Thursday, May 7, 2009


You know how when you're talking to someone and you suddenly realize you share a birthday? That feeling of comaraderie that somehow springs up, even if you don't know them? Wow, they've got the same birthday as me! That's got to make them awesome

After Eli was born, I wondered how I would feel if I met someone with his birthday. Jealous? Happy? I knew that it was difficult for me to be around babies that were around the age he should be. I knew, the older he got, the harder it seemed to see those little boys that were the age my son should be running around, see them learning to talk and walk and tell knock knock jokes. 

Then I heard from my friend Mandy, who not only had a baby who shared Eli's birthday, but had a baby who died on Eli's, and his own, birthday. Mandy and I became fast friends, bonding over that shared date of ours, the day the world as we knew it came crashing down. Mandy was yet another blessing that came out of what felt like pure hell to me. How funny, how small, is the internet blogging world, where you can run into someone who's baby died on the same day your baby died. Weird. Morbid. Comforting. Sad.

One of the reasons I never wanted to go to a support group after Eli died was because I didn't want to hear about those other babies who died. Not because I thought Eli was better or more special than them, but I wanted our family to be unique in our grief...I didn't want other families to have gone through what we were going through, the act of handing your baby back to God before you even got a chance to know them. It felt like if I admitted that it happened to other people, I would be admitting that babies just die, sometimes, and that is one of the most depressing thoughts ever. You don't want to think that babies just die, sometimes. You want to think that sometimes, God allows a baby to go to heaven early, to make a point for the greater good, or to set some butterfly wing effect in motion. I can understand, grasp one baby dying.  Knowing about all these other babies who die makes it seem to big, too horrifying to wrap your brain around. 

So you can imagine my surprise and shock when I was checking out my dear friend Julie's design blog (She's awesome, and rocks my socks, btw!), and came across a blog she did recently for someone else who had a baby who died. The design was pretty, and I clicked over to check it out, only to be completely shocked to see that her baby was born and died on 3/28, too. Her name is Carleigh

Eli 3.28.07-3.28.07
Connor 3.28.08-3.28.08
Carleigh  3.28.09-3.28.09

It's kind of a bit much. I look at Mandy, pregnant with Mia, due just when I was due with Seth, and I know just what she is feeling, just over a year out from her son's death, awaiting the birth of her rainbow baby. I read about Holly, just over a month out fromthe death of her son, and I know just what she is feeling, too. Will it ever get better? Will I ever feel like myself?

Yes...No. Yes...No. 

It gets better. Then you realize it's better and you feel bad all over again. You get back to yourself and realize you like the new self, the broken self, even better because at least that self knows there are more important things out there than the right school, fights with girlfriends, or whether your house is clean. The new self gets it. Gets that we never ever know how much time we have, that we are here only in passing, on our way to the real deal, heaven. 

Funny how even though both of these women and I are in the club of lost children, the worst membership ever, I can still find stabbing jealousy deep down. Mandy got to see Connor alive. I didn't get to see Eli alive. Holly knew her daughter was going to die, and was able to prepare, to do everything that felt right with Carleigh both before and after she was born so that she would have those memories. I was in so much shock with Eli that I'm lucky we did everything we did. Looking back, I would have done so much more. We were flying by the seat of our pants in the middle of a nightmare. It was hard to decide anything. 

What's done is done, though, and in the end, although it pains me to know that on each of Eli's birthdays, other babies were dying, other parents were beginning their long journey of grief, it does make me smile to think of Eli up there in heaven on his birthday, welcoming new friends, saying "What? Today's your birthday, too? You must be totally cool!"


Kara said...

I love you. That in the midst of all this grief and pain, you can still take time to SEE your son, greeting new friends into heaven, and to continue to share your story with others who may or may not be going through a similar story, is what's so amazing about you. You've been through so much, throughout your entire life. Yet you continue to inspire, to feel, to love, and to change the lives of the people who know you in immeasurable ways. You're a Godsend, and I'm proud, everyday, to call you my friend. I hope you know that.

E @ Scottsville said...

Oh El, that ending...that final paragraph. That's perfect! That took me from grief for you, to a BIGGER PICTURE! You are absolutely right. We here feel sad, but they there are not. WOW!

I can't imagine how hard it is, nor do I want to. But my heart does go out to you and I do pray for you. =0)

Sonya said...

Totally cool!! that is exactly what he is saying to his birthday buddies. I am so sorry for all of your losses, I cannot imagine how you or any of the other mother's feel.

Mandy & Jeremy Hall said... just know how to say it. Another one added to our club on the same day...3/28. Like I have on my blog...the best and worst day ever.
Think of you often... The birthday bear is sitting, ready to go for the arrival of little Mia. 2 more months, 2 more months...

Eve said...

What a beautiful picture that makes - the babies in heaven, finding each other and sharing their birthdays!

Julie said...

What an amazing thing the blog world is. It didn't even dawn on me that Carleigh & Eli share a birthday. Love your thought at the true.

Love you El. Thanks for the compliment btw.

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