Sebastian’s Birthday: A Lullaby for my Children

Monday morning – July 9th, 2012

Dear Sebastian,

It’s 9:04 a.m. as I begin this post. It was important to me to write this morning, because I know that at this same hour, one year ago, you were still in my arms. It is exactly the same kind of morning it was on the day of your birth: sunny, breezy, blue skies. A perfect summer day.

I thought about staying up last night, holding my own little vigil until 2:45 a.m. – the hour you were born – but I didn’t want to be in a fog of exhaustion today, on the first anniversary of your birth. As it turns out, your Auntie Em couldn’t sleep, and without realizing the significance, she was reading about you at that same hour.

I remember so clearly being in that hospital room with you. I didn’t want to let go of you – I wanted to suspend time so that we could stay together, and I could keep looking at you. I tried so hard to memorize exactly what your face looked like… it makes me sad that it’s hard for me to remember it fully. The photos we took never looked quite as I saw you.

sebastian's hand

Those moments with you were some of the most precious of my life. Now they’re some of my dearest memories.

After writing all about you yesterday morning, I spent a marathon afternoon/evening at the park, where your Daddy and aunties and friend and I watched and picnicked (and even participated a little) as your big brother played and dug and waded in the pool, and even became a Handsome Prince in a game of Princess with a little girl he’d just met. It was an absolutely beautiful day – except for the sadness. I wished you could be with us… but I know you weren’t meant to be, except maybe as the salmon-spirit of yourself.

It wasn’t until I got into bed last night that I suddenly couldn’t stop crying. Your Daddy held onto me, and I listened to your brother breathing, and felt your sister moving, and eventually I was okay.

It makes sense that our emotions are very close to the surface today. I have already felt tears many times, but I’m ready for them. I think even your brother is feeling it in his own way – he has been crying about little things, without knowing why. That’s just how it has to be sometimes.

Monday afternoon

This morning I went to the hospital birthing unit to have my Rhogam shot. It was dumb luck that the appointment fell on this date; I just happened to be 28 weeks pregnant with your sister as of this weekend. I decided to look at it as a little pilgrimage of sorts, because it was the first time I had set foot in the birthing unit since last summer, when I picked up the dove door-marker from reception, to put in your scrapbook. (I remember I held myself together that time, just barely, although I had fallen apart when I’d phoned to ask about it a couple of days earlier.)

This morning, as I came into reception one year later, I immediately recognized the nurse at the desk: she was there when you were born. She was wonderful. Her name is Laura, and although I doubt she recognized me, I will never forget her. She gave me paperwork to fill out; it was odd to write down July 9th, 2011 as the last time I was a patient there.

As Laura registered me, she said, “Diana, this is your… You have one child at home?” I’ve pre-registered before; I know that she was about to ask me, “This is your fourth pregnancy?” I think she was looking at my file – maybe she remembered me after all? – and decided to word it differently. I appreciated it. It meant we were both thinking of you.

Now we are at your Grammie and Papa’s house. It is so peaceful here. This afternoon, I went with your brother and your Auntie Beth and Papa to pick black raspberries at the berry farm. They taste just like the ones we used to pick in the woods when we were kids. E didn’t really pick any berries, but he did like seeing his first cicada, one I found sitting very calmly on a raspberry leaf (he already knows the sound they make). It looked a lot like this one.



Right now, I am working on a present for you. It will be ready soon.


So, we got through your birthday. We wanted to do something to commemorate it, but it’s hard to know what. Some parents release balloons to float up into the skies, and although I understand what a perfect image it is, it’s not our style. Some parents do cake and candles, like a traditional birthday celebration, but I can’t fathom that, personally. I’m afraid that “celebrating” that day is beyond my capabilities.

At the same time, it’s a day when we’re acutely aware of what we value in our lives. Being together with people we love; gorgeous summer weather; remembering to play. And even though I wasn’t keen on the idea of birthday cake, the black raspberry cobbler Auntie Beth made was perfect.

We have also decided that we will bury some of your ashes under the sugar maple at Grammie and Papa’s, with a marker just for you, so that we will have a beautiful place to sit and be with you. We didn’t feel ready to do this last summer, but now we will be glad to see you grow, as part of a living tree.

Yesterday evening, on your birthday, I finished your present. It’s a present to share with your siblings. When I discovered I was pregnant with your sister, I got it into my head that I would like to have a lullaby I could sing to all three of my children, despite them being in such different places. So I wrote this one.

The melody and lyrics of this song have been brewing for many months, but it only came together in the past week. Your brother was part of the inspiration. He heard me humming the tune on the holiday weekend, and came in from the other room to ask, “Mommy, is that you singing?” and asked me to sing it again, to him. When I did, he smiled so big and said, “That makes me happy.” So I thought maybe it would make you and your sister happy too.


I love you, Sebastian. Your heart and my heart are always together.


{P.S.: For more information on this song and the accompanying art, please go here.}

40 thoughts on “Sebastian’s Birthday: A Lullaby for my Children

  1. Amanda says:

    I was just heading to bed and decided to check email just one more time and here was your post. So beautiful. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing Diana.

    • diblog says:

      Thank you for being there, Amanda – you are a wonderful friend and it helps to know you’re reading.

  2. Michelle Beaupre says:

    Just beautiful Diana! I was moved to tears. Thank you for sharing your talent in such a personal way. Your post was very beautiful as well and a wonderful tribute to Sebastian. All of it will cause me to hug my own children a little tighter today and reminds me to be grateful for my many blessings instead of focusing on the little things that frustrate me or the things I feel we are lacking so thank you for that.

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers as you experience your day today and as you continue to carry that new precious little girl.

    • diblog says:

      Michelle, thank you for your kind message, your prayers, and especially for reading. It really means a lot to me. And I’m glad your kids will get extra hugs (although of course it’s inevitable that they will frustrate us sometimes!).

  3. Chris says:

    Beautiful. And I whole heartedly agree with the first comment. You are amazing. I can feel the love you have for all of your children just through these words and your song. Again, I wish I was closer so I could hug you. <3

    • diblog says:

      Chris… one of these days we are going to have to make these hugs happen! So much love to you and your family. Thank you for being here.

  4. Rose Marie says:

    What a clear, strong heart you have, Diana. More even than the beautiful result, I am touched by your ability to express your profound love. I just took my son to the airport as he is moving across the continent – joy for him, but I’d love to have him close…closeness and absence you express. I am so sorry for your loss.

    • diblog says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Rose Marie. Having your son move across the continent… wow. It’s a good thing your hearts are always together.

  5. Carrie says:

    Wow. The harmonies are amazing…God works in mysterious ways – when we need that intense inspiration, he prevails: and now you will always have a song that you and your children will treasure forever. You are one seriously special Momma! Love to you all this Month especially.

    • diblog says:

      Carrie, thank you for this… and thanks for being such an awesome friend. I think we need another girls’ night. 🙂

  6. Mama says:

    In case there are dear readers wondering why dilovely’s family hasn’t checked in on this more than we have, I’ll explain. Dilovely had this song ready to play for us on Sebastian’s birthday, so Daddy, E, Auntie Em and Auntie Beth, Papa, and Grammie all stood around the dining table where the laptop played and showed the song. We had our tears and hugs and kisses then. There’s not a lot more to say now – and Beth said it.

  7. Shannon says:

    As most things to do with love and babies do these days, your lullaby brought tears to my eyes… and made baby H dance for the first time today (seriously, he dug it… and now that it’s stop playing he’s stopped moving). What a beautiful composition!

    You’re one strong mama.

    • diblog says:

      Your little boy danced! I LOVE THAT so much. Thank you, Shannon. (And I’m the same with the emotional aspect, btw… I was just talking recently with another mom friend about how when you become a mom, you also become a mushball. It seems to be permanent. I’ve been like this since my pregnancy with E.)

  8. Liz says:

    This is stunning and perfect. I would not be able to sing it without crying and am impressed at how beautifully you got it out.

    I’ve made up a little song I sing to my two with all three in my heart, and while it is a humble wee tune, it means so much to be able to sing to them all, here and elsewhere. You’re amazing for having done this and then recorded and shared it. Thank you.

    • diblog says:

      It was odd about singing the song, actually – since I have been known to choke up occasionally singing lullabies to Everett even when he was a baby, just because. With this recording, I had put the lyrics in front of me so I could focus only on them (and then on staying synchronized with my own voice) rather than their meaning. As soon as I let my guard down and listened to it to hear how it sounded… I kind of fell apart.

      Thank you so much for listening, and being here with me. I love to think of you singing to your three together.

  9. Janis Muller says:

    Dear Diana: I thought the song, the singing and the pictures were all so lovely, I thought you should try to get it published. It is a true artist who can find something so beautiful from such a painful memory. On a happier note I had fun on Saturday at Mon Petit Choux buying some nice girlie things for your new baby girl. I was so sad on Sunday to hear of your Grandmas passing!

  10. Auntie CL says:

    oh, Diana, this is so amazing – as i said in a reply to a different blog post, i heard it first over the phone when i was on the other side of the continent, helping my firstborn child move even farther away from me. mostly i don’t sing lullabies to my children any more, but if i did, this one would be perfect – for all three, as for yours. you are strong, creative, loving, courageous – what fortunate children you have!
    it is true that the mushball effect is permanent. thank goodness.

  11. Katie m. Berggren says:

    this is so sweet, Diana, thank you so much for sharing, and for featuring my two paintings, I’m honored. Your post spoke to my heart. Bless you,
    Love & Sincerely, Katie m. Berggren

    • diblog says:

      Thank you, Mom! I only sang with myself – my Mac has a program that allows me to create layered recordings. It’s pretty neat.

  12. Nicole Fraser says:

    Hi Diana.
    I am so looking forward to seeing you tomorrow and wanted to bring a little something for baby. I was pretty sure it was a little girl you were expecting and I came to your blog knowing I could find out here.
    I came across some of your other posts and this one really spoke to me. It actually brought me to tears as I thought of my own babies…seems a lifetime ago. Your lullaby is beautiful.
    Though we don’t know each other well, I want you to know that you touch me through your blog. I hope you know that you have an extended circle of people who you touch (that you may not realize that you do) and that I keep you in my thoguhts.
    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself so geneorusly here.


    • diblog says:

      Nicole, thank you for reading, and for sharing these thoughts and kind words with me. I am really looking forward to seeing you tomorrow too – we obviously would to well to get to know each other better!

  13. Beverley says:

    Simply beautiful. As a mother to 2 grown sons and grandmother to a 5 month old grandson, 2 yr. old grandson and a granddaughter who is almost 3, your lullaby to your children touched me deeply. What a wonderful way to honour Sebastian. Isn’t it amazing how the power of a mother’s love can shine through.

  14. Jen says:

    I was just looking at some of the back-posts that came up as related to Em’s recent musical adventure with E and came across this one.
    I am happy(?) for you and your family that everything you’ve been through hasn’t turned you into someone else. From what you write, you seem to have the same spirit that I came to know and admire over those years a decade or more ago.
    The song is beautiful. I hope I will have a little someone to play it for someday not so long from now…

    • diblog says:

      Jen, thank you for those words. It’s funny how those times you mention sometimes seem so recent, and I don’t really feel different at all… and then I remember how much has happened since then and can hardly believe it. Thanks for reading. Good luck with the plans for a little someone!

  15. Elizabeth says:

    I have stumbled upon your blog tonight and I want to thank you for sharing your heart so openly. Your lullaby is absolutely beautiful. Thank you again for sharing!

  16. Auntie CL says:

    Just visited here again, as I do sometimes, just to listen to this beautiful and moving lullaby. Thank you again.
    Auntie CL

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