Andrew was born one month ago last Thursday. A month seems like a long time, but it’s only a drop in the bucket. Tomorrow is one month since we buried him. I haven’t been back out to his grave since that day. We’ll do a memorial service for his 40th day on the 21st.
Medically speaking we now know that we will never know why he died. I have my suspicions but they will remain suspicions. The weight of guilt is heavy.
The children are doing fine. They enjoyed Christmas and Theophany. Pickles has stopped asking when we can take the stone off of Innocent to see how much he has grown. I think he figured out after we buried Andrew that Innocent wasn’t coming back. That day was also the first time I really saw him cry over it. I guess it sank in. He has been fine since though.
I put the new family picture up on the side bar. I also added an additional family picture: one of all of our patron saints. It feels a little funny saying that we are a family of nine, but we are. For now, the icon corner represents the only place we are all together. Innocent and Andrew are a part of our family even though they never knew us.
I am not “back”. I am still restricting myself to ten websites including email and the weather. This self-imposed electronic isolation is still necessary. (Although, yes, I answer email.) The grieving process this time around is a little different. Not quite so much shock, more loss of hope. I need to go through Lost Innocents to see if anything needs to be modified or added since this second loss. I haven’t been able to do it yet, nor have I been able to write Andrew’s birth story. Being in the proximity of newborns whether in real life or virtually is still monumentally hard.
We had an accident before Christmas: one of the children spilled an entire cup of hot chocolate over Innocent’s memory box. The box itself is ruined although the contents were largely protected. The photo albums need to be replaced but the photos are fine. I purchased an identical box and put all of the contents in it. Now both Andrew and Innocent’s boxes need to be painted and lined. Again, it’s something I haven’t been able to do. I need to remind myself that it took almost six months before I finished Innocent’s. The ruined box is still sitting on my dresser. Throwing it out feels like throwing him out. I can’t do it. I would feel ridiculous putting a ruined wooden box in the attic, but I don’t know what to do with it. So there it sits until I figure it out. I was able to remove the rickrack from the perimeter of the box so I can put it on the new box. At least part of it will be the same.
I want to send out a big thank you to all of you who have prayed, sent cards, gifts, letters, email, and in one case a donation to our church in memory of the boys (I won’t embarrass you by identifying you but I’ll let you know that we are purchasing an icon of St. Andrew for the church with part of it). I really do have a number of thank you notes sitting by the desk but I can’t seem to pull myself together long enough to address and stamp them. They will get to you eventually. [I actually found sympathy thank you notes at the store. I didn’t know they made such a thing. I didn’t get them. They looked gloomy.] All of the love you all has shown has been very supportive. This time around I have struggled with despair more than anything else and it has been a tremendous help to keep receiving little reminders that I am not alone.
A special little thank you to my sister Rebecca and my friend Michelle who surprised me by making these little ornaments for the boys. It was a huge help to be able to hang them on the tree with our other children’s baby ornaments. When we took all the decorations down these ornaments went into their own little box. I will look forward to hanging them every year.
I will try to check back in every so often.