Each year on the anniversary of Connor’s passing we do something to celebrate him. Something special to honor his life and to remember how profoundly he impacted ours. We dedicate the day to remembering and celebrating. It helps, even if just a little bit…
On the 3rd anniversary of his death… as we sat by a beautiful lake in the mountains remembering him… lighting a candle as the minute passed that he breathed his last breath… something amazing happened.
That stunning fall day in September of 2010 was the day we learned about our son Micah. Pretty incredible if you think about it; I mean, what are the odds that this would happen on that exact day? I remember, like it was yesterday, getting the call from our social worker telling us about a possible match in our adoption process. The cell phone reception was so spotty that there was only a single place in the house you could get a good enough signal for a call. But on that day, in the midst of our celebration of Connor, in the midst of our unspeakable grief, a call got through and with it came joy, unspeakable joy. This was just the very beginning of the dichotomy that would grow in our lives… joy… grief… joy… grief… such a mix of raw emotions. How would we ever integrate these two chapters of our lives? How would we ever share a brother he never knew with Micah?
Weeks later we met his birth mom, and soon after that Micah was born. When we brought him home with us, Connor’s favorite bear sat on the dresser watching over his crib… a first step towards connecting the chapters. As Micah grew, we found more simple ways to share Connor with him. We would look at pictures and share videos, which Micah always loved to look at, laughing, smiling and hugging the picture frames. He learned the sign for the letter C and this is the way he still talks about his brother.
As time has gone on, and Micah has grown, we now share Connor’s favorite books, which Micah loves to read on Connor’s bed. Connor had always loved Clifford and Thomas the Tank Engine… Micah does as well. We have been very intentional about finding ways to connect our boys but it still hurts knowing our sons won’t grow up together. It hurts knowing that Connor will never be able to watch over his little brother the way his bear watched over Micah on that first night.
Micah has developed such a passion for his brother; it continually inspires and amazes me. Even though we took the first steps to connect them, Micah has found beautiful ways to connect with Connor completely on his own. He loves to pick “flowers” for Connor’s grave, which in toddler terms means clovers, grass, moss, twigs and other fun items. He loves to share his favorite music; picking out songs to play and then all out dancing and jumping to the music. Seeing him do this can’t help but bring both absolute joy and tears. We laugh, we smile, we cry and we wish so badly that things were different.
As Micah touches the letters on Connor’s headstone, he blows kisses. His love is breathtaking, just like his brother’s. Seeing our boys connect in the only way they can right now is inspiring and makes us yearn even more deeply for the day they will connect face to face. Listening to Micah talk about Connor, reading his favorite books, and watching him place flowers, touch the letters and dance at Connor’s grave reminds me that love is not bound by death… love like this transcends time and space. Their connection with each other is so much more than I ever could have imagined was possible. I’m so thankful for both of my boys and how they have taught us to combine joy, grief and love into a single beautiful, timeless story