Surprisingly, I'm at peace today. I've had my moments of sadness and pain, but for the most part I've been looking back at the time we spent with him with joy and love in my heart.
I woke up this morning to many loving and wonderful messages on our Facebook. Its amazing how much love and support we've recieved as we've traveled this journey. Every bit of love and prayer has meant so much to us.
A fellow loss mom gave me this idea. Each year we are going to donate a toy in Gabriel's age range to a toy drive for his birthday. Evelyn was more than willing to give a toy this year...
After our donation, we went to the cemetary where we decorated his Christmas tree. As we pulled in Evelyn was in the back seat saying "Baby? Baby. Baby bye bye?" And as my heart broke all I could say was "yup, we're visiting the baby who went bye bye... We're gonna see your brother Gabriel." We chose to put solar lights on his tree so that it would automatically turn on each evening.
We tied his birthday balloons to his hook instead of releasing them. We did this because releasing balloons when its cold doesn't usually work very well - and it was chilly out there. The balloons probably won't stay inflated for long, but that's not the point.
We brought him a birthday cupcake and lit a candle. I was just going to allow the candle to burn out on its own, but it never did. We stood there for a long time waiting for it to go out but the flame just flickered and danced in the breeze. I said out loud "That's ok, Evelyn didn't really blow out her first candle either... Your big sister will show you how its done." Its amazing how talking to him, talking to a rock with his name, has become so "normal" for us.
Before we left, we had Evelyn say "Love you Gabriel" as we walked away. She struggled with "Gabriel" but got out "Love you" loud and clear. It's so sad that she has to learn live with this too, at such a young age she understands that this was our baby, and baby went "bye bye".
Evelyn thoroughly enjoyed one of her brother's birthday treats :)
Later, we were joined by a few family members at the cemetary to see Gabriel's tree lit up.
Overall, the day was good. We felt love, we felt warmth even in the chilly Minnesota weather. We spent the day reflecting on those moments we spent with Gabriel and all the moments since.
We miss you little man, we love you and we'll never ever forget you.