It’s almost a month since your anniversary, and I haven’t had a chance to sit down and reflect on your special day. June 19th will forever mark the day we lost you. A day I can recall at any time. A day filled with details and blur at the same time. A day I can recall hour by hour up until there was no more.
I struggled with your birthday. I was exhausted from having to live through our “first” Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas without you, and then it was your birthday only a month later. In the end, your birthday turned out to be a perfect celebration of you, mainly due to your school celebrating and honoring you in a very special way.
For your 1 year anniversary, I felt we were ready to do something. The week leading up to Father’s Day and your anniversary was hard. It was as if I had to force myself to live through those last days together with you once again. I was in Germany and Portugal for work that week, which I still think softened the edges of that week due to not being in our home environment. I still relived those last days in the PICU miles and miles away from home.
We took the day off, which was the right and only thing to do. Your dad and I got up early and biked up Flagstaff. We stopped at the amphitheater to spread some more of your ashes. It was a beautiful Monday morning and in the stillness of the nature we could simply take in the surroundings and talk about you. It was a moment completely dedicated to you. We had breakfast together, which is a rare thing on a Monday morning.
The rest of the day, we had time to prepare for the celebration we had planned in the evening. We didn’t really do something too special, but it was a nice feeling to not have to rush and to not have to juggle work. I had a moment where I questioned if it was the right thing to invite our friends to celebrate you with us. Maybe I made a too big deal out of this very personal day for our family? I could see Sarah getting uncomfortable as we were getting closer to go up to the park where your memory bench is located, knowing she had to face friends who share in her grief.
In the end, it turned out to be a most beautiful evening. An evening where we remembered how very special you will always be, continuing to live on in our hearts. As we got up to the park, a high wind came out of nowhere, and I knew it was your way to say you wanted to have a little part of this as well.
We had 60 red and blue balloons full of love messages we sent up to you from your Minion memory bench. The sun was starting to set against a perfect Colorado summer sky as the balloons drifted up to you. Children were following their balloons until they were only little dots in the sky. It was a time for stillness and reflection.
After the balloon release, kids were playing on the playground and running on the grass – just the way you loved to have it. Friends were sharing memories of you as they were sipping some wine, and thanking us for including them in this sacred day.
As the sun set, we were ready to let this day behind us. Sarah admitted she had had a good time in the end. Joakim and I both left with our hearts full of gratitude for our Jacob tribe who continues to walk side by side with us. That is a true gift to have in life.
I love you to the moon and back,