Today’s my birthday. 36. It’s kinda bittersweet for me.
Last year on this day, I received the best gift ever:
A positive pregnancy test.
I spent the morning last year at Pure Barre with one of my girlfriends. Then, Brett and I just relaxed for the remainder of the day with our happy news together. I was totally content and at peace with the world. Dreaming about the future with my little family.
Flash-forward to a year later and, last night, I found myself sobbing in bed on top of the dog. Just thinking about how this year’s birthday was supposed to be different. How I’m supposed to still have my perfect birthday present here with me. How I could wake up and creep into the nursery for some early morning cuddles with my little peanut.
Instead, the cruelty of life and reality sets in. I spent most of this past weekend in bed, sick with the flu, a temperature over 100 degrees, chills, cough and body aches. I had to miss a huge fundraiser for The TEARS Foundation that I was so looking forward to.
I’ve decided to take a little mental health break today and just be nice to myself. We had a lot of snow and ice last night. Schools are closed in the area. I’ve been awake since about 6 a.m. when Brett whispered “Happy Birthday” in my ear before heading into the shower. I can’t wait for him to get home.
I’m going to spend the afternoon at the hair salon getting a new cut and color. The grays are getting far more noticeable in my curly locks after this year. I’ve decided to do something a little out-of-the-box for me so we’ll see how it goes. Just needed a change. Then, we’ll make some dinner together, watch “Jeopardy” and cuddle with Dakota. Our usual weeknight routine.
No big celebration. No cake. No presents. Just us and our reality. It’s not sad and I don’t want pity from people. It’s just the reality of life. This new reality where I have to keep going. Where I know that I’m still going to have more birthdays, year after year. But, my little one up in heaven won’t ever have any more. It’s like he’s frozen in time and a part of me is there stuck with him. Yet, there’s always going to be that other part of me that can’t stay there and be with him because that isn’t where my life is. My life and new reality is learning to move on from that. To remember. To make new memories.
And, that’s one of the hard parts about grief. Straddling this line between two me’s. One that is clinging to the past and another that is trying to move ahead. It’s a struggle. It’s a battle. But, I’m determined to not get dragged down by loss and despair and hopelessness.
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I’ve been channeling some of my grief and energy into volunteering. This summer, we found a support group in our area from The TEARS Foundation. It has been a huge lifeline to us to talk with other moms and dads going through similar losses. I don’t know where I would be today if I didn’t have them to vent to about stupid stuff that ticks me off or to be a shoulder to cry on when I need it.
This past Friday, the local Massachusetts Chapter hosted a comedy night fundraiser. We were so psyched to go but with a 100.7 fever Brett said I couldn’t go infect the masses. I was bummed. Still, the event raised more than $10,000!
It was the kick-off to the 2nd annual Rock & Walk that’s going to be held June 25, 2017. Brett and I have started a team in honor of Emmett called appropriately “Emmett’s Sole Mates.” This year for my birthday, I’m asking that people make a small donation in lieu of cards or presents to help jump-start our eager fundraising goal of $5,000.
I know we can do it. I have faith in my family and friends to help rally together for this great cause. And, it is a great cause. I’ll be posting more in the coming weeks about the fundraiser and ways to support us, as well as how your gift supports The TEARS Foundation.
Love and Hugs