Saturday, November 20, 2010


Birthdays suck for families that have lost children...

We miss our children, we miss the excitement of their day. We lose out on the enjoyment we had with them. We don't get to blow out candles any longer with them. We don't get to make them or buy them their favorite cake or go to their favorite restaurant. We no longer have the chance to tell them happy birthday one more time. We miss not being able to buy them something cool. We wonder what kind of gift they would like now-years later, we miss the future birthdays without them and the past birthdays we had with them.

We miss our children on our birthdays as well. Unfortunately for me DJ's visitation was on my birthday and he was buried one day after my birthday. Of course any day your child dies, any day that they are buried you remember but for me my birthday will never be a "happy" birthday.

We miss our children on our other children's birthday too. It is so evident during holidays, events, birthdays and celebrations that they are gone. It is so obvious that DJ is not here on our other children's birthdays. He is not here to take pictures with the video camera that was just beginning to use. He was not here to lick his fingers and put out the candles (just like Aragon in Lord of the Rings) on Emilee's 20th birthday. Jake has however found this thrill and does it every chance he can get, so in this way DJ's memory lives on.

DJ has missed four birthdays, four of his own, four of mine, four of his sisters, four of his brothers and four of my husbands. He has missed so much but we have missed him so much more.

We made a mistake on his birthday this year. In the past birthdays we had given the kids gifts and tried to make it a happy day for them. We would buy a cake and blow out candles in honor of DJ's birthday. This year though we decided not to do this new tradition. We bought the kids gifts but didn't do the cake and we didn't celebrate his birthday.

Instead we mourned him, we mourned his loss. We didn't realize any of this until the week later after his birthday and the entire family was suffering and in pain and depressed. We didn't see what we had done or what we hadn't done was wrong. Once we did see our mistake all the light bulbs went off--we then went out for dinner as a family, we bought a cake and blew out candles. This helped us process DJ's birthday, this helped us go from mourning him to celebrating his life.

What did I learn from this? I learned that the best thing to do is to celebrate DJ's life. Celebrate the child's life on their birthday, I learned not mourn that day.

My advice to anyone coming up to a lost child's birthday? First and foremost, the anxiety, apprehension coming up to the date is worse than the actual date. Secondly the day should be celebrated as best you can--your child would not want you to mourn them, they would want you to live a life and try to be happy during their day. Thirdly--do what is best for you and never feel you have to explain what you are doing to anyone. If it means staying in bed all day then do it. If it means buying your child a gift and putting it away in a closet do it. If it means going to dinner as a family and crying while sharing stories about them then do it. My point here again and this time I will say it louder--DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU, DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT FOR YOU AND CELEBRATE THEIR LIFE AS BEST YOU CAN!!

1 comment:

  1. You can have a "happy BIrthday" by celebrating that you got to be DJ's mom. God picked you to be his MOM, noone else got the honor,,,