Guest Post by Megan Skaggs
My first Mother’s Day was an incredible mix of emotions. I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad or crying or not. I remember feeling quite numb.
Our surviving twin son, Will, was about ten months old. His identical twin brother, MJ, had been dead for about nine months, and we were starting to be able to see clearly, after being in a fog for so long.
I didn’t want, nor did we have the money, to do something ‘big.’ We were honestly thousands of dollars in debt due to MJ’s medical bills and were trying to figure out how we would manage it all.
We decided to have a picnic and spend the day at our local zoo, which was ‘free’ since we had previously bought a year membership.
It was a cold day, and I very clearly remember sitting at the picnic table eating lunch not knowing if I should be crying, or if it was okay to smile.
Will was so full of life and happy to be outside after a long winter. I remember trying to imagine what it would have been like with two 10-month-old boys to spend the day with.
What a feeling it was, to hold one baby in my arms, and long to hold my other in something other than my heart.
My mother was the only other person than my husband who acknowledged how hard of a day it must have been for me.
Everyone else saw one perfect little boy and assumed he was all I needed.
They were incredibly wrong.
A piece of me died with MJ, and no matter how many months, years or children I have, that piece of my heart can never be returned.
We walked around the zoo in our single stroller, while our double stroller gathered dust back home.
At the children’s area, we stopped and fed the goats, and I remember feeling so overwhelmed with my emotions.
Will was amazed he could touch the goats, and I was amazed I could even breathe without MJ. My husband put his arm around me, and in my heart, I sobbed.
I remember the sun shining through and feeling as if MJ was with us at that moment; that somehow both of my sons were able to smile back at me that day.
Those moments are what get me through. Every so often the sun will shine just right, and the warmth hits my face, and I can feel MJ with us.
That afternoon at the zoo was one of the first times I had truly felt that.
Several months later my husband and I decided to buy a brick that would be placed at the children’s area of our local zoo. Due to another cold winter, it took almost until the next Mother’s Day to place his brick.
Will was about 22 months, and I was looking forward to seeing his brick. That Mother’s Day I was just newly pregnant with our ‘Rainbow Baby,’ fresh off a miscarriage.
I had no idea if this new baby would come home with us or live forever in Heaven. We saw MJ’s brick, and that feeling came back to me once again.
The sun was shining, and the warmth hit my face, and I felt our son with us. I put Will down and had thoughts of taking this amazing photo of Will and MJ’s brick.
And just as any child at 22 months would do, Will had other plans of petting goats and chasing geese.
I won’t lie when I say that I shed a tear and hated that brick for a moment. We were a sight to see- chasing around Will trying to get him to sit still long enough to take a picture next to a brick.
We finally gave up and just took a picture of MJ’s brick alone. And like so often in our lives, the plans we made didn’t happen.
We had to be okay with just a picture of his brick.
We chose to cremate MJ, so that brick means a lot more to me than anyone would think.
I like to imagine him playing around that zoo, when no one is there, petting the goats and chasing the geese – just as his twin brother did that first time we saw it.
Just last month we went back to the zoo, and this time we got our perfect picture of that brick- with Will and Maci Jayne (our Rainbow Baby who did come home with us).
This Mother’s Day I’d like to go back to the zoo, and I hope I get that feeling once again.
That somehow, someway, when the sun shines down just right on my face and brings that warmth; all of my children are with me.