Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

My Birthday Present

Monday, July 23, 2012
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My son, Ian, turned five years old yesterday.  His birthday is always difficult for me because Chris was alive for his birth.  That may sound odd but while I'm glad to have the memory of what a wonderful father Chris was--even if just for 17 short months--Ian's birthday represents a time when I was naive.  It was before.  It was a time when I thought life worked in a certain way and I was on the cusp of really experiencing it. 

Ian's birthday usually finds me reliving the days surrounding his birth and the months before Chris died.  This normally sends me into a tailspin of depression that lasts several days as I contemplate how different my life looks today than it did on July 22, 2007.  This year, whether because of the passage of time or a redirected focus on myself (I'm having back surgery today), I approached Ian's birthday with a new perspective.  I thought a lot about how much he has grown and changed over time. 

It is fascinating for me to watch as he becomes less of a baby and more of a boy.  His understanding of what happened to his father increases every day as does his overall maturity and capacity for compassion.  He speaks freely of his father when inspired to do so.  He asks questions about death and about Chris's likes (the Bears and Snoopy) and dislikes (pickles and the White Sox).  He loves hearing stories about when Chris was a boy or how he was better at me in almost everything except spelling and whistling.  Whereas early on after Chris died, I walked around on egg shells so as to not cause Ian any pain by mentioning Daddy, we now talk about him in the most casual of ways without thinking about it.  I was so concerned at that time that because my kids were literally babies when Chris died, that it would be cruel to bring him up to them just to tell them that he died.  I didn't understand at the time that they didn't see it that way.  They just enjoyed hearing me talk about the man I loved and the man who loved them into existence.  It has taken me all this time to appreciate that.

So, Ian is now five and while he has grown, he has given me a most meaningful birthday present.  He has helped me remember the gift of his father's impact on our life and helped me forget--ever so slightly--the injustice I feel at his loss.  Thanks, little boy:). 


You inspire me, Wendy, with your courage and grace. This brought tears to my eyes, truly. Thanks for sharing.

My Dear Wendy... I forgot Ian and I shared a birthday! I am so sorry for your pain but I am so glad that you have found a way to share it that may help others. You are an inspiration... not only to other widows/widowers, but to all who have the honor of knowing you. I love reading your blogs. Please know that although we don't see each other like we used to, that you remain close to my heart and I think about you often with prayers for strength and continued comfort. Love you girl.

What a precious gift, and beautifully written. Love to you, Wendy, and prayers for your surgery today.

Wonderful story.

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