Happy 1st Birthday Baby Boy

As many of you know, this last Saturday, July 30th, was our sweet angel Everett’s 1st birthday in Heaven. As we spent our day as a family focusing on the many lessons his short life taught us we were reminded to take every moment we are given and cherish it as it’s our last.

It is hard to put into words what it feels like to celebrate a precious life taken from your family too soon and although we chose to focus on celebrating his life and not mourning his death it was still one of the hardest days of my life. A day, that I’m sure as the years go on without him will continue to bring just as much joy as it does pain.

Despite it all, I can say this, we felt him. We felt him in every moment we spent as a family on Saturday soaking up the time we have together in his memory. We felt him there with us honoring his first birthday as we made him a cake and his brother’s picked at it just like he would’ve for his smash cake session if he would’ve been born alive and well into our arms. We felt his light and laughter there with us as we sang him Happy Birthday and sent up his 1st birthday messages on a balloon to him in Heaven; sending all our love and kisses along with it. We felt him as we tucked his brothers into bed that night answering seemingly endless questions about their brother that continue to bring tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.

No matter where we are, no matter what we do, we will always feel his presence, he will always be a part of our family, he will always be celebrated. Everett may be our missing piece, but his memory will never be missing from our lives. Our children will grow up knowing and loving their brother awaiting them in Heaven; celebrating his birthday and honoring his short life here with us.

Happy 1st Birthday: Mommy loves you baby boy.

Always & forever.

From now until eternity.

 

#captureyourgrief day 20: forgiveness and humanity

Today’s post was especially hard for me to write as thoughts whirled around my head, but refused to be put onto paper. Even now, I write through tear clouded eyes and mascara stained checks. I tell you this not to make you worry about my well being or to gain your sympathy, but so you know the truth that is a bereaved mother’s reality. Remembering and honoring a life you no longer get to hold is a double edged sword; honoring Everett’s short life and acknowledging our angel in Heaven makes my soul soar and my heart swell, but the reality is, I am doing just that, remembering him, and those memories are all I’ll ever have. I don’t finish a post early in order to pick up a hungry newborn needed to be nursed back to sleep or get interrupted by the sweet sounds of his cooing. I am a bereaved mother. And unlike his brothers (whom I thank the Lord every day for allowing me to hold here on this Earth), my third son will spend his life in Heaven and the reality of that slams my soul back down to Earth faster than I ever thought possible.

The martyr in me wants to perfectly articulate to the whole world exactly how my life, my heart, and my faith were shattered into a million pieces the day we found out we’d lost our precious baby boy, but the mother in me knows that reality isn’t ours. We are blessed; we have two children here on this Earth we get to love and hold every day. Two children who, alongside my husband, keep me from losing myself in grief, piece back together the majority of my broken heart, and renew my faith in our Lord and Savior. But, despite these precious souls I have been entrusted with, a piece of my heart remains scattered, searching for the piece of our family’s puzzle that will never be completed while we walk this Earth; a fact that often weighs heavy on my heart and leaves me guiltily wondering:

Are my children not enough? Is my husband not enough? Is my faith not enough? 

And now is about the point where the message behind today’s subject slaps me across the face: forgiveness and humanity.

I may be a mother with a super human ability to juggle what seems like a million tasks, run a day care, keep the house clean, and get the kids fed, bathed, and in bed on time (okay, okay, I admit, my husband helps too); but I am only human. I have flaws; about a million of them, and I choose to forgive myself for those flaws. I forgive myself for the days where my grief overshadows my joy and for the days when my grief isn’t even an after thought. I forgive myself for everything that I do not have the strength to do in honor of our angel, and for everything that I do (as it often feels like I am betraying my living children by honoring their brother in such an outspoken way). I forgive myself for putting my living family above my son in Heaven on days where I am stretched too thin. I forgive myself for the days I look at Jack and Lucas and all I can see is the moments Everett should have been a part of and for all the moments I enjoy without Everett here with us. I forgive myself for all my short falls and embrace my imperfections. I am only human. You are only human. We are only human.

So, to all those bereaved parents out there who struggle with the balance of appreciating the lives you get to hold here on this Earth and honoring the ones taken from you too soon. I stand with you, you are not alone. Forgive yourself. Love yourself. Honor yourself. I promise you, by doing so you will honor your angel looking down on you from Heaven proudly telling his baby angel buddies, “See that family down there, those are the ones I call my own.NILMDTS-KingMemorial(5of57)

Photo credit: 9 Sparrow Lane
Photo credit: 9 Sparrow Lane

#captureyourgrief day 12: normalizing grief

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I am a mother, a mother of three boys; only two of which you can see. Our third son, Everett Charles King, was born sleeping on July 30th, 2015 at 1:06 am weighing .74 oz and measuring 4 1/2 inches long. He was not a bundle of tissue, a mass of cells, or a lost pregnancy. He was a fearfully and wonderfully made masterpiece. He was a child of God with ten little fingers, ten wrinkly toes, two eyes, two ears, and a mouth. A baby whose heart inexplicably stopped beating before he could take his first breath. Everett is our child. Our third son. Our sons younger brother. A part of our family. Don’t ask me to keep his memory locked up in a box out of sight and private. Push past your discomfort, your lack of words, that unavoidable awkward pause after I tell you I have three boys; two living and one in Heaven and honor his short life with me. Ask me about him. Say his name. Share his story. Acknowledge his life and his death. Know that although we may heal and have more children Everett will never be forgotten. His memory will never fade and he will always be counted in our numbers.

‪#‎captureyourgrief‬ day 8: wish list

      This is what I wished for & I refuse to let my grief take that away from me. 12143091_10103179838884349_7383556277442505489_nI’ve hoped, wished, & prayed to be a mother for as long as I can remember. I’ve wanted nothing more than to stay home and raise our children since the day I saw our fist two pink lines on our tiny apartment’s bathroom sink. All I’ve wanted since the day I held out first born son in my arms was to have a happy home filled with giggles and laughter. To cherish every moment of a growing babies life inside and outside of my womb. To have my days filled with kisses, hugs, and tickle fights. I refuse to let Everett’s short life take away joy instead of add to it like it should. I wish to honor our sweet angel by giving his brothers the beautiful life they deserve. I will not allow my grief to overwhelm me, to take away the life we should’ve had. Instead I choose to honor and cherish the short time we got with him, to spend every moment we get with his brothers living life to the fullest, and taking advantage of every breath we breathe. Everett, you are my wish, your brothers are my wish, and your future siblings are my wish. 

Photo credit to the talented T. Marie Photography