Monday, April 29, 2013

To Sing Happy Birthday...

We have been BUSY.

I mean, REALLY busy.  Nearly a month of no writing (not for lack of things going through my head, just not enough time to assemble them.  Really not enough time now, but when ever is there?)...strange.

Lots of stuff going on.

Deployment is going well.  John is tired and wishes he was home, but he is really invested in what he is doing and he is probably coming home a bit earlier than expected, so we are grateful.  Still have a while to go....but less than we thought, so we take it and smile!

Luke is getting so big.  So grown up.  Such a little boy.  He's funny and entertaining and adorable and though he's two, he's still pretty easy-going and mannered and compliant and obedient.

Mostly, hee hee.

We just got back from Maryland.  It's hard to believe it's been nearly two years since we've moved.  It is unbelievable how fast time really does fly.  I realize it because Luke is SO big now, but honestly, being back felt very normal.  As if I had not left.

And yet, very surreal.

As if our time here in Jacksonville (most every minute I've loved because I really do love this area!) is real life and the last several years in Maryland?

Surely, that's not *my* child's grave?  The funeral home who tended to him and where I got to actually see the front of his face, as he lay in his tiny coffin?

The sanctuary where his service was held?

Surely, that's not the hospital.  The one that tried to save Matthew.  The one I had to leave Trey's remains in.

Surely those were all just bad dreams and *real* life is normal (as military life can be) with beach outings and church activities and donee dates and potty training.

It's funny how our heartache coexists.  Sometimes visciously dominant over all other feelings we have or want to have.

Sometimes, silently...crouching...just waiting to jump out and startle you the second you feel like you have sort of accepted how things.just.are.

We spent the week with dear friends.  Not really friends.  Friends-turned-family.  The twin boys were having their 4th birthday party.  I was talking with another woman at the party who was sharing she'd had 3 losses in her life, and had adopted a child.  I was sharing about Matthew, and Luke of course, and Trey and yes, somewhat tearing up a bit, though not much because I've gotten good at it.

You know.  Telling about their lives in a brief, "This-happened-to-me-but-it-I-know-it-makes-most-people-uncomfortable-so-I-try-not-to-be-too-emotional-about-it" way.

Just then, it was time to blow out the candles.  I was taking pictures, so I went over and we began singing.  The tradition is to sing to each boy separately, so each boy gets his own "Happy Birthday!", just as it should be.

Singing, happily, as I love these boys so much, and clicking away....until those words hit me:

"Happy Birthday, dear Matthew...." (one of the twins is named Matthew)

I'll never sing those words to John Matthew Ennis.

He'll never smile with a big, enchanting smile as a crowd showers him with love and gratitude for his birth.

I wondered how I'd never sung those words before.  How had 4 birthdays gone by with this not happening?  The twins' mom and I figured out that for their 1st birthday, I'd just had Luke's transfer done and missed the party.  For their second, we all went to Sesame Place together, and their little 'party' was a quick, quick opening of presents at the end of a very tired day.  Don't think we actually even sang.  Last year, I had just had the D&C and then headed to Pensacola; we missed their party that year too.

So this was the first time I realized the significance of those words.

We've not done anything big for Matthew's birthdays.  We've sung Happy Birthday to him, but honestly, it's always been more ritualistic and I never really felt like we were singing it to him as much as about him.  Really, two of his three birthdays have been with Luke and we were somewhat focused on Luke's involvement.

I'm rambling in my words and thoughts right now.

But noted...there is so much that has to be done to 'accept' life's circumstances.

Adding to the list daily.


  1. Its so true Lori that although our lives move on, our baby losses seem like a cruel dream that you just want to wake up from, until it hits you that it was IS real. Just wanted to reach out and send you a virtual hug, as I know you're dealing with a lot. I'm thinking of you. ((HUGS))

  2. wow. those moments catch us so unsuspecting now don't they? sigh. hard to believe that we are coming up on 4 this year? didn't we just have these babies??? ugh

  3. Lori, I tried to comment on your blog yesterday. I don't think it went through, but I apologize if this is a repeat. I found your blog from the Still Standing magazine. I read through quite a few of your blog posts. I found you to be all over the place - quite up and down - and that is something I can really relate to! I also am a mom with more babies in heaven than on earth. I can sometimes feel incredibly blessed and then feel I am the most afflicted of women. (which is not true) I thank you for being honest. I have also had to make the decision not to pursue another pregnancy due to health concerns/age, and it has been hard to accept. I hope you know you are not alone. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I just wanted to thank you for continuing to share your story. It will be 6 years in July since my daughter SB passed away, but this year there have been a lot more moments of grief that have caught me by surprise. Sometimes, I just miss who I was before.