When you lose a child (or anyone close to you for that matter) “those dates” on the calendar (that I’ve spoken about probably too many times) always bring up thoughts and emotions that maybe you hadn’t felt in a while. Or maybe feelings that are new to you on your personal grieving journey. Ones you never expected to have.
Last week was the two year anniversary of Quinlan’s passing (holy s***, how has it been two years? And how can it also feel like it’s been a lifetime? Questions that will never be answered). As it’s been for every anniversary/birthday so far, the lead up to the day was more emotional and thought provoking then the actual day itself. I never know how I’m going to feel on the day and that gets me more anxious than anything. Will I break down? Will it just feel like any other day? Will I be angry? More sad than normal? Will it be all of the above? It leads me to wonder if there will ever be an anniversary or birthday that I will allow myself to just be and not worry about the potentials of the day. Perhaps that comes later on down the journey of grief. I’ll let you know. As for this years anniversary, we spent the day being lazy, taking naps (aka feeling the emotional exhaustion that comes with anniversaries), getting some happy distractions from the new baby bear, and going out for sushi at our favorite local restaurant, because, why not. So, I’d say it was a bit of the “just another day” combined with a bit more anger and sadness than others. I still (and probably always will) find myself looking at the clock on these days and thinking “Two years ago at this time I was sitting in the hospital in complete shock”, “Two years ago at this time I was surrounded by friends and family, yet feeling like I was in a fog”. At the same time realizing that you don’t need it to be an anniversary to have a day like that. Those feelings can and will happen on any given day at any given time in the lovely world of grief.
This anniversary has obviously brought on many feelings, but one has somewhat surprised me. It’s the feeling of being thankful. Maybe it’s this renewed parent world I’m living in, but whatever it is, it’s making me feel so incredibly thankful for Quinlan. Throughout the hospital stays, the heartaches, the fears and frustrations, along with everything else that comes with having a medically fragile child, and then of course the loss of a child, there needs to be reminders that there can be much to be thankful for. Things that can easily get lost in the grief.
Here are just some of the things I want to thank Quinlan for:
Thank you for showing me a love that can exist without a single “I love you” ever being uttered.
Thank you for every finger squeeze, snuggle, and smirk given over 2 years 5 months and 1 day.
Thank you for all the pee fountains, poop explosions, and snot filled kisses that really made me experience the parent life.
Thank you for the strength you showed through your entire life.
Thank you for all of the incredible nurses, doctors, therapists, and social workers that came into our lives because of you.
Thank you for being exactly who you were and teaching everyone something more than they knew before meeting you.
Thank you for being the kindest soul who made it easy to surrounded you with love every minute of every day.
Thank you for choosing me as your mom.
Thank you for allowing me to see how strong I can be.
Thank you for having a hand in making your little brother look so much like you.
Thank you for showing me how amazing it is to have a son.
Thank you for the signs you give to show us you’re okay.
And most of all, thank you for being the one to make me a mom and knowing that fact will never change.