My middle child and middle son would have been three today. It was so odd to realize that he was actually older than Seth and Evany were when he died, that they were younger than him when they were born. As the years have passed, I have begun to heal. I no longer feel guilty when I laugh. I can be around children his age without falling apart. I don't always say I have five children anymore, although it does still feel like a lie when I tell someone I have four.
I'm healing, but that doesn't mean I don't miss him. Although he died before he ever took a breath, most women start planning out their family the minute they see that second line on a pregnancy test, and I was no different. We planned for him for eight months, and when he didn't come home with us, it turned us all into different people. I became obsessed with keeping my other kids safe, keeping other people's kids safe, trying to keep everyone else from going through what I had. John became distant, bogged down. Ava and Jace became kids who knew that not all babies come home.
I want to much to be lighting candles on a birthday cake for a little boy to blow out today. I'm not sure if he'd be serious or silly, quiet or loud, but I think he might have a dimple and I know he would have gorgeous dark hair. Maybe he'd be into Handy Manny like Fisher or Rescue Heros like Jace. I know, though, that he would be a sweet, loving little boy just like his brothers and sisters.
My life has changed completely because of Eli. Some changes are good, and some are incredibly sad. But Eli, even in his short life, has fulfilled the goal that every one of us has as a Christian...to bring other's to the Lord. Because of his story, someone has gone back to church, has become a Christian, has yelled a little less and cuddled a little more. His story has made pregnant mother's speak up just a little bit louder when they have a feeling something is wrong, and babies have been saved because of it. Eli's story helped gain enough supporters to give his brother a chance to hear. At the end of my life, I will be happy ifI can say I have achieved half those things. I have always felt so appreciative of those of you who go out of your way to tell me about what Eli means to you. There is nothing, nothing worse to a parent who has lost a child than the feeling they've been forgotten.
I have a special nook in my house that's full of Willow Tree Figurines, the kids' handprints, other things like that. On top of a little secretary desk we have all of Eli's things, packed in a plain brown leather suitcase. This way, his things are out, not packed away, close enough to touch any time we want to, but they're not thrown in our faces every second.
Every year, I take out all of his things and look at them. This year, I took photographs as I wentthrough them so that I could share it with those of you who would like to learn a little more about him. The song that's playing is the one that played at his Memorial Service. Thank you so much for all the support you have offered us every single day. I have the very, very best readers and friends anyone could ever ask for. It helps more than you can know.
6 hours ago