10.25.2010

He Would Be Twelve



Every year we visit the grave of John's firstborn son, Johnathon Wayne.
We visit several times per year, but we always make sure and visit around the end of October. Because he was born on October 18th, 1998, and he passed away on November 9th, 1998. We want to visit his grave around his birthday, around the time of the year that he was here on earth.
It's kind of awkward to be the step-mother of a baby who passed away. I feel like if I include him when discussing "our" children, I am seeking sympathy for something that did not happen to me.
However, I feel that it's wrong to exclude him.

Recently, I asked John, "If someone asks you how many children you have, what is your answer?" and he immediately said "Five". My three, and both of his sons, living and in heaven.
But what makes it awkward for me is that if I say "we" have five, and then go on to explain that John's firstborn son passed away shortly after his birth, I feel as though I'm laying claim to a loss that wasn't mine. I never met Johnathon Wayne. Although I grieve for my husband's pain, and for what might have been, I didn't suffer that loss and I can't even fathom how it truly feels.
I'm not asking for answers here....are there really any answers?
Another thing that is awkward is that "Baby JW" would be twelve now. We still refer to him as "the baby". In the beginning, around his birthday, we would leave Hot Wheels cars or other toys on his grave. But what do you leave for a twelve year old? What would he like now? How do we do this? Is he twelve, or is he three weeks old forever?
I'm reading a book right now, a memoir by a woman who lost her first son. He was stillborn. Reading her point of view makes me think about the loss of Baby JW even more than I normally would at this time of year, and think about it from a mother's perspective. Reading her story gives me insight into what John went through. He doesn't talk about it much, and even when he does, it's hard for him to express those kinds of feelings.
I just want to make sure to never forget Baby JW, not even for a moment, and to never exclude him in a way that would hurt John. He has hurt enough.



15 comments:

blueviolet said...

Even though it's awkward, it's still very touching that you always include him. :)

One Pork Chop said...

You're a wonderful person. This was a very touching post and a wonderful tribute to Jonathan Wayne. Even though he wasn't yours biologically, he is still yours since he was a part of your husband.

Mrs4444 said...

I agree with blueviolet, and I totally get the part about not wanting to lay claim to a loss that feels weird to "own." As for what to put on his grave, I guess it depends on what you believe, but I believe that after our loved ones leave, they have want for nothing; he is in heaven, after all. Instead of an object, maybe a letter? That way, you could express what is in your hearts, which is probably what is behind the gift anyway, right?

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

Love his answer. Praying for all of you...

diane rene said...

I am so sorry for John's loss and the pain you carry for him.

while I understand the confusion in owning a loss that isn't yours, I also understand (as I know you do too) that the love for a child does not come bound by blood. while you didn't experience the loss first hand, you grieve with your husband over a child that you love because he was a part of John.

hubby and I too answer the question, "how many children do you have?" in whole. we have four. his, hers, ours and little slice of pie. the people who need to know will understand, and no one else matters.

Brandy@YDK said...

It sounds like you are handling the situation in a good way. Especially keeping your husbands feelings in consideration

Crystal Escobar said...

That is so sad, but that books sounds very interesting. What a great way to be able to understand your husband a little better. I couldn't imagine how hard something like that would be.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I understand the awkwardness but I know that your heart can feel the pain the your husband has been through. I think reading the book is a great way for you to try to relate is his loss. Being supportive and visiting his grave is a wonderful way to remember him.

C said...

cyndy, i would go with whatever john is comfortable with. if he immediately said 5 kids, it sounds like thats how he wants to refer to that question. no, the baby isnt yours biologically but you are still connected as you are johns wife now, and everything that he comes with. its all about love. be there for him [i know you are] and pray with him for JW's little soul in heaven. it's all you can do honey. i dont know if they remain the same age as when they die, i guess i'll find out someday, but it's ok to still think of him as a baby because thats what he was when he left here. as far as what to give a 12 year old boy, all i could think of is letters... both of you write whatevers in your heart and maybe read it to him, then burn the paper at gravesite. material things no longer matter and a message of love can be felt wherever he is. your husband has been SO faithful, SO loving, in visiting him all these years. i think there comes a point where honoring him can change form and still have all the love and emotions.. you are not laying claim to a heartbreak you didnt have. feeling sadness for john is sharing in his grief as his wife and a loveing human being... and honey you need not fear ever forgeting JW, it just wont ever happen. you are both such loving people. everyone handles things like this in their own way and there is no right or wrong way to do so. it just is what it is. i hear some guilt in your post and you've no need to feel guilt, you didnt do anything wrong. you ARE NOT seeking sympathy! it's a very sad thing that he died. no one could of prevented this tragedy, yet you are in control of how you live with it. it's all about love... god bless your little guardian angel JW.

Kirby3131 said...

My birthday is Oct. 18th. How lovely that he came into this world on that date. I think you should do what feels right to you - we all celebrate, grieve, remember and reflect differently. I think all that really matters is that you love your husband, your children (all of them) and that you care. That's pretty great if you ask me :)

Kristin - THe Goat

shortmama said...

I cant even imagine that kind of pain. And though you may not be able to "claim" the loss, you still hurt for your husband

April said...

May you always remember and never forget the life that was...and all that could have been. What a wonderful, heart-warming post...THANK YOU!

Unknown Mami said...

I think you are doing a great job of including him.

♥ Kathy said...

Yeah, I'm crying. October 8th was my sons birthday. He would be 9 now. When people ask me about my children I tell them that I had 4, two boys and two girls but my youngest boy passed away. I'm not looking for sympathy either but I couldn't bear acting like he never was.

Myya said...

What a beautiful expression of love, sympathy & thoughtfulness to include him the way that you do. I am sure you husband appreciates it all.