I stand on the beach where 10 months ago I held your celebration of life service. If things were different, you would be here celebrating your first birthday. But, our reality is often times not as beautiful as our dreams.
If I could make my dreams a reality, I would dream you were here with me, on this beach. I would dream that when we sing happy birthday, I could look into your beautiful eyes. And maybe you would cry or maybe you would giggle. We would embrace either of those with adoring stares and excited applause.
I would dream that the excitement of being surrounded by your family would wear you out. You would reach to be in my arms. I would lift your tired body and you would rest your weary eyes… but you would awake once more.
I would dream that I would sing you your favorite song. The one I have sung to you a thousand times before. I would coddle you and read you a story about how very loved you are.
In my dreams, you wake me in the middle of the night. With gentle wriggling and whining. Or maybe even full blown crying. You need to be held and comforted, only the way your mother can provide.
In my dreams, you giggle and smile. And our family feels complete. Full of laughter, full of joy, and an overflowing amount of love.
I stand here, dreaming of these things, only to be completely aware of how they are just that. Dreams. Nothing more. They are not real memories, only ones I wish I could have had. Because on your first birthday, I stand on this beach, the one where we honored your brief life. The one where I read your eulogy to a small crowd. The one where I shed a thousand tears and where my heart broke into a million jagged unrecoverable pieces all over again.
On your birthday, I will sing happy birthday without a chance to gaze into your eyes. There will be no giggling. No one reaching up at me, demanding to be held. No one to coddle. No one to hear that song, the one I sang to you a thousand times before. No story to fall on your ears about how very loved you are. And the only midnight wake-up call will be the one of deafening silence. Silence so painful that it evokes the sorrowful wails of my barely beating heart.
How I wish I could live forever in my dreams. Instead, I stand full of tears, full of heartache, and an overabundance of confusion. Confusion about how it is possible a year has come and gone – just as quickly as you.
Today, I am just glad I know where to find you because there for a while – I felt like I lost you again. When I need you near, I close my eyes, inhale, and there you are. In the crispness of the breeze and the rustling of the trees. There you are, holding my hand and never letting go. There you are walking beside me. Every step I take – there you are. Guiding me.
I couldn’t live this life without you. I know you are here, exquisitely carved deep into my heart – my soul. The place you took root when we first learned of you. Wherever I go, there you are. Not the way I wanted, but I take you any way I can have you. I know you have never truly left me and you never will. But, I will still search for you in my dreams. From now until eternity.
You are rooted deep within my soul. Apart of me forever. In the deepest parts of my heart, there you are.