I think I write about it every year at this time, but the color in the sky is changing right now. And it's the same sign every year...It's the season that was coming when we were supposed to take you home, Luke.
And every year since we lost you, it's the change in season that reminds me that you're still gone. I mean, I think about you being gone every day. But when the days get shorter, and the sun shines a little bit differently in the sky like it does when summer's ending, that's when the reminder hurts the most.
Four years ago at this change in seasons, we had so much hope for your future. We were so naive and we had no idea that something so life-altering was just about to happen to us.
If only we could have seen what was coming...if only we could have known that we'd lose you. We could have changed things--We could have gone to the hospital sooner and maybe things could have turned out different. Maybe we'd be celebrating your 4th birthday soon.
I wish that I could go back to being as hopelessly naive as I was at this time four years ago. In so many ways, I'm jealous of people who haven't had to live through really hard things. Why am I the person that had to be brave? That had to figure out how to keep living without my first child? I know there are plenty of others who've also had to do hard things. But I wish none of us did. I was a stupid first time mom worrying about whether the nursery was going to be done in time for when the baby arrived.
The other day I heard Muse's song Madness on the radio...and it took me back. The day we left the funeral home after Luke's service...I remember that song came on, as we were pulling out of the driveway on our way home to live the rest of our lives with that behind us (or maybe, in front of us, too). I remember thinking how absurd it was...We just held a funeral for our first baby. OUR baby. The one who made us parents. I...I can't get these memories out of my mind... I know the song mostly doesn't pertain, but some of it? Eish. Who has to plan funerals for their own babies?!
This week, I've noticed just how much Lena and Lainey look EXACTLY the same. Like, in pictures without context, I can't tell them apart. And then I think about the photos I have of Luke...in his tiny baby casket. And every night when I'm getting ready to put Lainey down into her crib for bed, I see him. Barely, anymore though. She's growing out of looking like a baby. And with that...there won't be anymore reminders of how his siblings looked like him. Luke will always be a newborn and Lena and Lainey will grow into girls and ultimately, women.
I sometimes wonder if Luke would have looked different from the girls as he got older. Would he have been the one that looked different? Or would the three of them look exactly the same? It's an unfair question that will always nag me, because none of it makes sense. No one should look at their third baby sleeping and see their dead firstborn. No one should have to think about not having their second or third child because the first one died.
I realize now that all of that will end soon. At six months, Lainey is growing into her own person. And all I still have of Luke are photos in a casket. And that's all there will ever be.
And four years out, that still stings.
Four. Years. You should be four.