If you had told me a year ago (and some of you did) that the grief wouldn't be as heavy as it was right after Noah left, I would have ignored you and thought you didn't know what you were talking about. I couldn't imagine at the time being able to make it through an entire day without breaking down. I can now say that even by just the first day after Noah's 1st Birthday, I felt like I could breathe for the first time. All of the blog moms who have lost babies told me it got better after the 1st birthday and I guess they were right. Making it through all the firsts, dealing with them head-on, I now feel like my life can move forward. It doesn't mean I won't grieve anymore...that I won't cry or scream or hold onto to Noah's blanket or his tiny onesie as tight as I can and just sob all night long. Those moments are still going to happen. I'm convinced they will happen for the rest of my life. It doesn't matter that it has been more than 50 years since my grandparents lost their 2nd daughter when she was 5 months old to a crib accident...time doesn't let you forget. I will always ache for Noah.
David and I have had some long talks lately about moving forward. Not only do we need to really try to move forward for us but we need to let Ethan move forward. We have always talked so openly about Noah in our home and Noah's room has still been called "Noah's room". Last week something happened that made us decide we need to make some changes at home in regards to how we talk about Noah. The principal at Ethan's school called David last week to let us know that Ethan had said something at daycare that concerned them. Ethan was talking with another child in his class and announced, "I will only be in daycare for 3 more days." The other child asked why, to which Ethan replied, "because I'm going to die in 3 days." The teacher calmly picked him up and set him in her lap and asked why he'd said that. He then said, "because I'm going to Heaven so I can go see my baby brother." I was very upset when David called to tell me, but we didn't want to make a big deal about it to Ethan as if he'd said something wrong. We did talk to him about it a little bit and he doesn't really even remember saying it. I think he is trying to make sense of everything and since we had a celebration for Noah's birthday, Ethan really just wanted to see Noah.
Ethan had asked many times the week of Noah's birthday, "When is Noah coming to blow out his birthday candles?" It's so hard to explain to a 4-year old that their brother is in Heaven, not coming back, but we will see him again one day - to which he then asks "well, when will we go see him Mommy?"
I don't want Ethan to worry about death and I hate it that he has had to experience this loss at such a young age. We just try to focus more on the hope of Heaven when talking to him about it.
We want Ethan to remember Noah, but while he is still so young we feel like it's important to only talk about Noah when Ethan brings him up (instead of us mentioning him when we pray with Ethan at night or talking about Noah in front of him, etc.). Because so many of Ethan's toys are in Noah's room right now, we've decided to start calling it "the play room". We think sometimes that maybe calling it "Noah's room" was confusing to Ethan...that maybe he thought Noah was still coming here at some point. We just have to find a healthy balance of allowing Ethan to talk about Noah and ask questions but without David or me bringing him up as much as we have. We want Ethan to know that while we are sad Noah isn't here, we are so happy that Ethan is here and we want to focus our time and energy on him. Hope that makes sense.
The blog will still be an outlet for me...a place to share how I'm feeling and to gain insight and encouragement from others who know what we are going through and to give hope to those who will walk just a few steps behind us in this journey. I also plan to "show off" Ethan a little more than I have been as he is so very precious to me. I love that little boy so much and we are so very blessed that God would give him to us. And to brag on him for a minute....His teachers and the administration at his daycare are always telling us how smart Ethan is. Since he was a year old every teacher has proclaimed, "I swear he's the smartest kid in the class...his speech is so developed for his age." Yesterday I picked him up from daycare and as I was leaving the lady at the front desk stopped me and said, "Janice (the owner) and I were just discussing Ethan. We are trying to determine which pre-K class we should put him in. We want to make sure he is with the best teacher...someone smart enough for Ethan."
And his Mommy grinned from ear to ear.