Elijah's Fourth Birthday

Your birthdays have become the beginnings of a new year of my new life, of always loving and missing you, of how long I have waited to see you again. 

I can't believe it's been four years since Elijah was born. Four years since he died. Four years since my life had been dramatically and traumatically changed forever. But what I can believe is that the pain and longing feels longer than four years, it feels like it HAS BEEN forever...

Every year, I feel pressured to do something special for his birthday. If I had went on with life as if it was just an ordinary day, I know that the guilt would get to me. I know that if another year had passed and there were no photos to reflect upon, I would be sorely disappointed in myself. I know because that is how I feel today, on his fourth birthday.

On the first year, Yao and I went to the Muir Woods Overlook. The second year, Monterey. The third year, Folsom and then Lake Berryessa. We've gone places to getaway, to treat ourselves, to enjoy a little peace and quiet away from home. Every year, I look forward to traveling somewhere.

This year, Benjamin has joined our family and that changes things - a lot of things.

A couple of months after Elijah's third birthday, we found out that we were pregnant with Benjamin. For most of the year, I have been busy with all things pregnancy and moving to a new home that anything about Elijah was kind of brushed aside. And that's where the guilt kicks in. I feel bad. I feel ashamed. I've done the one thing I didn't want others doing: not including him (in my every day life).

Sometimes, I feel guilty for "forgetting" to think about Elijah, even if it's just for one day ("forgetting" because you can't really forget about losing a baby). Since having birthed Benjamin, I am adjusting to life as a new mom (a very tired and forgetful new mom). My daily life is now all about our new little growing bundle of joy, who eats, sleeps, pees + poops, and needs constant attention. I don't mind it, but when there are these silent moments, my mind wanders and starts to think about how I wish Elijah were here and how sorry I am that I only think about him when I "remember" to, or when I'm feeling blue.

For Elijah's fourth birthday, the day seemed to be more about Benjamin, and this was a little hard for me...

We knew a month ago that Benjamin's 2 month check-up was scheduled on Elijah's birthday. His monthly turnovers are on the 15th, so we try to schedule monthly appointments as close as possible. We could have changed it, but went along with it. I don't know... maybe we took this as a sign from Elijah?

Yet, some unexpected things happen such as Yao having to work on Elijah's birthday (he was supposed to have that day off), which was upsetting to the both of us. But by the morning, his supervisor had changed his shift to "off" and had someone else cover. I guess we can't be upset about that anymore.

I'm a little upset that we hadn't made any plans for Elijah's birthday, other than to go to Benjamin's doctor appointment. But more than anything, I feel disappointed in that we didn't keep up on our tradition of going to a special place. Yet, being that it is still a weary time with COVID + having a new baby + low funds, traveling is on the back-burner. Benjamin also had his 2 month shots, which I knew would make him a little more sensitive than usual for the next couple or few days.

BTW, Benjamin took his shots like a champ!

The weather was somewhat chilly as well, and that's strange for it being June and nearly summer. And so, if we were to go anywhere outdoors or do anything outside of home, it wouldn't be for long.

After what felt like a very long time at the clinic and then a quick run-through at the store, we went home. I was afraid of ending the day without doing anything for Elijah.

*I promise you, Elijah's birthday was not all dark and sad.*

What helped me feel a little better was going through social media and seeing that Elijah was not the only one celebrating a heavenly birthday; he had angel friends who were having birthdays, too! So, I did my best with what we had: some cake mix, leftover frosting, and an unused candle from my sister's birthday. I spent the rest of the day in the kitchen baking and cooking away, while Yao took care of Benjamin.

As I write this blog post late at night, eating the cupcake I made for Elijah, while the whole house (Yao, Benjamin, my mom and brothers) is fast asleep, I realized that where I am is already a special place:

I am at home with my family. There is nothing more special than being with the ones you love.

Happy fourth birthday, Elijah!

I love you always.


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