For the last 11 months I have dreaded July. July is the month that our son was born in and July is the month that our son died in. And for the last 11 months I have anxiously (and not in a good way) awaited July. And now, July is here. For the last 11 months, I have wondered what July be like. Would I cry every day? Would I be able to make it? Would I be in a bad mood? I’m happy to report that so far none of those have happened and we’re already three days into the month. That means we’ve got 28 more to go! But-I can’t and I’m not going to promise that any of the aforementioned won’t happen before July is over.
If there’s anything that I’ve learned about grief and especially grieving an infant, it’s that sometimes the act of grieving-in whatever form that may show up-can come at any moment…unexpected….and unannounced. And while a lot of times, people may be anxious about anniversaries that have to deal with their child’s life or death, sometimes it’s not the “big” anniversary dates that throw a person into a downward spiral of grief–it’s those days and times when they least expect it.
My original due date for Junior to be born was August 16 but by the time August 16 had arrived he had already made his precious entrance into and exit out of the world. And so the day came and went without a lot of emotion other than me personally acknowledging that it was the day he was supposed to be born. But last month when I reflected on the fact that it had been a year since our friends and family threw our baby shower, I cried myself to sleep and cried some more for the first part of the next day. Go figure.
I say all of this to say that anniversary dates aren’t going to stop coming. And just as one of my good friends and fellow angel moms has shared with me-“time stops for no one.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t even stop for us angel parents who have to live through anniversaries and birthdays without our children. But, that also means that as time goes on and as we go on with it, there will be more opportunities for us to keep our children’s memories alive. Birthday and anniversary dates are going to show up as long as there are 365 (and sometimes 366) days every year. But maybe instead of being anxious about those days, months or seasons, we can start looking at them through the lenses of a different perspective and with a statement of courage for ourselves. Maybe, just maybe the next time one of those anniversary dates show up, we can turn it into an anniversary of sorts for ourselves, where we can say with a boldness in our hearts that yep, we’ve made it to–and through–another day. And the thought of turning what would normally be a recurring sad day of reflection into one that’s marked with resilience and strength makes me a lot less anxious about anniversaries.
-Written by Danielle Jones