The day of Will's funeral and his little tree ~ 2008
Our family in front of Will's tree ~ 2012
Jack clinging to his balloon, telling me "No!" when I told him to let it go :)
Today its been 4 years.
And after all this time, many things have changed.
And many things have not.
My heart and body still know this day.
Without warning I cry.
I feel lost.
I feel anxious.
I am still grieving.
My living children have no idea.
Not yet anyway.
In the coming years they will come to learn that these are "Will's days."
The time of year when I really cannot escape the emotions that build up over the course of the year and suddenly burst out.
I miss him.
I wonder what our family would be like if he hadn't died.
And now that Jack is almost 2, I especially wonder what Will's personality would have been like.
Would he have been more laid back and chill like Declan?
Or full of sass, stubborn and crazy like Jack.
I'll never know.
It sucks to go through life with such questions.
The other new struggle is how to teach our living children about their brother.
Each year we don't know what to do.
I questioned if should finally find a plot and have him buried here in Michigan.
But what if we leave, or move out of state again?
The thought of leaving him here is absolutely devastating.
So his ashes remain in our bedroom.
There is no grave to visit,
no good way to explain to Jack...
Sometimes I wonder if it would also be easier for me to visit a grave.
To see his name etched in stone,
Something for the world to see.
Maybe some day...
But this year we decided we had to do something.
So we got a cake.
G & G and Uncle Eric came over.
We took a photo in front of Will's tree,
and had 4 balloons.
Our new little tradition.
After the cake, we went out back and let go of our balloons with messages of love scribbled on them.
I explained to Jack that they were for his big brother and that they would float up to heaven.
We let them go and watched them float away.
All except Jack.
"Let it go," I gently coaxed him.
And in true Jack fashion, he quietly said, "No."
After a few more minutes he relucantly let go.
We watched them quickly float up and out of sight.
"Oh, wow!" he said...
Yeah, I thought to myself.
How has it been 4 years since I last held my baby?
I remember that first night when he died and being put into the hospital bed as Tim climbed in next to me. Most of that night is a blur, except for the pain and a few random thoughts.
One of those thoughts was how I was going to make it. And what was our life going to look like after such a horrible thing happened? How long before I would feel normal again? What would it be like when his death happened years ago and not just minutes and hours?
And here we are.
4 years and 2 healthy boys later.
I am truly blessed.
And I remember this as I cry tonight,
but it somehow doesn't make it any easier.
I have accepted that I will spend my whole life missing Will & loving him through the 2 boys here with me now.
And next year,
there will be 5 balloons.