I met the midwife who delivered my youngest at the post office the other day. How did this woman who had not seen me since I gave birth fourteen years ago recognize me? She didn't; but she saw the magnet with my name on it on the side of my Jeep. How wonderful to connect with her and talk about that morning when Elizabeth slithered into this world so quickly that the midwife barely caught her!
Of course, fourteen years ago also holds another significance. Daniel, age four, died three months to the day before his baby sister entered the world. This season holds the joy of Elizabeth's birth and the anguish of Daniel's death.
This time of year is also filled with other memories as it was Memorial Day weekend when Daniel was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. I recall even all these years later (fifteen to be exact) of a red van filled with a happy family on their way to a church picnic and our family in our dusty green van, on the way to the hospital.
Families who have had to deal with cancer in their children have lots of dates to contend with. There's diagnosis and grueling treatment, surgeries and transplants.
Then there are death and birth dates. The cycle with its triggers can affect every single season.
What does a parent do when the triggers slap, sting, or wound? I believe that acknowledging them is key. Shoving them under the carpet only makes for a lumpy floor. Be aware that there are seasons which are hard to grapple with, even years later.
Gravitate toward those who, like you, know the pain of losing a child. Know you aren't alone with your emotions.
Write. Spend fifteen minutes putting your thoughts onto paper. Pour out your sorrow, your frustration, and your longing to hold your child. If blissful memories occur, include those. Write freely; write honestly.
As long as I am alive on this earth, I will miss my Daniel. I will wish for his smile and life with me here. I will never understand why he had to die at age four from cancer treatments. I will see other intact families and need to, on occasion, shield my eyes from their cohesiveness, their unity.
There are times I will be blindsided, confused as to why I feel so glum or removed
from what is happening around me.
Most of all, I will strive to be grateful for the short time I had with a little boy who continues to teach me about loving others, bravery and that, yes, it is possible to watch one video, particularly Toy Story, six times in a row.