This is a very special and emotional time for me right now. Just last month we welcomed our fourth child, a beautiful baby boy, into our lives. As with every child, he has brought us so much joy and I absolutely love spending my days at home with him.
But also, in just over 2 weeks is the 2nd anniversary of the loss of our Brady. In the week after he died, I wrote this to him in my grief journal:
"Right now I have no desire to run or fast forward past this point in my life. Quite the opposite; I want to slow it down, to live every minute of it doing something for you. I write in this journal, we talk about what to do with your remains... anything to keep the subject focused on you. I am afraid when we stop doing that life will start to move on, to move away from here and the world around us will forget that we are parents grieving the loss of our only son."
In the 2 years since I wrote that, time has moved on and our grief has changed. But I don't think it's accurate to say that time has allowed us to "move on", we (or I at least) have simply "moved forward." Feelings are a strange animal. We don't get to choose how we feel, only how we react to our feelings. At this point in time it seems as if there are 2 doors in my heart, one labeled "Grief" and the other labeled "Joy." I don't get to choose which one is opened on any given day, or sometimes even from one hour to the next. At times I still feel almost consumed with thoughts of Brady and those feelings of loss. Other times, and thankfully more often, I am overwhelmed with the joy of Brett and feel so blessed that he is now a part of our lives.
I knew from the beginning that having another child, even a boy, would not "replace" Brady. But I thought it would help those feelings of loss at least diminish, if not disappear altogether. I was wrong. Just like the addition of a second daughter did not replace the love I had for our first daughter, the addition of a second son did not affect my feelings of loss over our first son. My heart simply grew to accomodate the addition.
When I dwell on my feelings for Brady, I feel almost guilty for not appreciating the gift of Brett more. On the flipside, when I dwell on my feelings for Brett, I feel guilty for not respecting Brady's memory more. I know guilt itself comes in the job description of motherhood for all of us, so I needn't focus on it. I know I can't help feeling it, but no reaction to those feelings is warranted; they will pass.
Instead, I know that I can continue moving forward and each day celebrate the life of Brett, while also being grateful for the blessing of Brady, no matter how brief the time he spent in my arms. All of our children hold their own special and unique places in our hearts and I just pray that amid the daily crying, fighting, sleeplessness and chaos, we never forget to stop and appreciate the beauty of each of their lives. Today, on my 31st birthday, I am most thankful for the gift of my children. Mommy loves you now and always Rayley, Karley, Brady and Brett. <3