And just like I ironically told Blue on the way to the hospital while in labor with Jackson that I could never handle having a stillborn, if someone had told me that on Jackson's first birthday there would already be another sibling's grave beside his, I would have honestly said I wouldn't survive such a tragedy.
But we do, don't we? We are changed. People around are changed. Even our relationships with people around us are changed. For some of us chosen people, life is not our own to plan but part of something greater planned for us.
Still, we could hardly process the important one year mark of Jackson's passing clearly. I tried to focus on him though his sister's C-section scar still ached and I could still see her little swollen face in my mind whenever I closed my eyes. I wanted this day to be about him.
One thing I felt was really important to do on his birthday was release balloons with messages to him. This is a tangible way for children to reach out to their dead siblings. You can see Jackson's six year old sister here writing him a message. Everyone in attendance did it. I felt that it honored him, helped us remember him, and helped us as well hope to be better people as we live a life here in a way that he can not.
*Claire's grave on the left, Jackson's on the right*
I was grateful to my step father for bringing nice soil up and dressing the graves. It made them pretty in my eyes.
We also made a "cake" for him. My kids were a little disappointed that more people didn't come to his "party," said that was not fair to him. I was touched by their desire that this unseen sibling receive just as they do in life. The sad part about AZ graveside celebrations? More likely than not, it's HOT, even in the morning. It was hard to enjoy the sweets when we were all dripping sweat!