I remember reading a book covering the topics of loss and grief not too long after Matthew died. One of the topics in the book that scared me was that the second year after a loss is so much harder than the first. The first you are still experiencing shock and denial and in the second here, you hit reality. You realize that the person you lost isn't returning and that they did exist and the pain of forever slaps you in the face. I completely believe that. I do believe that the second year is like a punch in the throat.
I also believe that there is a part about having a "rainbow" baby that no one tells you about. No one tells you that it is so similar to that second year.
There is obviously so much joy and happiness with each and every baby you have. And there is so much hope and promise. And with a rainbow baby, I think you have a different kind of appreciation. You know how easily it can sleep away and that turns you into a different parent than you were before. There is so much gratitude and for me at least, even more patience.
But, there is also a different kind of reminder. With everything new Samantha does, I'm reminded in a different way of what we didn't have with Matthew. We didn't get to see that first grin, hear those first little giggles, listen to him click and clack his tongue, watch him explore a lemon wedge, encourage him to take his first steps or chase after him as he laughs, crawling at the fastest pace he has down the hallway.
It's not like I didn't realize I missed those things, but you tend to focus on the big aspects. The first day of school, the first birthday, the first haircut. You know, all the milestones and not so much the little things that make up so much of their personality and so much of their daily lives.
I think those realizations made Matthew's Angel Day harder this year than maybe it was before. And maybe part of it was that daily fear that something is going to happen to Kaitlyn or Samantha. And knowing that obviously October 15 is a bad day for our household, it didn't make me rest easy.
This year for Matthew's angel day, we took our time getting ready. We had a big breakfast. We got dressed and we went to the cemetery with the items the girls and I had purchased the day before. Kaitlyn had drawn him a picture and wanted to read him a book like she does for Samantha every night. She was worried about leaving the picture there though because she hates how the cemetery throws things away on a whim when they want to cut the grass. We noticed some bald patches in the grass and made plans to fertilize it. We talked to him. Kaitlyn read to him and Samantha crawled towards his grave marker.
We celebrated him. We honored his life. We missed him.