because it really doesn't happen, now does it?), and we get swept under the rug. So I have to find inspiration where I can. Things that apply to how I'm feeling, words that hit me to my very core.
At the end of the day, I'm still here and still finding my way. And most importantly, Dylan is definitely someone worth missing. (And so are all of your babes . . . for all you babyloss mommas reading this, in case no one has told you lately, your dignity and grace inspire me.)
First and foremost, we are parents. In June 2008, our son Dylan was born. He was our first pregnancy, first child, first time we realized the capacity of our hearts. Sadly, he was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect (HRHS) and, shortly after birth, was also diagnosed as VACTERL. He had a series of birth conditions, and because of the severity of his case, his doctors could not perform all the necessary surgeries that he would need to survive. He was medically classified as a "one in a million" case, and he lived for 6 beautiful days of life before he was Heaven-bound. Losing a child has strengthened our relationship and our faith. Together, we possess the courage to face whatever life throws our way and the will to survive it all. We've even survived the fears and anxiety of subsequent pregnancies and have two healthy and beautiful daughters at home. “The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything they have.”