Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My Sister Got it Right: Thoughts on "Happy Birthday"

guest post by MaryJo Carlson (grandmother to Samuel)
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Today is my daughter's birthday.

My daughter whose baby died. 

She carried him with all her love while he was here. 

Words have become so very much more important since our Samuel left this earth. With each passing day I have learned that lesson more and more. 

Have you thought about it? 

Think of all the holidays and events that we recognize as a people - they start with joy filled words like Merry and Happy. Those words now sting, especially for her. Her heart is still not to a place where it is merry or happy about a holiday or a special event. It just doesn't have the same meaning it did before he died. 

Samuel is always missing from those events. 

He should have been big enough now that he would be the one saying with a great big grin - and I'm certain some jumping up and down -  "Happy Birthday mama!" I can almost imagine that he and daddy would have gone secretly shopping for a special gift that would melt my daughter's heart (my son-in-law is really good at that). And then Samuel would have held behind his back his special treasure bursting with pride and uncontrollable excitement. 

The day should have been filled with squeals and laughter and hugs and kisses. But it's not. Because someone is missing along with a big piece of her heart. 

Today I've seen people saying "Happy Birthday" to my daughter on Facebook. I read the though comments and thought of how Samuel is missing and how "happy" doesn't seem right. (Although I know that "Happy Birthday" is simply our way of acknowledging the special day and by no means a hurtful thing to say!)

Then I came to me sister's comment. She got it right with her words. She said "Thinking of you on this special day, with love". Not happy birthday, hope you have an amazing day! For now those words still sting. Maybe they always will and that's ok because she really, really wanted Samuel to stay.

Now that I know the ache of missing my grandson, and watching my daughter live without him, I've learned to choose my words with extra love and care. 

You know why my sister got it right? Because she knows - a part of her heart is missing too - her daughter Kalyn died. She knows how the days that should have been Happy and Merry are now forever changed. 

So, today, on yet another day that's not how it's supposed to be for my daughter, her husband, and us, I say to her, not "I hope it's the best day ever!" because that's not possible, but instead, "I love you, I celebrate you, and I miss your beautiful boy with you today". I can say "Happy Birthday" too, and know that she knows exactly what I mean. 



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MaryJo Carlson and her husband David have five children. Their oldest daughter is RaeAnne Fredrickson who started All That Love Can Do in memory of her beautiful son Samuel Evan. MaryJo is a stay at home mom and grandma who now spends her time finding ways to bring light and encouragement to others who have had to say goodbye to their precious grandbabies way too soon.

2 comments:

Maggie Regalado said...

I am a mama to two angel's. I do not personally know you or your daughter, but thank you. Thank you for being her support and for understanding her. Everything in this post is so very true and hits near and dear to my heart. I wish the people around me understood how much my life has changed and what that means for the rest of my life. -The girl who always feels alone

Gale Fitts said...

I think of RaeAnne often. I think of Samuel and Bryan also. Mary Jo, you all are forever embedded in my heart with love. Gale

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