Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Jackson

Dear Jackson,

Today, if you were living, you would be 2 years old. Dad & I would have planned a little party for you & I would have been able to pick out some gifts & bake you a birthday cake. Maybe it would have been strawberry cake...that has always been your dad's favorite. I would have held you close & told you how special you are & what a difference you would make in the world. I would have told you what different people you have turned your dad & I into, how you've improved us by giving us the titles of mother & father. I would have made this day about you & the unique role you play in your family. I would have laughed & played & would have gone to bed grateful to have a 2-year-old son. I would have done a lot of things that I am not doing. Our lives would be so different if you were here. I think that I would have felt like I had more purpose & more influence for good. But why tell you what I would have done had you been here? Why not tell you what I am doing now?

Now I am thanking Heavenly Father EVERY DAY (not just on your birthday) that you are mine. I am thanking him for letting me see how much I can love a person, for letting me know that there are certain people who were absolutely meant to be in my life. You are definitely one of those people Jackson. I am trying to tell the world about you, so that they can feel blessed to be a part of your story. I have a stronger testimony of the importance of being sealed in the temple. I have a greater knowledge of what it means to feel people's prayers working in my life. Over & over again, I have been a witness of what it means to "bear one another's burdens" & to "mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort". I could list so many people who have demonstrated that perfectly.

I love you. I miss you. Today is technically your birthday (it's almost 3am), but I haven't slept. Yesterday was very hard for me without you here. I tend to panic when your birthday comes because it is one of those days that I just have to face. I can't run away from it. I can't put it in the back of my mind & deal with it later. I can't change what day it is & the reality that I have a son who I've been without for the past two years. Jackson, sometimes it seems like so much longer than that. Sometimes it seems like I haven't seen you in ten years. I don't want to forget any part of you...ever. I feel such a range of emotions. I am feeling discouraged. Yesterday I just sat on the couch and did nothing for periods of time. I just kept thinking that I needed to clean the house & get groceries & do so many other things...but then my brain just kept asking, "Why in the world would you do such a little thing like that when tomorrow is your baby's birthday?" That's all I could think about.

Sometimes I feel lost without you. Sometimes I feel like a huge part of me is missing. Sometimes I just want to curl up in a ball & cry until I feel like I can't cry anymore...& once in awhile I do. But do you know what Jackson? You also make me feel more whole than I've ever felt in my life. You make me feel more grounded than I've ever been. You can even make me feel like I am the most important person in the world & that you don't want to be without me either. You know the experiences that we've had together. I've heard you & felt you close to me. Not many people get to experience something like that. You help me to have an eternal perspective. You brought out a side of your dad that I didn't know was there, & your death made us stronger & happier to be with each other.

I will be thinking about you all day. I will be thinking about every good thing that has come into my life because of you. I will be setting goals & looking for ways to become a better person & a better mom to you. I know that I can't teach you right now, here on this earth, but I hope that I can become a better mother every day by the way that I live. I know that where you're at, you probably don't care much about birthdays, but I want to wish you a happy 2nd birthday anyway. Remember that I love you & that you can do anything. Remember that Dad loves you & remember how happy he was when you were born. Remember the experiences that we had together in that hospital room 2 years ago, & the way that heaven & earth seemed to meet...& help us to never forget it.

Love you,

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Almost There...

We were able to go to Snowflake the week before Lincoln started school to pour the foundation for Jackson's headstone. Dad, Matt and Lincoln all worked on it and it turned out well. It's funny that I can get such a feeling of satisfaction from seeing a slab of cement...but it made me really happy to see that his headstone is almost in place.
I'm not sure why it took us 2 years to get his headstone up. Most of it was just because we thought it would be more expensive than it ended up being, and we just kind of moved on to other things. Now I am worried that once the headstone is up, I will feel like there isn't much more that we can do for our little boy.

We will still have his birthdays to celebrate, which will be nice, but this marks the end of our "taking care" of him and his things. All of his baby clothes have been packed up for a long time, his bedroom is full of boxes of our stuff, and we still only have the same pictures to look at that we had from day one. That is a little hard for me to swallow.

I really do know that this is the right thing for Lincoln & I, & that we will have even more joy than we ever thought possible when we see our little boy again. That will make our reunion so much sweeter...because we know what life is like without him here.

I am also worried because in my eyes my little boy is growing up. That probably doesn't make any sense...but as time has gone on, Jackson has grown up to me. Right now (in my mind) he is a week from turning 2 years old. I feel like I know him and what he would be like at that age...but will I feel close to him and feel like I still know him when he would be turning 5...or 10?

I really hope that I can keep my memories of him close to my heart and that I will never ever forget the way that he felt cradled in my arms or the way that I felt when I looked at his daddy giving him his baby blessing. I hope that I never forget the dozens of flowers that were sent to us or the kind words from people that we hadn't talked to in years. I don't want to forget looking in my parents' eyes and seeing the love that they had in their hearts for their first grandchild. I want to always remember Heavenly Father's love and feelings of advice and comfort. I don't want to forget how proud He was of me for handling the situation that I had been dealt, and for looking for the good in it. I will forever be grateful to Him for letting ME be the mother of this INCREDIBLE boy. Most of all, I KNOW that I will never forget Jackson's spirit being in the room all night with us at the hospital. We had our time with him, even though it was shorter than most parents' time with their child. Because of that, we felt feelings for and from Jackson that don't even compare to anything on this earth. And I will never, ever forget that.