I had to count the months on my fingers.. April to May, May to June, June to July, July to August. Four months, even though for some reason I thought it was five. Four sounds so…short. Doesn’t feel short though.
Lincoln and I visited Maxwell’s park yesterday while Isabelle was at school. I packed a picnic and brought my folding chair and just sat there while Lincoln ate bites of sandwich in between scavenging for acorns. It’s peaceful, it’s quiet. I talk to him sometimes and tell him what we are all doing, even though I know he already knows, it’s comforting to me. His headstone has been ordered and I am anxious to get that in. I hope we like it. I hope its good enough. I hope what we have chosen will be symbol enough of our love for our son and for our eternal family.
The other day I was changing Lincoln’s diaper in his room and he said “awwww bay max park!” We hadn’t visited in awhile and I said something like yeah we should go visit again. He pointed to nothing in particular and said “bay max!” I asked “Lincoln is baby max with you sometimes?” “yeahhhhh miss you bay max.” “Linc what is Max doing?” “He playing cars.” Babies are special. Brothers are special.
Lincoln is in his twin bed now and for the first time in five years, our crib is empty, just sitting in the front room waiting to be moved to storage.
What’s that saying about not noticing something then you encounter it and bam you see it everywhere? I can’t remember. Google says its the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon or the awareness theory but that’s not the term I was going for…anyway. The point is that I just was sort of blind to this sort of tragedy and all of the sudden it’s everywhere. Infant mortality, babies with congenital heart disease, late term pregnancy loss, etc. Friends, friends of friends, relatives, facebook feeds, blogs… I guess we just don’t talk about it very often but it really does happen more often than we think. You just never think it will happen to you. Ever.
Congenital heart defects are the number one birth defect, impacting like 1% of all births. Twice as many children die from chd every year than all forms of childhood cancer combined. Did you know this? I did not. I’m learning a lot. Maxwell was unique in that he didn’t just have one heart defect but many. Big ones, in fact, which makes him all the more rare. One in a million, I don’t know.
It’s hard for me to know what to say when people ask how we are doing. I don’t want to sound “fine” like unaffected or over it, but I also don’t want to delve into my emotions with every person I encounter. (Like the teller at the bank who asked how many children I had…and why we don’t have accounts for all three…) Coping? Is that the word? Getting a little bit better all the time. But also no, not okay. I’m missing a tiny newborn baby. It’s not okay. I feel different, like a different version of myself.
Four months. In the days following Maxwell’s life, I couldn’t see a week in the future. I couldn’t imagine getting up and taking care of my children, doing laundry and cooking meals. I didn’t think I would be able to mention Max without collapsing into tears. It was hard to imagine going more than a few hours without feeling the most painful sadness I have ever endured. Those days have turned into weeks and the weeks into months, every day is a little bit better than the last.
We love you Max.