Saturday, January 5, 2008

Happy? Birthday

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Because there was no way I could post Aaron Jr's birthday parties at the normal time, I am backtracking so that his birthday is recorded. Thanks April... for taking these photos with my camera. I just couldn't bring myself to pick up a camera yet.

Here is Aaron Jr. His 2nd birthday was 2 days after Aaron passed away. I can't even describe the sadness of that day. I put a smile on my face for Aaron Jr. His birthday needed to make him feel special no matter what had just taken place. It was very difficult. I could tell he knew that his Daddy was missing. He still seemed to have a good time, but I just keep picturing what Aaron would have been doing during that day. Just a couple of days before Aaron died, he and I had discussed what we should do for Aaron Jr's birthday. We discussed going sledding, but Aaron Jr had a runny nose, so we weren't sure if he should be out in the cold. Aaron suggested taking him to the zoo... we had never taken him and we had wanted to for a while. We decided to play it by ear depending on how Aaron Jr was feeling later in the week. Well... later in the week, Aaron passed away. We never got to take Aaron Jr to the zoo.
There was a distinct void that evening as we celebrated Aaron Jr's birthday. The hole left from Aaron's absence that day was heartbreaking.

Grandma Harkness and Aaron Jr.

This was the best photo to try to see the belt that Aaron Jr is wearing. The reason he is dressed as a cowboy is because his Daddy was a cowboy. His Daddy was a jack of all trades... he enjoyed so many things, but he LOVED being on his horse in the mountains. A little over a week before Aaron passed away, he came home with this belt. He said that he thought it was perfect for Aaron Jr. It is a cowboy belt through and through. I told him that since Aaron Jr's birthday was coming up, we should save it for his birthday. So that was agreed to. So, Aaron never got to see it on Aaron Jr. Aaron also bought the black vest for Aaron Jr WHILE I was still pregnant with him. I don't think he even knew that he was going to be a boy yet. I know he just hoped.

Grandpa Harkness and Aaron Jr.

His second birthday cake at my parents' house.

Bath time in the kitchen sink.

Thank you everyone... for helping to make Aaron Jr's birthday fun for him.

Since this posting is about Aaron Jr... I thought I would take a minute and talk about him. It took Aaron and I a while to get pregnant. All I ever wanted in life was to be a wife and a mother. It took a while, but I finally got to be both. I have always been so grateful for Aaron and when Aaron Jr came along... I couldn't believe how blessed I was to have my dreams come true. To be a wife AND a mother. What blessing is more treasured? I always pictured lots of kids running around our house and Aaron and I growing old together. Well... it was cut short. Our time with Aaron was cut short. I cannot begin to explain the heartbreak I feel for myself... but the heartbreak I feel for Aaron Jr... it is even beyond that IF that is possible. At least I understand what is going on. I understand where Aaron is, what he is doing, and that we will be with him again someday. But Aaron Jr... two years old... he doesn't understand. I truly believe that there have been angels around him guarding him, protecting him, helping him grieve in his own little way. The last few days, he has been a little more clingy... he comes up and wants to sit on my lap and will just stare at the photos of Aaron. When he says 'Daddy'... it rips my heart out, but I am so glad he does say it. I want him to remember his Daddy. I want him to know his Daddy. I want him to be like his Daddy. I pray that he gets to have great dreams about his Daddy every night. Who knows? Maybe that is how Heavenly Father is helping him through at this time... to have wonderful dreams about his Daddy.

The song that is on my blog. It is one of 'our songs'. It always has been. Whenever I have my blog open the last couple of days, Aaron Jr will come up next to me at the computer and will start singing along. He doesn't say all of the words, but he will just sing along and then the last word of each line, he sings that word more clearly. Yesterday, he was singing with a lot of heart. He had his eyebrows furrowed and he was giving it all he had. It was so precious.

One more thing I have noticed about Aaron Jr. More than ever, he carries stuff around with him like he has to hold on to it and not let it out of his sight... or else. He will carry a cookie around for an hour and never take a bite... it is almost like he is protecting it. He has a couple of new toys that he tries to carry around all at once and even though his small hands can't handle it all, he tries so hard to make sure he has all that he wants. He protects his 'stuff'. As I have sat and pondered on why he is doing this... the thought has kept coming to my mind that maybe he realizes that he has lost something SO important to him and maybe if he protects his 'stuff'... then he won't lose anything else. I don't even know if that makes sense. It makes sense in my head, but it is hard to explain.

Two years old. That is so young to have to go through the grief and pain of losing his Daddy. I know he will be grieving at different times throughout his life, but right here, right now... I am watching him grieve and it is almost unbearable.

I love both of my cowboys. This little cowboy of mine that is still here is now the most important person in this world to me. I pray that I can help him with what he needs and help him to know who is Daddy is. I love you Aaron Jr. You mean the world to me.

We love and miss you, Aaron. You are our everything.

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Carrie said...

You don't know me, but my husband Cache was a roommate of Aaron's at Utah State. Thank You for sharing your blog with the public, you truly are an inspiration to me, you are an incredibly strong woman. I just pray that if the Lord "blesses" me with a challenge as hard as yours that I can be as strong as you. You and Aaron Jr. are in our prayers.

Carrie Merrill

Kristi said...

The timing of Aaron's death and AJ's birthday is absolutely horrible. I wonder how much he is understanding. He may still be expecting to see his Daddy walk through the door. What a sweet boy. I love the story of him singing the song from your blog. We love that little boy. We are so glad for you that you have a piece of Aaron with you in the form of AJ.

Melinda said...

I think you are doing a wonderful job of helping Aaron jr. remember his Daddy. I am sure he will grow up keeping those very special characteristics of his Daddy, because you will teach him. I remember talking with you at Jason and Dallas's wedding... we were talking about you having more children. I was thinking then how great your attitude was about kids,and how much you cherished Aaron Jr. What a blessing he is!

Karey said...

Nice posting, Leslie. How heartbreaking for Aaron Jr. to be grieving and not able to talk about it. It really is so sad. He's lucky to have you for his mommy. He definitely is a piece of Aaron that you can cherish. He looks so much like his Dad. I love you. Keep pushing on.

Laureen said...

will continue to think of you and Aaron Jr. Leslie...again, I'm so sorry for your loss and pain,


emily sue said...

I can't believe how incredibly lucky Aaron Jr. is to have you as a mom. What an incredible blessing to have him in your life. He is someday going to rise up and call you blessed for pulling him through this unbelievable hard time and helping him discover who his daddy was and who he will ultimately become. You are a mother I admire so much. I love you Les.

Seesalou said...

it makes me sick to think of little aaron's loss. he cracks me up. although i am sure he is confused and feels a loss, i am grateful that he is a happy little guy most of the time. lately i have noticed how much more he is talking, i was sad to realize his dad isn't here to hear it. not physically anyway. be strong for him, leslie.

Sheye said...

What a remarkable mother you are, to still forge ahead trying to make Aaron Jr's birthday special amidst your own shocking grief. I know you will be told often you're "strong" when you are in fact anything but on the inside..I know you're just doing the only thing you know how to - be the best possible Mom to your boy and try to keep breathing...
Just one foot after another, every single day, and look for the fireflies.
Love Sheye

Liz said...

OH he is truly precious. I love his little lips. I also believe that there are angels surrounding him.

Kris said...

I love reading your blogs. I haven't been able to get to it during the holidays and so I went on tonight. My heart just breaks for you two!!! I can't imagine what it must be like. I have a friend whom I have known her and her husband for over 20 years. Last January her husband died. He faught cancer for 18 months and she had a site that we followed what was going on. Hearing you and reading your comments just tears me a part like it did when Mark first died. She would write the same type of things. I just finished reading her site and then came over to yours. Her heart still aches, her love for her husband still hurts. I love how you talked about normal. I once saw a saying that said "Normal is just a setting on a washing machine" I remember that saying a lot. I just hurt and cry for you and like so many others have said, I wish I could take some of the hurt and loneliness away for just a minute!!! You are an amazing person and such a strength for me to watch! Thanks for sharing your feelings with us. We pray for you and Aaron Jr. Please know you are constantly in our thoughts!!! We love you.

Melinda said...

Leslie, just wanted you to know that you've been in my thoughts all day. I love you.


Andrea said...

Although I'm sure you weren't feeling it outside, it was touching to see you put on a smile for Aaron Jr's birthday. What a great mom you are, trying to make it a special day despite your grieving. I do believe that although you might always grieve, you will become stronger and more able to live your life and be a great mom. I think doing things for your son although your heart might not be in it will make you stronger because you will be focusing more on making your son happy. It's kind of like service; selflessly putting others first or seeking to help them or make them happy makes YOU happy. They always say a cure for "depression" is to go out and serve (I understand your situation is a little different). Being a good mom is natural for you and I'm sure you don't look at it like a service, but that's kind of what it is to me. That will help you as the days go by. You always have friends and family to rely on and there's always our loving Father in Heaven. No one expects you to be super tough. You can grieve as long as you need to. You can cry. Just know that many people are there for you and care about you.