I was at Laurie’s house last night and out of the blue, she asked if we should do something for Jacob’s first birthday. It means so much to me that she did! No one in my family has asked about it yet, although I think I may have mentioned it to someone. I forget who I’ve said what to. So I told Laurie that I had been thinking about a picnic at the local park and maybe a balloon release (with messages written on the balloons) or something. But I worry that the balloons would eventually hurt an animal when they fall back to the ground. I said maybe we could blow bubbles (which we have done before at the garden). She said that we could have a BBQ at my house or her house and plant a garden for him at either spot. I LOVE that she wants a place in her backyard that is made for Jacob. She also said that if we do it at my house, it is like there is part of the house that is just for him, since he never got to live in the house (that we bought because he was on his way). I called her later and told her how much I loved what she said, how much I love that she would like a spot dedicated to Jacob in her backyard. I love that her boys would play in the backyard and know that the flowers in a certain spot are for their cousin.
We started talking about that idea. I said I’ve imagined putting a bench in my backyard and making a little spot for Jacob there. She suggested throwing some wild flower seeds on the ground at his birthday BBQ and we would just see if they grow. I think I’ll make cupcakes too. I don’t know what else. I could make a stepping stone with his name engraved, but I want to do something every year (although subsequent years probably won’t be a big family gathering like the first birthday will be) so I don’t want to use up all the garden ideas the first year.
His birthday is on a Wednesday and I really want to do something on the exact day rather than the weekend before. So I have to decide soon so that my family can book a day off work. A picnic or BBQ is what I have pictured all along, since shortly after he was born. And I’m still trying to decide. I don’t want it to be a really happy occasion and maybe a picnic or BBQ is too happy. But the other option is staying in bed all day and crying, which will probably take up some part of the day regardless, and spending some time at the garden. We’ll be at the garden no matter what, the question is what we do there. I think we could have a get together and then head down to the garden and blow bubbles. Ben would love that and since it is something we’ve done at the garden before, it just seems to fit. I think I will also go to the hospital that morning and drop off some memory boxes for the next families. I don’t know if I can do that though. Will I be strong enough? My heart starts beating fast just thinking about walking down that hall again and being near that room again (although I have been back since and feel the pull to go again).
Laurie said that she always thinks about Jacob and that just because she and the others don’t say anything, especially on his anniversaries, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t thinking about him. She worries that it is hard when she talks about him, but I told her it is never hard when he is mentioned. Tears might fill my eyes, but hearing someone say his name and say that they miss him is just what I need to hear. I know it is especially hard for her right now as she is pregnant and knows all to well what can happen. I try not to talk about baby loss stuff around her too much, but sometimes I catch myself doing just that and stop myself.
I left her house feeling reassured. Reassured that they still think about him too. Maybe even everyday. One of the greatest gifts is to know that he hasn't been, and never will be, forgotten.