This Sunday is Easter. It’s also the birthday of my sweet angel Connor, my first born who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. He would have been 23 years old.
His birthday has only fallen on Easter once before – the first year he was gone. I still recall the pain I felt that day. Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. The beauty of spring and the hope of rebirth. It was impossible for me to wrap my head around how this beautiful day could bring me such sadness. All I could think about was how unfair life was that my baby wasn’t with me anymore.
And now here I am 23 years later. Does it feel different this year? Yes. The pain isn’t as raw. It’s more of a dull sadness that hits me at moments I least expect. For those of you whose grief is still new and all-consuming please know, you’ll get to where I am. As the Executive Director of First Candle I frequently speak with families who have just experienced a loss. They look at me with hope. Seeing me let’s them know that somehow, they will go on.
But this isn’t a typical Easter or year. Because of COVID 19 we’re isolated from one another and witness the struggles of so many people both financially and emotionally. That first year I survived Connor’s birthday with the help of friends and family who surrounded me with love and hugs. My heart breaks for families who have lost a baby and don’t have that support right now.
Today my husband’s dad is being buried. We can’t attend because it’s too far away. His sister will Facetime us so that we can be virtually present.
This weekend we will plant a tree in honor of Connor and his dad. For me the tree represents hope through loss. The year Connor died I received a Rose of Sharon plant. Over the years it grew to over 12 feet tall. When I looked at it, it was a reminder of just how far I had come in my own grief journey. We moved from that home so now we will plant a new tree and our grief journey will continue.