Many of you already know that we celebrated our daughter’s birthday a mere two days ago—without her here. And yes, we did actually celebrate. 🙂 It wasn’t the easiest day out of the year, but Kenny and I both agreed that we had an extremely good day remembering our precious girl.
I know that, for some of you, anniversaries and birthdays can prove an extremely difficult time. You might choose to push away the memories or pour out your sadness on these days. To some degree, these hard reactions may be necessary for you to heal. Maybe you’re not ready for a celebration yet.
Are You Missing Out?
At the same time, though, I would like to propose that you might be missing out on some special memories. Kenny and I like to think of the day as a celebration of our daughter’s life, rather than a memory of her tragic death.
For us, this day was the one that God allowed us to meet our little one and the one in which He brought her to Himself. From this viewpoint, Hadassah’s birthday should definitely be a celebration! So, instead of locking ourselves in the house with boxes of tissues, we chose to go out and enjoy the beautiful day.
How We Celebrated
First of all, Kenny and I both planned to have the day off for Hadassah’s birthday. We knew that we might get emotional, and we also knew that we might just like to enjoy the memories. Even though this week turned out to be seriously busy for both of us, we took the day to relax and forget (mostly) about our week’s work.
Of course, we started the day by sleeping in and eating a nice breakfast that I would not normally have time to make. We did have to pick up our groceries, but even this activity set the happy tone for the day. While we were out, we picked up a bouquet of pink roses for later.
A Peaceful Visit
Once all the shopping was done, we grabbed a children’s book and the roses and headed to the scenic area where Hadassah was buried. We almost always bring a book to read when we go see her.
I think the tradition started because Kenny absolutely loves reading out loud, especially to little kids. Now, our precious girl gets to hear him read enthusiastically to her whenever we visit.
After we decorated the grassy area with the beautiful roses, we drove to a nearby coffee shop for some celebratory coffee. Here, Kenny and I stayed a while, working through our current classic reads.
Somehow, our walks on the boardwalk and stops for coffee in this lovely area always makes me feel closer to our daughter. I adore the frolicking wind that usually rustles through pensive trees and arouses the waves nearby. A few hours went by, and we finally made our way home for the evening.
Stirring up memories
Next, we dolloped our day with quesadillas, fresh pear crisp, and ice cream. Of course, we had to throw in an animated movie somewhere since Kenny is a videographer. We laughed and cried our way through Inside Out (again!).
Then came the memories. Kenny and I quietly looked through Hadassah’s memory box, stuffed with keepsakes and cards that people had given to us. We saw many ultrasounds and pictures that we haven’t looked at in quite a while, and we stopped to brush away a few tears. I think this part of the day turned into the most emotional part; but we were reminded of all the prayers, love, and support that people gave us throughout our trial.
Throughout our daughter’s first birthday, we had many enjoyable moments, including laughs at the coffee shop and a surprise visit from caring friends. Once again, God showed His comfort, goodness, and love, and He graciously helped us to actually enjoy what could have been an extremely difficult day.