Three Years.

Dear Sebastian,

It’s been hard to write today. Not just because thinking of you can be hard. It’s also difficult to find the time, with your brother and sister around, and life being the overwhelming To-Do list that it is. I feel drained, and the words feel awkward under my fingers.

It’s been three years since your death and birth. When I let myself remember that time, it does not feel like three whole years ago. The memories are so clear and immediate. Part of me is still back there with you, I think.

In another way, I feel far from you, because I have no baby this year. On our first anniversary, your sister was growing in my womb. On our second, she was still definitely a baby. This year, she romps around full-tilt and talks nonstop. She’s not a baby.

Somehow, it made me feel closer to you to still have a baby in the house.

This brings home something I already know, but don’t like to think about: my other children are growing past you. Someday they will probably be even bigger than me, but you – at least in my mind – will still be a baby. It will get harder and harder to think of your babyness. I guess I should be keeping in mind that you are not a baby – you are a free soul. You have no age.

I’ve thought of you so much over the past many weeks, but I still didn’t feel ready for this. I don’t have time to grieve for you very often, even when I need to, and that makes me sad and guilty and off-balance inside.

(I can’t help but notice that I keep using the word “still.” I wonder if that’s just a coincidence.)

Yesterday morning at 9:30 I happened to have an appointment to donate blood. I thought about that very last time I felt you move, right around the same time of day, on that date, three years earlier, and it made a certain kind of sense to me to be giving blood.

It was my twentieth donation (took me a long time to get there, between travel, occasional low iron, tattoos, and pregnancies, but I still felt proud). While I donated, I wondered where my blood has gone from my other donations, whether the people who got it survived, and whether any of them were children.

When I got home, I was talking to your brother about blood types, and we looked at his baby records to check his. I had forgotten that he is O negative, like me – the universal donor.

I realized I don’t know what your blood type was. I know we have the records somewhere, but I couldn’t find them.

Daddy and I had a big talk about you yesterday, too. We talked about how we have very different ways of grieving, which is sometimes hard for us. We both think about you very, very often. We talked about what we remember about you, and the day you died and the day you were born. We both remember them in great detail.

We figured out that it’s both harder and easier for me, to have the privilege of being the only person who actually felt you alive. (Daddy felt you from the outside, but it’s not quite the same.) We both really really wish, just as profoundly as we did on your birth day, that we could have held you in our arms when your heart was still beating, and looked into your eyes, even for a few minutes.

I’m so sorry that when we think about your sweet self, it always has to be sad.

I still need to do the thinking, though, and the sadness too. Sometimes I worry that I spend so much time ignoring or pushing away or skirting the painful parts, I will forget how to connect with your memory.

Then, sometimes the ache is so deep and strong, I know you’re still right there in my heart, where you’re supposed to be. When it hurts the most, that’s when I feel closest to you.

I’m afraid that, on these two anniversary days this year, there is not a lot of time to think about you and honour you properly. But something special did happen for you, less than a month ago. Our dance troupe, for the student recital, did piece about some of life’s journeys. I was one of three dancers who did a solo, and it was all about you. All the women in the group knew about you, and danced for you too. We danced for all of us, and the painful things that tear us apart and bring us together. There were tears and there was so much love. I’m full of gratitude for that.

I want to post this while it is still your birthday, but I have more to say. I wish I had a whole day to sit under a tree and think about you, and write to you. With a pen.

For now, good night. Here is your lullaby. I sing it to you often, as I sing it to your sister and brother. Sometimes they sing along. They both especially like when we sing, “Your heart and my heart are always together.”

I love you so much and I miss you so much.

***


 

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18 thoughts on “Three Years.

  1. Mama says:

    Dear daughter, I’m sorry you lost Sebastian. I’m sorry you have to feel the pain so often. And I’m sorry I failed to be focused today on the fact that this is his birthday. It probably felt very callous to you. But I think of Sebastian very often. I didn’t get to see him at all, but I knew him, and I was all ready to embrace him and welcome him into the family. I count him when I count my grandchildren (even though this is sometimes hard for other people to hear). And I think of your familly of five with great love and caring and sympathy. I know there was a reason for Sebastian’s spirit to leave his body before it was born; I don’t understand it, but I know it. Someday (sooner than you) I’ll understand it. When I do, I’ll try to let you know.

    I wish you had told me that you were going to dance a solo for him. I was so tired and overscheduled around then, but I would have tried my best to be there if I had known. I know it was wonderful.

    • dilovelyadmin says:

      Dear Mama, you don’t have to explain. Nothing felt callous – I know how crazy life is, and I know you love and lost Sebastian too. And I am thankful that you are one of the people I know I can talk about him with, if I need to.

      I’m sorry I didn’t let you know about the solo… I was tired and overscheduled in June too, and didn’t get the word out like I normally would. I will tell you more and send you a video link soon.

  2. Dear Diana: I thought of all five of you a lot yesterday. I keep Sebastian’s birthday on my birthday calendar with all the others I want to remember and commemorate over the year. I wonder if it helps you to know that even though he doesn’t live with you physically as E and baby AB do we still love him just as much. I know many others feel the same.

    I am so sorry, though not surprised, that you feel so sad today and I deeply wish there was something that could make it easier or less painful.

    I have skipped ahead one year on my calendar and blocked the day to be booked off from life and work and I would like to come spend the whole day with E and AB so that you can go sit under that tree and write, with a pen. You won’t need to ask me or ask someone else it is done. No matter how long you want to be under that tree, ten minutes or ten hours I’ll be in the wings picking up the kids and the to do list of the day.

    xoxoxox

    • dilovelyadmin says:

      Amanda, I’m crying reading this. I will most gratefully accept your offer, if it’s possible. It is amazing that you have Sebastian’s birthday on your calendar, too. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness and friendship. I love you.

  3. Mary Snow says:

    I’m glad I got to see you yesterday to give you a hug.

    Lama Bada was so special for all of us…I think that was a huge bonding moment for the entire troupe. I feel so blessed to have been a part of it and to be a part of something that helped you find comfort.

    Think about you and Sebastian often…

  4. Auntie CL says:

    Your lullaby always makes me cry.
    In a good way. It is so perfect.
    Your cherishing of Sebastian is lovely and beautiful.
    Your are right; he is not a baby, he is an ageless soul and free and Light. He is wiser than you, and can love you through your grief.
    But he is also and always your (you and S.) baby and E and AB’s baby, too. And he’s always and ever free from pain or stain or any unhappiness of his own.
    Amanda’s offer is generous and thoughtful – do take her up on it. I had a time like that when Margaret S. took care of A and L, and it was good to have. I walked, and thought of “her”.
    You and Sean are amazing in your ways of giving one another space for being different. I admire you.
    This will always be a poignant time. I am glad that you can find some moments to write, even if they are brief and inadequate to what is in your heart to say. But not having more time – that is ok, too – it means that your living children and their parents are having the life they should have – busy, perhaps chaotic at times; a life full of living. That honours Sebastian, too.
    clouds and rainbows of love,
    Auntie CL

    • dilovelyadmin says:

      Thank you, Auntie. This sentence really moves me: “He is wiser than you, and can love you through your grief.” I’m going to reckon you must be right.

      Sean and I have our difficulties with being different – especially about this; that talk we had was rocky at first – but thankfully, we both have the motivation to work these things out when they arise, too. I am a fortunate wife and mama.

      Do you have a particular date when you commemorate or think more about your little “her”? Did you talk about her much with A and L?

      Thank you for reminding me how important and vibrant this chaos is. I need to keep that up at the top of my heart. I love you.

  5. Carrie says:

    Thank you.
    For sharing. For your words. For the gift of your music. For allowing us to feel included in your story of Sebastian. I can still picture his beautiful face from his baby book at his ‘life celebration service’ (if I may call it that). This is a time of life that I know I will never forget either. He’s certainly not forgotten, and is certainly and evidently loved. I did not have the date recorded, but I knew the anniversary was close, and you have been on my thoughts and prayers. I had the honour of being an audience member to see you dance your story, and it was incredibly, incredibly powerful and moving. Even for those that may not have known the full back story. The strength, the pain, the love, the power was conveyed thoroughly.

    I remember crying the first time I heard this lullaby. Now that I’ve relistened twice tonight already, I am even more in awe each time I hit play. Your beautiful voice, the haunting, vibrant, beautiful harmonies…Oh Di, you’re amazing. Please, do not forget that! ALL of your children are forever blessed having a Momma like you!
    Thank You.

    • dilovelyadmin says:

      Carrie, I’m so glad that you were at Sebastian’s service, and that you were in the audience for the recital. Even though we don’t see each other often, your support has always meant a lot to me, and I feel like you’ve taught me so much. You are just such a wise mama and friend. Thank you.

      And thank you for your very kind words about the lullaby… You make me blush. I think the music may be Sebastian’s work anyway. 🙂

  6. emerge says:

    Di, I somehow missed this post before, when you wrote it. I think I tabbed it to read later because it was summer-work-madness time and then it got swallowed up. So it was fresh when I read it just now… just after reading AB’s birthday post. It’s so…unwieldy to think of the two of them at the same time – it makes a mess of time – to think how Sebastian is her big brother, but will always be littler, and even though she probably wouldn’t have come along if he hadn’t left early, to think how they would have played together and been so close. I didn’t know Sebastian like you did, but I will never forget how it was those days, for those of us around you. How Sebastian filled everything with his absence. And how so much love can happen, and go on happening, for someone who can’t be here. I love you.

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