Dear April Rey,
Today is 8/8/19.
It is your second birth/death anniversary.
You should be running around as two year olds do, getting into everything and enjoying life. Instead, you are gone.
This week has been hard. For some reason, it sneaks up on me- the grief that is.
It shouldn’t. I know full well that this is the week of your birthday. This is the week we said hello, held you and said goodbye.
And so it shouldn’t surprise me that it’s hard. But it does.
You see, April, I miss you every single day. Every single one of them. All year.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you and carry you with me. Not a day goes by my sweet angel. Not one day.
And so I march into this week thinking it will be the same. The same as every other week, and every other day of missing you.
But this week is different. This whole week I walk around in a daze. Not a care in the world except to focus my energy on you.
This week I don’t want to be strong. I don’t care if Caroline and William eat peanut butter and jelly for dinner, or McDonald’s, or cereal. I know in the scheme of things it just doesn’t matter.
I try to get things done. But I fail.
I start laundry and it sits there.
If I could, I think I’d do nothing all day long, all week. I’d just be with you.
I’d stay in bed and think of you.
I’d go outside and breathe in the fresh air. I’d go on walks and sit under the stars. I’d just be.
With a 4 year old and an 8 month old I don’t get to do those things. I try, and I push the majority of my worries and tasks away this week.
One day, I’ll have those quiet days with you. And on those quiet days I’m sure I’ll wish I had a 4 year old and an 8 month old to keep me busy.
Life is never perfectly how we want it or need it to be.
I want you here. I want one more day. I’d even take one more hour. Just one if I could.
I’d hold you. I’d take you outside to see the world. We’d just sit, and I’d feel your skin against mine just one more time.
I’d tell you I love you just one more time.
As the years go by, you are so present in our lives still. You always will be. Daddy, Caroline and I love you so much. We talk to William about you as well. He’ll know you. He does already. I know you took care of him and delivered him safely to us.
You have so many people that love you so.
And sometimes I feel like I am working so hard to keep your memory alive for others. I write and write and write. I share your story as much as I can. I want people speaking your name. I want people remembering you.
I think that might be my worst fear- that you could be forgotten.
I know you’ll always be remembered by those that matter the most. But part of me wants the whole world to know you and remember you as I do.
Today there have been lots of tears already. It’s only 10 in the morning. I’ve been crying all week- not even trying hard to hold it together, honestly.
Because I know it’s ok.
I need to feel you this week. I need to cry this week. I need to just breathe in the calm and appreciate the beauty of the world and feel your presence.
We went on a nice walk this morning. The breeze was blowing against my skin, there were birds chirping and butterflies flying by. I listened. I felt every little detail around me. I felt you walking with us.
Caroline brought your bear- the one with your heartbeat recorded. We took you along in a tangible way today.
We’re going to bake you a cake today, as we did last year. We’ll decorate it and sing to you. We’ll read you your book, “Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You,” and we’ll talk about you.
Caroline made a book to remember you today. She drew 3 pictures.
One with herself, William, and you. She had me write “April will always be here.”
The second picture was a flower, a tree and a bench, with you in the sky as an angel. She had me write “April always loves us.”
The third picture was of me and your angel. She told me we’d always love each other. Then she had me write “April will eat differently.” LOL She said it was to explain to William, “That you have to eat differently since you are dead.”
Caroline is doing her room time right now, and she requested to sit in her “office” and add more to her April book of drawings. She’s getting her quiet time with you as well.
Daddy wrote me a letter today, since he has to be at work. He told me, “I couldn’t imagine anyone better at loving April than you. You are the best mother any of our children could hope for. Take some comfort in Caroline and William today. They love you so much. April does too.“
Daddy loves you that way. He’s the best daddy to all three of you. And he loves you more than anyone could ever grasp. He keeps me from falling apart on days like today. His strength has radiated to all of us as we walk this hard hard journey together.
There are moments in our lives that horrible things happen, and amazing things come as a result. It’s such a weird feeling, because you find yourself happy about something that happened because of a shitty situation.
You died. It’s as shitty as it gets, April. There’s no way to describe how horrible it feels for your child to die. For you to not get to be in this world.
Caroline told me yesterday- “April doesn’t get to see any part of the whole world,” she said, “It’s gone for her.”
It’s brutal. We cry and miss you. We have so much love to give to you, with nowhere to go. It hurts so badly.
And then I look at the events that have happened since. So many good things have come. Your life has brought true rainbows to us and the world around us.
Our family is strong. So strong. We have to be to make it through something like that. You brought us closer together and you gave us the ability to see our true ability to love one another.
William gets to experience this world. He wouldn’t have been here if you were here. I can’t even wrap my mind around that. I love him so much. I would have missed out on loving him had you lived. Yet I want so desperately for you to have lived.
Countless parents have read your story and found support and felt heard because of you. You’ve brought so many people together and opened up so many conversations.
You’ve truly changed the world.
April Rey. I have no idea how to live without you. We are doing it. We have to figure it out. But I still don’t know how, even 2 years later.
I don’t even know this week is going to be so hard, until I’m in it. Maybe next year I’ll remember and let it be easier on myself when the wave of grief hits.
As we went on our walk today, I noticed our house address “5317”. It never dawned on me before, but the numbers add up to 8/8, your birthday.
Thank you so much for helping us find this peaceful, stunning, place to live. I know you had a hand in it. This place was my breath of fresh air, and my connection to the outside world where I feel you so deeply.
I don’t know what the rest of today looks like. I don’t know what we’re having for dinner. And the reality is that I’m not even concerned. I know we’ll figure today out.
Today is about the moments. Today is one step at a time.
I love you so much, April Rey.
Kisses for a lifetime.
Other posts of interest:
A Donation in your honor for your 2nd birthday (Please read this post if you are interested in donating to the perinatal palliative care team in honor of all of the angels lost too soon)