Thank you for all your kind words on my last post, and for the emails and notes I've received as well.
I've been remembering those first few days. Waking up in the middle of the night, checking my phone, reading an email sent by someone clearly in a different time zone (Sally, Maddie...) who had been awake while I was asleep, and your words giving me the ability to take another breath, to get back to sleep for an hour or two of respite. Thank you. A mere mention on twitter from Angie or Jess letting me know I wasn't alone...miraculous. And then the friendships that developed from there - I feel blessed to know you all. As time passed and sadly, newly bereaved mothers joined this group, I have made some tremendous friends - lifelong, You Can Call Me in the Middle of the Night and Sob and I Will Always Be There friends. Friends with whom I am equally comfortable discussing baby loss, fashion trends, celebrity gossip, marriage challenges, craptastic reality television, quirky dog behavior...I don't know what I'd do without you, really. Thank you.
So here we are, the first of the milestones of the month: Labor Day. Remarkably uneventful so far. A neighbor stopped me yesterday to tell me she had been thinking of me and E all weekend, remembering last year, our hopefulness, our anticipation; and that her heart is with us more than ever now. Very kind.
Last night we went to my mom's for a Labor Day bbq. We have cousins visiting from Alaska. My brother's son and Otis share a birthday on September 12. My mom had mentioned that she wanted to make cupcakes to mark birthdays - her birthday was last month, a dear friend (who was at the bbq) celebrated his birthday last week, my cousin from Alaska's birthday was a few days ago, my nephew's birthday was next Monday. That was all she said. I didn't expect her to mention Otis's birthday. I know she knows, but she often falls in that "I shouldn't mention it because I don't want to make you sad..." group.
But last night, she brought out a platter of cupcakes. Candles in many of them. We sang happy birthday, she passed them out. One to Rick. One to Octavio. One to Claudio. One to herself. And then she came to me, and put one down in front of me. "And this is for Otis. Though he's not here with us, it's still his birthday next Monday, and we will always remember him."
I didn't cry, I smiled. My soon-to-be-three-year-old nephew ran over and asked "Tia Sarah, can I help?" and I picked him up on my lap and he blew the candle out. And I smelled his hair and snuggled him close and gave him a kiss.
So true. We will always remember you, Otis. I wish you were here with us. Mama loves you more than ever.