I get extremely anxious leading up to Naethyn's angelversary. During the months of February and March, I do my best not to unravel completely. I just relive so many moments in my mind. They happen just as I'm leaving the house to go to one of T's therapies, driving, doing something in the house, or words in a conversation that I may or may not be a part of. It's normal, I know. There are still triggers everywhere. I had to use the restroom so badly at a Toys R Us one weekend. I didn't want to pass by the baby section (it was one of those Toys R Us and Babies R Us combo stores), but my bladder was about to explode. I did okay. I didn't have hateful thoughts for people as they browsed the section. I held my breath as I made my way to the restrooms as not to catch a whiff of diapers or baby powder too deeply in my nasal passages.
I'm still so angry and sad about it all. I have a lot of anger towards myself and my negligent OB. I am trying to not let the anger consume me. It has now been 7 years of dealing with grief and anger. I'm handling it the best way I know how. Anger can be a good motivating tool, so I have been trying all this time to channel it in other ways. Whether I'm trying to fundraise, share, help others, consume myself with little projects, and avoiding certain things and people. What an idea for a book title: Being Productive Through Anger. It's probably already out there. As a mother, I will always carry some degree of guilt. I am nowhere near forgiving myself for not going to the hospital sooner or for switching OBs when we were transferred to her and I had so many doubts. I have been seeing a lot of personal injury claims on tv recently too which doesn't help.
For Naethyn's angelversary, we stayed close to home. We had just gone to CA twice, so none of us felt like getting in the car for a long road trip. The night before, I was doing some online shopping or trying to. The store site wasn't working. I was after an item for the kids' Easter baskets. On his angelversary, March 6th, we went to that store to see if they had the item in stock. I should have called first, but it was nice just to get out for a short drive. The weather here is the same. It's wonderful weather, right amount of wind and sunshine, just gorgeous. I never thought weather could be a painful trigger too. We arrived at the store, I popped in just me. The (4) that were available the night prior were gone. There were more in stock at a store clear across town, but it was so out of our area. I relayed the info to the family and my husband knew. I was determined to get these cloth carrot napkins! Something was going to go my way today of all days. I wasn't going to stop until I had these babies in my possession. Seems so dumb, but it was important to me. We arrived at the next store and they had more than 4 left. I debated buying (5) of them. I mean, we don't set a place for him at the table. I have a table with 4 chairs. We've never done it and I didn't want to start that. For me, it wasn't right. I have this green bunny candle that I received as a present from my German family a few years ago. I figured, he'd just be the bunny in the middle.
That night on Naethyn's angelversary, we made a cake. We didn't sing this time, but we all had a moment of silence. We explained what that was to T. We told the kids to think about their brother and maybe send him a nice thought in their head. I cut the cake and yeah, I cut the pieces super big! The kids eyes were huge when I put the pieces in front of them. They know why they got large slices. Today was a special day. They didn't question it and just dove in. It was the best cake they said. Ever eat cake with tears streaming down your face? Yeah, that's how it goes.
That Monday after angelversary, D had an ortho appointment. The place was empty as I think we were the first ones to be seen. The receptionist asked the boys if they had a good weekend. D starts off by saying that it was his youngest brother's angelversary yesterday. Then T says, "Yeah, he just died in my mommy's tummy at 30 weeks." It don't even discuss those details with them. It's on their walk shirts and they just know his story. I was a bit stunned that T shared all of that, but they boys shared with such pride. Any bit of nervousness that I felt in that moment completely disappeared just by seeing how confident they were in telling about their baby brother. The receptionist and the two dental tech gals just smiled at them and said how sweet that was to remember him. I know that when I'm long gone, my boys will still remember him. For me, that's all I want is for someone to remember him. As the family tree expands in the future, I just want him to be included. D is processing the loss more now. You know those sleeves of candy about 6 pieces that sell for $1? The kind you put in your purse and sneak into the movie theatre? When we saw Zootopia, D said, "If Naethyn was here, we'd each get two pieces." It's those comments that tell me he's thinking in terms of three, something that I have had to untrain myself to do for 7 years now. I just smile at him letting him know that I am so pleased he's got such a big heart.
We aren't Irish, as far as I know in the family history, but you'd think we had some kind of a fetish going with the Irish/Welsh names and spellings I chose for my kids. See, after St. Patrick's Day, Easter was the next holiday to be celebrated. I had to really pick myself up that year to be creative and happy. T was just 19 months old. The concept of hunting for eggs was totally new and he wasn't making ANY words back then either. I have pictures of my then silent kiddo and to look at him now, just amazing! The kids had a fun time this year with their scavenger hunt. I make 'em work for it. I put clues in the eggs which eventually lead to their baskets. Each year, they request that the hunt be longer, more eggs with clues. I think they enjoy that part more than what's in the actual basket. This year, T didn't need help. He was able to read the clues and understand them. No help from us. It was really neat to see that progress and to see them enjoying. D has a good time too. He's so like me. Even though the basket's contents had a Minecraft book, two t-shirts, a Lego Minifigure, cash, and some chocolate, he was hoping for a bigger gift. I had to remind him that this isn't Christmas and really, it's not about the gifts. He's way too young for Passion of the Christ yet, but we did talk about why Easter is celebrated. Sunday Morning had a little history of the Easter rabbit too, so that was neat for them to watch.
Like so many angel moms, I'm trying. Each day, I try to be grateful for even the smallest of things. I am trying to live "my best life." I am not putting forth the best version of myself though. I have lots of work to do there. There are still parts of me that are the same, but my perspective on life has changed. Our local MOD walk is coming up in another week. I'm looking forward to it, but it's another reminder. I'll be out there walking with so many other families. It's something that I can do for Naethyn, to honor him, my living preemies, and give hope to other families living a new normal.
It sounds like you had a special celebration for Naethyn's angelversary. I understand the guilt that never goes away. I still feel it too and I know it will always be there. It is so sweet that D and T like to share their brother with others. You are so right that they will carry on his memory.
I love your scavenger hunt idea! By the way, Hunter is a bit like D. He got a dollar from the tooth fairy and said "it's ok, the rest of the day will be better". I was cracking up (and cringing a little).
No words but many hugs and a lot of love.
Sending you so much love and HUGS! Wish I could hug you in person! Please know that I am thinking about you!
hugs to you. Those days, weeks leading up to their anniversary I think are sometimes harder than the actual day. I too can get my mind set on having a certain thing especially during the "hard" weeks and nothing will stop me from getting them. It's like we are making sure we get something and have some sort of control...How proud your boys are of their brother. I like how children can just share and put things so simply when we struggle so much with it. Nicki
I love how you celebrated Naethyn's angelversary, and I smiled when you talked about how your boys are remembering their brother. Kaelin does the same thing at times, and insists on having a picture of them in her room.
No matter how many years go by, the anger, sadness and every other emotion will continue to exist. I don't think it's something that any of us angel parents can ever make go away. Those emotions, to me, are a reminder of the love we will always have for our angels even though they aren't where we want them to be.
I hope your walk goes well. Ours is April 24. Many hugs and much love to you.
Sounds like you had a nice angelversary for Naethyn. I love how his brothers proudly shared the story of their brother. How sweet! The what ifs also creep into my mind, especially around angelversary time. It's hard not to still be angry about losing a child. For me I'm still trying to dissect and analyze the situation. I'm not sure if that will ever go away no matter how much time passes. Thinking of you!
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