Grief in the Midst of Joy: Happy 3rd Birthday, Shaydon!

Happy Birthday 3rd Birthday Shaydon!

I have a small confession. I hope you don’t mind, but I really wasn’t planning to celebrate this year. There’s been so much joy in my life recently!  I got engaged and married the love of my life, truly my soulmate. I had an amazing wedding that was a night to remember! I moved to a brand new apartment with dishwasher, balcony, (and finally, a garbage disposal).  I’m graduating with my MBA in just 3 weeks, and I taught my first class as an MSU professor (bucket list goal: achieved). I am really excited about the future, and I feel really happy and content with how things have landed 3 years later.

And you know, Tuesday is a busy day! I have work until 6p (I didn’t take off since I’m trying to save vacation days for the honeymoon). Then I have class from 7-10p (I don’t want to be late since I left early a couple of weeks ago, and I was late last week). I’m traveling back to Chicago on Thursday, and the weekend is packed. I figured, it’s one year, just one birthday, not a big deal if we celebrate it later.

Your sister Leila was not having it though. “Mommy: Shaydon’s birthday is on the 26th! NOT IN MAY! NOT on FRIDAY! IT’S ON TUESDAY”. (And she really did text me in all caps. Well, you know how your sister can be.) And then I thought about it, and well she’s right: April 26th IS your day. The Bible does always say “out of the mouth of babes  . . .”

And I realized, so many of my thoughts, and reflections have been about finding and making space for joy in the midst of grief. But this year, it was the opposite. This year, I realized I needed to also learn how to make space for grief in the midst of joy. I admit, I do feel a little guilty. So much is going well, and I’ve seen God’s blessings and hand over my life and our family. And yet remembering you today, it of course makes me sad. I still miss you, still wonder what you would be like.

My good friend told me it’s not really the terrible twos, it’s the terrible threes. Lol!

  • Would you be having temper tantrums on airplanes and kicking the seats in front of you?
  • Would you have unlimited energy that helps me get my full workout in every single day?
  • Would you love hanging out with your stepdad, Justin, and hearing him share his stories of how he was also premature and weighed less than 2 lbs when was born too?
  • Would you like your new apt in DC? Would we be at the park everyday and meet other #boymoms and setup playdates? 

I’m not sure. I’m not sure and I’ll never get to find out.

And I can be sad about that. We can be sad about that.

Missing you, and making space to miss you doesn’t diminish or take away all that is going well. It doesn’t make me an ungrateful person. You have a place in my life in the hard times, AND the good times. I wish you were here to experience all of this happiness with me, but also, thank you for reminding me to take space even when I think I don’t want to or don’t think I have time. Thank you for reminding me that grief is a journey, that sadness isn’t always bad. I don’t have to put myself on a timetable, or tell myself I can only grieve once, or twice a year.  Remembering you doesn’t have to stop when the “sad times” end, or because 3 years have passed.  I’ll always be your mom, and you’ll always be my son.  Thank you for reminding me about grief in the midst of joy.

I love you!

PS-  Nana brought a memory pin to carry in my dress so that you were a part of all the wedding festivities. I hope you enjoyed! “I will hold you in my heart until I hold you in heaven”. And your sister, ever practical, wanted to understand if indeed Nana had bought me a “memory bra”. She is such a funny teenager.

Kimberly Shavon - Shaydon was close to her heart ❤️

Shaydon was close to her heart ❤️

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