It's July of 2013. Connell popped some buttons on my keyboard the other day and made Facebook show me statuses from August 2011:
The kids and I may have missed the earthquake, but this baby is doing his/her very best to make sure I have a chance to know how it felt! S/he's already a wiggle worm... only the size of a avocado and already proving to be a soccer player!
I posted that 10 days before we lost Andrew. When I read those words I vividly remembered the joy of those days and then quickly found myself feeling the raw emptiness I felt in the weeks after I left the hospital.
And I cried. A lot.
I went to mass with just Connell a few weeks ago. Katie was an alter server and Jillian was at a youth conference in Steubenville. The guys were on their way to a soccer tournament. A family walked in and said hello with their four beautiful little boys. Their youngest was born on the day Andrew was due. He was born perfect and beautiful. He's a rolly polly happy toddler now with blue eyes and dimples that make your heart giggle. They named their son Andrew, too. I felt jealous and conflicted. I want my own Andrew, but if Andrew had lived I wouldn't have Connell. Maybe I should just take joy in watching their Andrew grow up.
I can't. Not yet. I'm still hurting and wondering if it will ever stop. Part of me is missing.
I was given a lot of advice and words of wisdom in the days and weeks after our loss. Some of it was unknowingly cruel. (Please don't tell a grieving mother it was meant to be. Those are not comforting words.) Some of it was extremely kind (Some people used his name... and that made him feel so real. I appreciated that.) But one person told me that it's okay to hurt; the hurt will never go away. I will slowly find myself surprised at how many days I can go without tears.
I'm up to 10.