Every year, Daniel's sisters coordinate for all the grandkids to get together, and they do a picture and gift it to their parents.
Last year... well last year I don't know what happened. I was 5 months out from losing Alexander when (I'm guessing) the coordinating was being done... and one day in August I saw a picture of 6 grandchildren in matching outfits (the girls were wearing dresses with a floral print, and the 2 boys were wearing white tops and blue shorts), including a 1 and half month old chubby little baby boy, front and center.
I wouldn't say my heart felt like it was ripped out. No. I already felt like that on a daily basis. It felt like the wind got knocked out of me. It was one of the first (among many) things that I physically saw Alexander left out of. Not because there was a rift between me and other family members... not because we were away on holidays when the photo was being organized... no. It's because he was dead. I didn't even know that this act of organizing and taking a picture was being done.. and then POW, all of a sudden I see them all, together, one missing, framed and smiling.
ah, it was tough.
This year, I was emailed in July asking about outfits, and time and places for the picture. I was happy that I had Theodore to be part of the picture... but I know that one boy would still be missing. No matter how many of my living children are able to make the photo op, one little man will always be missing.
This was the picture from this year.
8 grandchildren. One missing.
Alexander would have been 3 and half months older than that little boy sitting next to his grandfather. Instead, there is little Theodore. Propped up on his Nonno's knee.
One day a few weeks ago, one of Daniel's sisters asked me if I saw their father's truck recently. They got those cute decals to go on the back.
"It's of all the grandkids - it was the second half of the anniversary present"
I hasn't noticed. I didn't see it. And I didn't want to either.
I said, "No, I must have missed it" and nervously smiled, trying to hide the fact that my heart was breaking as we casually chit chatted about all the grandchildren.
And then, face.book had me take notice whether I liked it or not.
My throat closed, and my heart warmed and ached all at once.
One of Daniel's sisters had a comment below...
He was included.
I wanted to go to the back of the truck and touch that little baby. Kiss his face and tell him how much I miss him.
But I know he's not in that decal. I know he's still dead. And I am crushed with these evident facts. But I was so happy to see my boy, lined up with all of his cousins.
And I was so touched by Daniel's sisters for including Alexander.