My sweet Ayden,
I dreamt of you last night. It has been a while since you've entered my dreams. I welcomed a visit from you, but as all of my dreams of you go....I awoke feeling so low. Because when I wake up, you're gone. And in my dream, I was fighting to keep you. That's how most of my dreams of you have been lately. The past few have been me frantically trying to hold on...something or someone is always trying to take you from me. I wake up feeling so drained and just sad.
This Friday, you would have been 3 years old. THREE years! How quickly time passes, yet the past 3 years have felt like an eternity. Especially the past 2 years and 8 months. Those 4 months with you - life was perfect. I was the happiest I've ever been in my entire life. Since you went to Heaven, though, it just isn't the same. Sure, I've been able to find happiness, and there is so much to be thankful for, but Ayden....I've learned so much about life and loss these past 3 years. I've learned that life is hard. Loss is hard. And living both simultaneously is nearly unbearable at times. I've spent the past week...especially today...feeling the weight of it all. Yet, thinking of you and that sweet, bright smile brings light back into this life. I'm reminded of the day you were born...the sheer joy and elation I felt in that moment! My first baby...the one who made me a mommy and in an instant, stole my heart forever. That moment will live on forever. My memories of you are still so, so clear. Some have faded, and pictures bring me back to those moments, but so many of them are still right there...vivid...so real. It doesn't seem like 3 years have passed in the moments when I'm remembering, but when I'm alone with my thoughts and the weight of it all...it feels like an eternity.
I miss you, Ayden. I miss you every single day. There isn't a day that goes by that you don't enter my mind so many times. You will always be a part of me and of our family. When I look at Collen, I see traces of you. The two of you share so many similarities - your smiles, your eyes, that furrowed brow when you're both really concentrating. He has your same playful personality - that bubbly happiness that is so contagious! I think you could have taught your little brother a thing or two about patience...because he sure doesn't have any. You have left a lasting legacy, sweet boy. Bigger than you could ever imagine. I pray every day that Collen will "know" his big brother - through pictures, videos, and our stories. I pray that he will feel the connection to you and to Heaven and that this connection will draw him closer to faith and to Christ. You are still fulfilling your purpose, Ayden. I believe that. You're work isn't finished here, and I believe God will continued to use you. There is no question in my mind that you were placed on this earth for a definite purpose - we all saw how much you did in such a short time. I remember perfect strangers looking at you, and I immediately recognized their puzzled look. I heard it so many times. "There's just something different about him. He's not like other babies." They could never put their finger on it. Neither could I. But now, I know.
I hope you know how very much we love you. Sometimes, I feel as if I may burst with the love that my heart feels for my children. I ache for you. My arms still ache for you...to feel the weight of your solid little body...to hear those sweet, sleeping baby sighs in the middle of the night after you've fallen asleep on my chest. I miss those simpler times when you were here, happy, alive, and I was living in the arrogant world of "it won't happen to us." I always knew there was a chance, and boy did I fear it, but I didn't think it could really happen to us. But it did. And here we are, 3 years later, and another birthday without you. What a party you'll be having as we lift our balloons into the sky. I wish I could have just a little glimpse....
And now, you have another guest at your birthday table. You were PaPa's first grandchild. And how he adored you! He only knew his grandsons as babies....I'm just now realizing that. And being a child at heart himself....it's quite fitting. I could see his eyes light up when he saw you and when he saw your little brother. Being a grandpa seemed to be his favorite title of all - he called you both "PaPa's man!" And he sure did/does love his little men.
It has been 6 months for us here without your PaPa. And it has been a long, hard 6 months. So much seems to be missing from our lives without the two of you. But I keep the image of the two of you together in my mind, and the hope of seeing that with my eyes...actually seeing it someday...keeps me moving. And now, I need to be sure your brother (and your sister-to-be) live with that same hope. My prayer is that your story will help them see the beauty of this hope.
3 years. I can't really picture you at 3...as much as I'd like to. I try, but all I see is my precious baby boy and that big grin that melted my heart in an instant. I love you, Ayden, and we will continue to celebrate your birthday because it marks one of the happiest days in the lives of so many of us. I don't know how things work up there, but I hope God will let you in on the small celebration (compared to what you get up there!) we will have for you and let you know how much we love and adore you.
Thought I'd post some pictures I haven't posted in a while. The first two, Ayden is around 6 weeks old. In the next, he is 10 weeks old, and the next two, he is around 3 months. Then it moves to newborn Ayden with me, Jeremy and my dad. Heaven is now those 2 pictures of my dad and Ayden. When I "see" Heaven...along with Christ, Angels, and so much more....the image of those two together is one of my first thoughts....one of the things that helps me make it...one day at a time.