Every year on Ian's birthday I wonder what we will do. The first year we felt we really needed to plan a party. We invited our close friends and family, had cake and visited the gaveside. My children each had special songs they wanted to sing andspecific requests. They wanted to bring flowers and balloons (to release after we sang the songs). I also read a poem that I wrote that morning. Here it is:
by Noel GigerIn Memory of Ian Wesley GigerAugust 3, 2006 – November 5, 2006Lost to SIDS
One year ago today I was in labor at this time. One year ago today William held our sweet Ian up to show me, and then they whisked him away too soon.
How was I to know that in a few short 94 days, his precious life would also be whisked away too soon?
One year ago today, I was in a hospital, holding my 3rd child, checking out his perfection, counting toes and multiplying kisses on his entire body.
How was I to know that in 13 weeks I would be in another hospital, holding that same gift, as we discontinued life support and he breathed his last?
One year ago today, I called people at 4 o'clock in the morning to tell them "my water has broken!" I was in labor, just the way I had always wanted it. My first two were induced, I always wanted a water-breaking story.
How was I to know that just shy of 3 months later, I would be making a similar round of phone calls? "Ian stopped breathing, the EMT's have a pulse back. They are taking him to Trinity, please PRAY!".
One year ago today, I would soon find out that my little boy would have to stay in NICU after I had been released. I couldn't bear to leave without him, much less go home without him, so William got a hotel room next to the Hospital, so we could visit him all the time.
How was I to know that leaving him in NICU would pale in comparison to leaving him, laying cold and dead in another Hospital, so small and so gone? I stood at the elevators for what seemed like an eternity, unable to force my body to make the moves. Again, we couldn't bear to go home, another hotel.
One year ago today, I had the pleasure of introducing my older 2 children to their much awaited, already loved baby brother. They loved holding him and fought over whose turn it was to feed him his bottle.
How was I to know that 3 months and 2 days later, I would break their hearts with the news that Ian had died and gone to Heaven?
One year ago today, I thought that it was going to be really challenging to plan a Dedication party for Ian, we figured that it would come around Thanksgiving.
How was I to know that 3 months and 3 days later, I would be planning a very different event; a funeral for a tiny body, in a tiny casket, to be placed in a tiny plot of land in a cemetery? I have my "certificate of property ownership", I'd rather just have my son.
One year ago today, I welcomed family and friends, accepted warm greetings and well wishes, enjoyed flower deliveries to welcome Ian's birth. I love flowers!
How was I to know that in 14 weeks, I would be receiving many flowers, too many to make it from the funeral to my house in one car? Man, I hated flowers that week!
One year ago today, we excitedly and proudly filled out the information for Ian's birth certificate: Ian Wesley Giger. We were so proud of his beautiful name.
How was I to know that 6 months later we would stand in the cemetery, the ugly patch of brown now covered with sweet new grass, and weep bitter tears over seeing his name, so carefully chosen, and never intended for a bronze carving?
One year ago today, we soon would delight in dressing our son up in the outfit his big brother and sister had chosen, the front says "My mom is a rock star". Yep, I felt like one too. We were finally bringing him home, finally got to see the sign "Welcome home Mom and Dad and Ian" made with markers, crayons and stickers, by our sweet children.
How was I do know that an achingly short 2,255 hours later, we would be singing, crying and praying as he made his true homecoming? I believe that there were angels and small children holding up signs, "Welcome Home Ian", "Job Well Done", "Enter Your Rest". I am sure they weren't made with markers though.
One year ago today, I thought I was a strong person. I thought that I had great faith. I thought that life was great.
How was I to know, that over the course of the next year, I would find out without a shadow of a doubt, that I am a strong person, I have great faith and that LIFE is great?
I have no regrets.
I don't know what we'll do this year. We have a yard sign that we will put out, as we do every year. We leave it out between his birthday and anniversary. Here is what it looks like:
We've met several people in our neighborhood from our sign. I'm sure there are plenty more who'd rather not see it! I think it's good to be reminded that life is short, we're not promised tomorrow and you should always take advantage of each moment with your loved ones!
I'll probably bake something, we'll go to Whataburger (they're giving free Whataburger's to anyone who wears orange today between 5-8! It's their birthday too!) We'll go to the cemetary and all cry (and chase the toddler who doesn't really understand, but does recognize Ian's picture and says "Bubba"!) I have a feeling that I'll be crying a lot today!
In fact, I already cried when I watched this:
A beautiful video created by my friend Elizabeth. She lost her dad recently.
I especially loved the pic she included of the "Welcome Home" sign. It was perfect!
If you'd like to read more about Ian and my grief journey, click here, or on the "Grief and Helaing" link in the header of the blog.
If you would like to honor Ian on his fourth birthday, first - hug someone you love and tell them how you really feel! Life is too short! Then, consider making a donation to Camp Sol. You can read about them on their website or a quick article I wrote.
"Consider it pure joy, my friends, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4