By Martha McGeehon, Everly’s Mom

The Choice

I sit here watching two of my beautiful babies play together. Our oldest being a sweet and caring big sister. Our youngest giggling alongside her. I stop to soak it all in. They are a joy and a treasure, those two, then my breath catches. There should be one more; another big sister laughing and twirling around the living room. Her third birthday is just a few days away and my mind is consumed with the “what should be’s”:

There should be more giggles
There should be more hugs and kisses
There should be more meltdowns
There should be an almost threenager
There should be three…

But there isn’t and there never will be. No parent should ever have to come to terms with this reality. These emotions of joy and sorrow should not exist together. Yet for bereaved parents they always will. The joy and the sorrow forever coexisting. If there is a silver lining, it is that our joy is much stronger than ever before. We know nothing is guaranteed and that all of this could be gone in an instant, so we stop and soak up the giggles and the smiles and the sunshine more often than before. We allow the joy to fill our hearts up. It doesn’t take away the sorrow, it likely never will, but it does help mend the wounds just a bit.

I think I can safely say, bereaved parents would give up the silver lining to have our babies back, in a heartbeat. We would go back to being naive and innocent of life and death if given the chance. Yet that is not our reality. However, we do have a choice. We choose to fully absorb every moment, every giggle, every hug, every kiss, every meltdown, every mess, every snuggle, every skinned knee and soak in the joy of every situation. While we cannot control what has happened to us, we can use it to savor the moments we do have.

So on April 23rd each year we will sit in our sorrow and grief. We will honor it and we will also choose to surround ourselves with love, light a birthday candle, eat cake, and celebrate our little girl.

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