Monday, November 9, 2009

Celebrating Owen's life

Thank you for all your prayers and emails and sweet comments (and the card, Tonya) as you remembered our little man with us this past week. I wasn't expecting to be such a mess in the days leading up to Owen's Heaven day, but I was.a.wreck.
I was trying to explain it to a friend and all I could come up with was 'listless' (I still haven't looked up the word, so I don't know exactly what it means, but it felt like it fit my mood). I felt restless and edgy, but I couldn't do anything, nor did I have anything I felt like doing. I felt ready to jump out of my skin.
That was Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
It came as such a shock, but I should have learned by now to expect the unexpected with grief. Chris went to Philadelphia the weekend of Halloween and got back on November 1. I guess I was busy worrying about him up in Philly that I didn't consider being hit by a such a big wave when he got back home. To answer your question Sara (thanks for asking!), yes we are still heading up north next Fall. Lord willing, we will have a cute little 3 month old when we move. We're both really excited about the move and the new adventures that seminary will bring, but of course, there's a lot to think about and do before we hit the road. I'm ready for all the changes that next year will bring.

Chris took off work on Owen's Heaven day (November 5) and we spent the day together. We had planned on going up to his grave-site, but decided to wait until Saturday to go. Instead, we stayed in town and had a peaceful day at home. We went to the doctor for a quick heartbeat check on our littlest one. That helped settle my nerves considerably.
We had lunch (littlest baby wanted a cheeseburger) and went up to my old workplace. I worked at the front desk of an administrative building on a college campus during my pregnancy with Owen. I was sitting at my desk when he died. I don't know if I can explain it, but I just had to got back there on this anniversary. Maybe a part of it is that we won't be here (Lord willing) on Owen's Heaven day or birthday next year. We'll be in an unfamiliar city with no old haunts or places that remind us of Owen. I sat in the lobby near my old desk for thirty minutes. We arrived there (not coincidentally) at the time when Owen was last alive here on Earth. It was a weird sort of countdown all day long. We would look at the clock at 12, 1:30, 2pm and say, 'Owen was still with us this time 2 years ago.' Again, not coincidentally, the receptionist left early that day and when it passed 4:30, I got up and peeked over the edge of the desk and took one last look at the chair I had first felt Owen move and where I felt his goodbye kicks.
Then we left. I don't know if I'll ever go back there. I don't think I need to anymore.

We had brought a blanket with us to campus and went outside to sit on the field where we often had lunch together during Owen's pregnancy. We laid on the field and read the Bible together, then the beginning of Pilgrim's Progress. It was a sweet time of remembering.

We left before it got dark and headed to Target. Sara (unknowingly) gave me the great idea of using Owen's gift cards last week. Believe it or not, we had 3 gift cards that were unused before Owen died. We were saving them for a stroller or diapers, things we could get after he was born. Chris and I decided to use them (none of them lost their value!) on things we could get in memory of Owen. We bought two frames. One to frame a picture of the three of us and one to frame the onesie I bought to tell Chris I was pregnant with Owen (the yellow 'Homemade' one) and a little Pooh hat. We found a great shelf for some of his things and two flower pots with Paperwhite bulbs I'm going to (try to) grow. We also bought four little fish! Weird, I know...but it was so fun to pick out our new little friends and buy them for Owen's birthday. I know he would have thought they were so cool.
Chris' mom sent us beautiful flowers on Owen's Heaven day and a plant as well- and you all know how I feel about plants.

On Saturday, we went the two hours to Owen's grave-site. It was a beautiful day in the mountains. Again, believe it or not, we hadn't ordered Owen's headstone until Saturday. Everytime we visited his grave, I just didn't think I could do it. It seemed so final, like the last thing to cement his death. I know he's been gone two still feels like yesterday.
My grandmother went with us to the funeral home and helped us with the arrangements. We knew what we wanted engraved on it, so all we needed to do was pick out the stone. My grandmother has lived in this small town for almost 80 years and has used this funeral home for her baby son, her mom (and dad, I think), her husband, as well as many aunts and uncles. I was so thankful when we walked in and my grandmother just took charge. It wasn't overbearing or weird at all; it felt like she knew that maybe we couldn't do it. 'We're here to pick out a headstone for the baby' were her words. Again, it wasn't weird...she uses his name sometimes, but calls him our baby a lot too. She does the same thing for her son, Charles Cooper. Her baby, she calls him.
Even though we waited so long to pick out his stone, I feel anxious for it to get here and placed into the ground. I think it will be in by Christmas.

On Owen's birthday, we had lunch with a few friends and released balloons. Again with the believe it or not, but I hadn't planned anything for his birthday. I had tried- I had made small plans, but I just didn't know what I wanted to do. Thankfully, my friends took charge. They arranged a meal for us Sunday afternoon for Owen's birthday and a time for us to all be together. Chris and I brought 7 (we had 10, but popped 3 in the car) blue balloons to release in the backyard.
It was perfect. A cloudless cool November day. There was almost no wind, so when we let them go, they went almost straight up in the sky.

The two little girls below are daughters of my two good friends. I consider them Owen's little friends. G. is 9 months older than Owen and E. is only 3 months older than him. It was priceless to hear them sing Happy Birthday to him and watch their faces as they let their balloons go.

This picture is L. explaining that even when the balloons get really high and you can't see them anymore, it doesn't mean that they disappeared. They're still there, just too far away for us to see. Like God, she said, and Owen too.

L. said we made a nice looking family and I have to agree. 
This is the body of Christ.

Precious May baby is measuring 1-2 days ahead. Dr. Wonderful changed my due date to May 28, but I try not to think about that day...I count three weeks ahead, which is Mother's Day weekend.
We have our anatomy scan scheduled for December 22. I'll be 17 weeks 3 days. Just in time for Christmas!

God is always sweet, always faithful and gracious, but there are times when you can see and feel his love so tangibly. Owen's 2nd anniversaries were such a time of peaceful remembering and hope. I am so thankful to God, I have almost no words to express this gratitude.

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