2010 is drawing to a close. And while most of the people I know are not giving the start of 2011 another thought, I, on the other hand, am always overcome with emotion when thinking about January 1, 2011.
2011 was sure to bring my husband and I many firsts with our son - his first steps, his first words (which I’m sure would have been “mama”), and his first birthday, just to name a few. And the realization that we will not be able to experience any of those moments with him is almost suffocating. Now I have to face 365 more days of heartache and pain. 365 more days of struggling for every step, and every breath I take. I have 365 more days to add to the already 80 days I have spent ripped away from my son - the little boy I grew in my womb for 40 weeks, spent 15 hours in labor with, and loved for four and a half short months. Not only that, but 2011 offers me the chance to continue to live my life marking the milestones of his death – the one year anniversary of his passing, the day that he would be gone for more time than he was with us, etc.
And though, I have all of these feelings of deep sadness, I do feel a bit of relief. I feel relief simply because January 1st brings the end of 2010. October 12, 2010 was the single worst day of my life, a day that I am still reeling from. I feel like I have been completely betrayed by 2010. And I am so happy to finally be done with a year that has brought me to so many emotional extremes. It also means that one of my milestones, my first holiday season without my son, is over and I can breathe a little easier. I no longer have to avoid the stores, the television, the radio, or going out in public (not that I really cared about any of those things anyway). Now I can focus all of my attention on making it through the next milestone day.
Then every once in a while when I think of the start of 2011, I feel a bit hopeful. Julius made my husband and me parents. He confirmed to us that we do have the ability to care for another human being. We were so scared of becoming parents, but we found when he was born, that being a parent is the most natural and fulfilling thing we have ever done. We loved every second of our brief time with him. So we are hopeful that 2011 also offers us a chance to expand our family, to make Julius a big brother. We are hopeful that we will one day get to tell Julius’ brother or sister all about their older brother who opened our hearts and changed our lives forever. We have also decided to put some of our strength, time, effort, and money toward SIDS research and awareness. And we are hopeful that 2011 brings possibility that they are 1 step closer to finding a cause for SIDS so that one day nobody will have to lose their child in this tragic way.
Regardless of all of these feelings though, the fact still remains the same - my son is gone. It really doesn’t matter what day it is, or what year it is, nothing will ever change that fact. Every day is a struggle for us just to put one foot in front of the other. Every day we are adjusting to our new roles as bereaved parents. All we really want is to have our son back with us. But since we cannot have that, we are forced to start anew in 2011.