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Gratitude: On Your Birthday

April 26, 2018

Dear Elliott,

Today marks an entire year of your absence. An entire trip around the sun. I have no idea how that much time has elapsed before my very tired eyes. I don’t know how I stumbled through this first year without you here beside me, but I did. We did. Your daddy and I made it. I’m not sure what that means though: making it. We have a lifetime of “making it” to go, but a lot of long days, tears, and hard work has led me to this:


I suppose I should clarify here. I am not grateful for your absence, nor am I magically healed or fixed because a year has passed. However, a year of the darkest days revealed to me the immense gratitude I have for being chosen by you. I have wondered: would I be my most authentic self if you had lived? Would I have savored the most mundane moments if you were still alive? Something tells me no. Your death rocked me to my core, shaking everything I ever believed to be true about the world and myself.

I have grappled with PTSD, anxiety, and grief since your departure, but I have also come to a place of peace for the lessons in gratitude you have taught me.

Grateful for those who don’t know what to say, teaching me patience and empathy.
Joyful for new bonds, and the camaraderie found in the saddest places.
Recognizing broken friendships, shedding what was no longer serving me or my needs.
Welcoming the breakdowns, teaching me vulnerability.
Appreciation for times of uncertainty, teaching me self-acceptance and flexibility.
Thankful for the exhaustion, teaching me how to rest.

As time has passed, I’ve caught glimpses of my growth and healing. I know it will be a life-long journey, one that has no end or goal in sight, and I’m content with that. Your death will force me to continually work on myself, awakening hidden parts of my psyche and subconscious. I feel enlightened to the true meaning of life, and I have you to thank, my sweet girl.

My head and heart have begun to accept that your absence is permanent. It’s uncomfortable and maddening to live without you, but I will never let your name die on my lips. I long for you, but I promise to honor your story and live the life that I would want for you.

So instead of birthday gifts and cake smashes, I will celebrate the gifts you have given me. I will never cease to be amazed at how profound your little life was, and how it has altered the course of mine for eternity.

The love we have for you stretches beyond the constraints of time and space. Happy first birthday, Elliott Rose, our sweet wildflower.


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


    • Holly

      April 26, 2018 at 9:04 am

      Happy Birthday, Elliot! Sending love to you and your Mama and Daddy.

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