Letters To Elijah: Entry 2 (1st Birthday)

June 16, 2017

By Sanda Rathamone


One year of grief, the first year without him, the one year anniversary of his passing, and the day he was born.

"Dear Elijah, 

It brings me great joy and a twinge of sadness that you are now 1-years-old! It has now been one whole year since the day you were born and the day you swiftly made your departure. 

It is bittersweet to imagine you as this chunky, rambunctious, and curious little boy. Perhaps with a few teeth, full-on fast running legs and feet, and a smile and laugh that I could never live a day without. I would never, ever get tired of knowing that you are happy and fully loved. 

Instead, you are celebrating your first birthday as an angel in heaven. And your daddy and I are here honoring your day without you.

I don't think I will ever get used to the reality that you're there and I'm here. That your baby cousin is here and not you. Instead, she is the new addition to the family and you are not. I don't think I can ever heal from this kind of emptiness and disappointment it brings me. Who knew that such emptiness can feel so heavy... 

I don't think anyone knows how much this hurts me, more than you do. I know that you can hear and feel the sharpness of my pain for you. 

Nevertheless, I do know that you are always with me in spirit. I know that you wipe my every tear, kiss my cheeks, and hold my hand. I know that you love me as much as I love you and that you comfort me during my times of distress. 

A year passes by so quickly, yet, it has been so painful for me that in some ways, a year feels like an eternity. I still remember everything that had happened, as if it wasn't too long ago that I was pregnant with you or was in a hospital gown, laying on a bed -- heaving and crying in labor. I cannot seem to forget anything, but it has gotten better...sort of. I have stopped replaying every hospital scene -- like I used to --  all of those minutes and hours of counting down to the moment of losing you. I am no longer haunted by those sad hospital memories. 

I am haunted by the notion that the majority of family has pushed you aside. You are the least of their worries, the very last of their thoughts, and an "uncomfortable topic" for them. I don't blame them though; I would rather keep our family treasured elsewhere, forever in our hearts. Because that is where you will always belong. They will never hold nor carry you -- just like how they hold and carry your baby cousin -- but I always will. I will carry you, even though, sometimes, the weight is too much for me to hold. It is also a duty for me to cuddle and keep your bear nice and warm, hoping that you can feel my love through your little bear. 

Anyway, I would rather enjoy the special love coming from those who do remember and pray for you. Those who see the beauty of your brief little life. Those who are openly fearless in showing you love and care. But still, it hurts that I cannot share you with everyone [in the way that I'd like to]. 

This. Fucking. Hurts. 

I also cannot help, but to tell you that on my last day of work, a coworker hugged me goodbye and gave me a second one for you. He said that he hoped that I would "have a million more." *Giggles* But, a million more babies could never replace what I have felt and feel for you. All I wanted was you. 

I feel this urge to purchase books and toys, clothes and cards for your birthday. I feel that you deserve something. Yet, again, this hurts, because I cannot give them to you. I cannot watch you push a toy car or turn the pages of a book. I will never hear the happiness of your baby-toddler voice or see the cheer and innocence of your smile. What use would it be to buy you anything??? .... But I still feel that I have to, because you deserve it. 

All I can really do is give you my love through prayers and thank you for everything you have done. You have helped me see the potential and motherly qualities in myself. I will always thank you for making me a mother. It is always an honor to be your mother and there is no other who would love you as much as myself. I could never replace nor trade you with any other child, either. You are just too precious. 

As much as I wished things were different, I am still happy to call you my son. You will always be my little miracle, our little baby boy. 

It would have been such a miracle if you had also survived. Even if it was just for a few hours, I would have loved to see you move your tiny fingers and toes. I would have loved to feel the warmth of your skin. 

I wrote this letter at my favorite getaway place. I wish you were here to listen to the calm waves that I love so much. I would have loved to watch you run around, chasing seagulls in tiny blue-stripped shorts and a green shirt with the words "Mommy's Little Man and Daddy's Best Buddy" across the front. And then smile at the sight of your daddy chasing you under the warm, happy sun. 

I would have loved to hear us sing "Happy Birthday" to you and your babbling words trying to mimic the song, and celebrate the first year of your life. 

Happy first Birthday, Elijah.

P.S. I truly believe that if you were here, I would be the happiest mother on earth. I also wonder if you are the one who is sending me all of these rainbows appearing at just the right moment, and in that dream...

With so much love, 

Your Mommy."

Elijah Rathamone-Saeteurn 
Born Thursday, June 16, 2016 
6:51 a.m. 9.9 oz and 10 in 
Due October 30, 2016

To read previous Letters To Elijah, click here.

* Read the full story about Elijah:

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