May 5th came and went just like that. On Monday, we celebrated Gabriel’s first birthday. A year ago he was born, and we held him in our arms and watched as he took breaths and listened as he let out sweet cries. And we loved all over him, and we kissed his chunky cheeks so much. And we spent hours just admiring every single thing about him. It was such joy.
He passed away 2 hours later, so the same day that we celebrate his birth, we also celebrate his arrival in Heaven. Monday was the first anniversary of his arrival in Heaven. It would have been his first birthday if he had still been alive. It marked one year since he was born — since I gave birth to our miracle baby. It’s amazing how quickly this day arrived. It’s so hard to believe it has been a year since we had him. This time last year I dreaded being this far out. I hated thinking about being so distanced from when I held him. I hated thinking about the memories fading. How I wouldn’t be able to feel him in my arms any more.
And it’s true that the memories have faded. I can’t remember vividly what it felt like to hold him. So many things have faded. But I will never forget that day. And when I close my eyes I can almost still smell how amazing he smelled that day. I will always cling to what I can hold on to from our second son.
May 5th is a day worth celebrating, and we had a lot to celebrate this year. I wanted to celebrate Gabriel’s birthday. I wanted to celebrate that Gabriel is in Heaven, and I wanted to celebrate how far we have come — that we are still here, that we are survivors. Sunday was more of a pensive day for me because I had Gabriel on a Sunday last year. I kept remembering how I was in labor and when we went to the hospital and what time he was born. I thought about that a lot on Sunday. But on Monday, I just wanted to celebrate! If Gabriel was alive we would have had a party for him and celebrated his life. Gabriel was alive and is now in Heaven which gives us so much reason to celebrate. So we had a really fun day!
We went to Dollywood! I hadn’t been in over ten years, and Tommy and Jack had never been. So we sun screened up and made the hour drive to have a great day. And we did! We had a blast! It was just so much fun to be together as our little family — the 3 musketeers. We call ourselves that because we are such a bonded unit and we have been through so much together. The weather was gorgeous! A little hot — or a lot hot to me — and so sunny and just perfect. I was surprised at how many rides Jack could ride. He LOVED it! He wasn’t afraid and had so much fun. The water ride we went on was my favorite, and he loved it, too. We spent the day at the park having such an awesome day riding rides, carousels, trams, and trains. Then we headed home.
On our way back into town we stopped by the cemetery. It was beautiful and sunny and just another day at the cemetery.
It was the perfect way to spend Gabriel’s first birthday. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, and more importantly, we couldn’t have had a better day together as a family. We miss our precious baby — a lot — and hitting this mark feels like so much time. It feels like an accomplishment — sort of like a sense of ‘we’ve made it’. We will still grieve and still miss our G all the time. But we have come really far, and have continued to stay bonded together through the hard times of last year.
One of the biggest parts of Monday was the love we got. We are so incredibly overwhelmed by the love and support we have. It was so amazing on Monday to be so loved. We felt completely undeserving of such love and are just so very thankful to all of you who have reached out to us and supported us. Thank you for the cards, the love, the gifts, the food, the messages, the kind words, the prayers, and for remembering us. I couldn’t believe how many people remembered our sweet G’s birthday, and that made my mama heart just burst with joy.
I used to be so afraid of people forgetting our sweet G, and Monday just showed me that hasn’t happened. Thank you for loving our family so well. We are incredibly blessed. And we are thankful for you. God has been so gracious to us and brought us through the last year and a half. And we have seen the hands and feet of Jesus through friends and family. So thankful for the love that has been poured out on us. Thank you, sweet friends, for loving us so well. We love you!
Here are some pictures from our G Day…
happy first birthday Gabriel!
sleep kid on the way home we’re going to Dollywood!