I responded back to an email my sister-in-law wrote me earlier today, about how she is having a hard time accepting that our two babies, Jules and Ryan, won't grow up together. Jules was born on February 19th, 2009, just 3 weeks after Ryan. The funny thing is that since Ryan was in such a hurry and came early, he was supposed to be born in the beginning of March and ended up being the "older one". No matter who came first though, Kristy and I had been ecstatic from the beginning to learn that our babies would grow up as twins. I can still freshly remember the day that we told Chris' side of the family about our double secret. It was a magical moment. Through my pregnancy, my assurance that Ryan was going to be okay only grew and I was definitely sharing in the dreams of Christmas' together, graduations, birthday parties, the list went on. There was anticipation for so much celebration together.
And now, things are different. We won't be doing those things together but it doesn't mean that I won't be happy for them and want to celebrate with them, or that I won't be thinking about Ryan much of the time either. It doesn't mean it won't hurt,us. I don't just mean Chris and I, because I know that losing Ryan hurts more than just his parents. Ryan was loved by so many. Maybe we can someday find a way to honor him on those days too...
The most difficult pain to deal with right now is knowing that the further we get from the days that Ryan was actually physicall present with us, here, in our own home, the harder it will be to feel his presence. I have not taken down his Pack N Play, I can still see where his head layed for the last few moments of his life before we held him in our arms. I won't let Chris wash his laundry in his hamper... I go in there every day to see if I can still smell him. I enter his room, knowing that someday we will take down his crib and change the decor. Those days are the days that I will probably ache the most for my baby. Watching his physical presence in our home fade over the next few months is similar to how we watched the strength of his body fade as his disease, SMA, took hold. It is a painful, slow process, but also, one that has happened much too quickly. 6 months. So many changes. I am sure 6 months from now, I will feel that way all over again. Time changes many things, but I believe that in our hearts, Ryan's memory is timeless. I hope that time will not fade my memory of his beautiful eyes and the powerful love my heart felt from the moment I first layed eyes on our "handsome boy".
So, we continue, day by day. A routine that isn't all too unfamiliar to us. We live for Charlotte and for our family. In doing so, I somehow feel that I am being the best mother I can be, to both my children. I hope that as we took Charlotte to the Zoo on Monday, that Ryan was there with us too, knowing that if he were alive and well, that is what we would have been doing together. I know that he was wise to what we needed. How, is left for you to contemplate, but he knew that we needed to regroup as a couple at that concert. He hung on so tight to allow us that. He knew our family needed a few more moments with him as he waited for us all to say our final words to him and sing him Happy Birthday on his 6 month 1/2 birthday. He wanted to celebrate his accomplishments too. And he knew just how Chris and I needed to say goodbye. There was no mistake in the events that took place just before he left this world. Everything was "as it should be", as I hoped for in an earlier post. How he knew... that is the amazing part. He was the wisest 6 month old baby... He is a child of God. I even look back at the posts just before that night... Sweet Dreams are all our little boy has now.
Life is different, and it always will be. But, that doesn't mean it has to be days or months of grief where my eyes are swollen from the tears I've cried. It doesn't have to be days spent in the confines of my home. It takes a lot of strength to get out of bed and live each day for my family, but in doing that, it is for Ryan too. Some days may be harder than others, but they don't have to be clouded with inner torment. Opening my heart to my husband and family, speaking Ryan's name out loud when I miss him and listening for the message God has for me is carrying me through. I pray that this sustains me in the days and months to come. That I am still able to find serenity is this place I never imagined I would be in.