VI is Six: Experiencing Birthdays of Child Loss

Happy Birthday, my Sweet Boy.

Words are hard today, and I don’t much like it that way. Usually I can spread my emotions around on a page with expression and let the love, the sad, the anger float around for a bit before I tuck it back in for a while. Today…it just hurts.

Hurts to think about, to remember, to wish and to wonder. Would we be giggling through your favorite breakfast? Planning last minute details for your themed party? Would you be making last minute changes to the flavor of your cake?

The further I get from the day of your birth (and death), the further I feel from your memory. I hope you don’t feel too lost from me, jumping around the feet of Jesus, I hope you’re asking for a glimpse of us too.

I’ll forget you never and I’ll long to hold you always.

As I wrote these words through tears, my husband asked gently, “Are you going to be ok?”
“I am,” I responded. “It’s better after I get it all out.”

It’s true.

Thus is this day for me each year since 2014. John Karl, who we called V (Six) for a bit, would turn six years old today. Now I’m smiling as I put those words into writing. Smiling thinking of how much fun that would have been for him. I’m sure we would have made a whole thing of it.

Thanks for letting me get the sad out of the way so I can be reminded of the joy he brought to us and often still does. Memories of him are some of my most painful and my favorite at the same time.

Dreaming about what he might look like or sound like or act like happens almost daily for me, not just on his birthday. Though this is the day I usually take to share out publicly, so that my greatest fear doesn’t come true.

The greatest fear? Forgetting him. I don’t think I physically can forget the child that grew inside me, kicked and swayed for 37 weeks and 1 day. The boy we thought would never arrive that would be the namesake for 5 generations before him. I remember him, I hope you all will today.

Just like last year and the years before I hope you’ll choose to #lovejohnkarl today and do something kind for someone else. Hold a door, wear a mask, buy a coffee, send a text. Whatever that kindness looks like for you. Think of our boy when you do it and we will too.

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