Celebrating Elijah's First Birthday

June 17, 2017

By Sanda Rathamone
June 17, 2017

Updated: December 1, 2018


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There was not a BBQ, no banners or balloons. No cake, no singing. No truckloads of gifts. Not even guests to celebrate with. I didn't want any of those things and this was not how I had ever imagined what celebrating my first child's very first birthday would be like. I had never imagined a birthday so silent, yet, so comforting.


It was a day to honor and imagine what could have been, to remember my pregnancy journey, and enjoy the wonderful memories we had as parents-to-be as well as grieving parents (and at times, plan for the future). It was a day of being together - just our little family - and I liked it this way. It felt right. 

We went on a little trip for some sight seeing at the Muir Beach Overlook - a new place for us to visit  - and saw this perfect view of the coast. It wasn't to die for, but it was enough to say that I would come back just to watch and listen to the waves. Perhaps even have a little picnic there. 


Yellow Wildflowers

The walkway

If only Elijah could see this, too. And that is why we brought him along - in photo frame and box version. Surprisingly, we saw whales breaching nearby the cliff and shore. It was a nice touch and reminded me of the first trip (of four) to release his ashes. 

We went to a beach in Monterey and saw whales blowing water everywhere!

There is also a beach nearby the overlook, but on a nice, sunny day, there were just too many people out and about. The beach was a disappointing no-go and too busy with large crowds. So, we decided to make a little fishing trip an hour or so away. Somewhere less crowded and noisy. Again, being near water helps a lot. 

My husband had his fishing fix and I had some time to work on this blog. Pretty convenient if you ask me.

Muir Beach Overlook

As for Elijah's birthday present, I spent some time creating a second memory box (we had one gifted from the hospital) over the past few weeks, while also finding and placing items in the box to honor him. A special one that I had to re-create was a pregnancy journal. I had to go back and remember everything about my pregnancy! It was fun, relaxing, and a bit of a mission.

My husband wanted to add his own words to the journal and did so during our little trip. This was our "therapy" that made us laugh and rekindle our relationship. It made me happy to realize that my husband and I shared one of the most intimate and wonderful things in the world; our love for Elijah.

Every minute of this trip, we knew that Elijah was there. His crows and butterflies are always giving us a nudge and a lot of love. Grief is limitless, timeless, but it comes with a beauty like no other. 

Happy First Birthday, Baby Boy. 
We love you!

Mommy and Daddy


"By the smiles on our faces, you would never know how much pain we feel and have felt. You would never know that behind closed doors, we grieve. You would probably even walk by us and not know that we are forever changed and heartbroken by the loss of our son. You would just see us as 'normal,' average people, doing and acting 'normal' and average things. 


Elijah's Daddy

You would even most likely assume that we are not parents at all, because you do not see or know about our son or because we do not raise our child the same way you or others do. 

Yet, you would also not know how much it has taken for us to enjoy life again. You would not know what we have done and endured to smile and laugh as we had used to."


Elijah's Mommy


Elijah's Mommy

"In these photos, you might see that our eyes are behind rose-colored lens. But, no, they are not. They are lens of seeing the world in a whole new and different way, in which not all are privy to. It takes profound strength, courage, vulnerability, and an immensity of pain to see what we see, to know what we know, and to feel what we feel. It takes more than perseverance, it takes all that we have ever had to make it anywhere through grief."

Elijah Rathamone-Saeteurn

The photo we are holding is of Elijah at the hospital, just hours after birth. It was taken by my sister, who is very much appreciated for capturing a "sleeping" moment. This photo has become our favorite, framed and displayed, and is always a gentle reminder of a sleeping angel. 

With love,


Elijah Rathamone-Saeteurn 
Born Thursday, June 16, 2016 
6:51 a.m. 9.9 oz and 10 in 

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