Three years ago our little Lightning Bug flew to Heaven.
Remembering Alexander Gregory today has been different than past years. This year I have the blessing of thinking of him while I hold his youngest brother, our rainbow baby, already ten weeks and more than ten pounds of joy. (More about that soon. Or at least eventually.)
This is the first I’ve experienced a loss anniversary after being blessed with a rainbow. There are so many emotions, twisted, contorted, knotted together. I had seen eight “heavenly birthdays” come and pass without the bright spot of a subsequent living child. But this year, as I held my snuggly, squishy, soft little boy in Mass, I felt … full.
Yesterday, my sister had a baby, a rainbow too. And I was giddy with the news all day, bubbling with thoughts of these two cousins being buddies, fast friends for life. I was overwhelmed with the fact that both of us have again been gifted new lives to mother. After a loss you learn not to take these things for granted.
As I considered these two, my mind went to Alexander who “should have been” the age of one of his cousins. And I was reminded that John Blaise would have been only four months older than another cousin, had my first little saint been carried to term. There are these holes, these empty places in our family that will never be filled on earth.
But then, they aren’t really missing. Their absence is their presence.
* * * * *
Our youngest looks like all the baby pictures of our other boys. It’s odd and wonderful how he somehow looks like so many people at once, when those people do, in fact, look different. Poor kid has my ears. He’s not the first of my sons to get them. He has the same precious upturn to his nose that all of his brothers have had. Even John Blaise had that distinguishing feature. And his eyes don’t seem to be changing: looks like he’ll keep the blue-gray his second-biggest brother got from his grandfathers.
Seeing so much of the older boys in this son is a balm. It comforts me to think the other three in heaven would look like their brothers too. Of course we’d expect that. But seeing it in this baby is a comforting underscore.
* * * * *
We didn’t have cake or sing happy birthday to Alexander. That’s just not our thing. But we did light candles in the back of church and have chocolate milk with dinner. And all the boys smiled.
All of them, I’m sure.
Photos thanks to the wonderful Lauren A. Rupar Photography.