Dearest Family and Friends-
I cannot believe that it has been 8 weeks since Blake was born... on one hand it feels like just yesterday, especially when the heartache comes in a wave that feels fresh and raw. And on the other hand, it feels like I have walked for years with this grief, and am ready for it to go ahead and pass on by. And the truth is just somewhere in the middle... this journey has been way longer than 8 weeks, and yet it is only just the beginning. The grief and heartache will always come in waves. We are also finding that there is no such thing as "back to normal"- there is only a new normal. This new normal has whole new levels of sadness, but also whole new levels of thankfulness for what we do have. It has our happiness and joy based in something so much deeper than our circumstances, and for that I will always be grateful. Rob and I are good- with our good and bad days like everyone, but have continued to be able to love one another as we learn about the grieving process daily. Jane is doing great as well. Her little life has carried on normally, thank goodness. We talk about our Baby Blake pretty often, and I feel that she understands as best a 2 (almost 3!) year old can. As painful as his memory can be, it's also so sweet, and I love getting to talk about him with her.
Thank you for the ways you have continued to love us. For the countless cards that showed up in our mailbox, telling us you were thinking of and praying for us. For the hundreds of texts and emails reminding us of how loved we are and how you are continuing to carry us. For all of the meals and treats you have provided- making that one less thing I had to think about (and one more reason I needed to start running again :)). Just thanks for loving us, and helping us feel as normal as possible. We thank God for the people who love us every day.
Since before Blake was even born, I would think about how exactly we would honor him if he passed away. How do you honor a life that was SO short yet so precious? And how would we do it in a way that felt true to who we are and the journey we are on? What in the world do you do to signify/celebrate/mourn the most significant event in our lives? After we met our precious son, and then said good bye to him less than 24 hours later, it became a real thing we had to think about. Instead of rushing into planning something, we just decided that we were going to wait. In my mind, whatever we did was going to be when it was springtime, when things were turning green again. And just wait until it felt right....
Which brings us to now... even as I write this, there is a warm spring rain going on outside, and will probably stick around all week. The days are longer (can I get an Amen! for Daylight Savings Time?!), and I feel all the sunshine and new life are just around the corner.
On Sunday, March 29th, Rob and I would like to invite anyone who wants to join us for a simple and sweet memorial for our Blake. We are planning to have it at Shelby Bottoms Greenway in Shelby Bottoms Park. There is a trail here that we would like to take a little walk around as a group.... a small way to signify the "journey" we have been on and will continue to be on, and that we are not doing it alone but with a precious community of family and friends around us. During this walk, we want to all have time to think of and remember our precious Blake, and hope to scatter some native Tennessee wildflower seeds in his honor. After the walk, we plan to plant a couple of small trees in the children's "Nature Play" area in Blake's honor. I love the thought of spreading seeds, and planting things in his honor. It seems so appropriate to me in so many ways... signifying hope, new life, and growth. I also love that this is happening in a park that we spend time in often. Rob and I both love to walk and run there, and take Jane there often to play. I love that we can see trees and flowers there, and they will always remind us of Blake and allow us to talk about him together with so much sweetness. And also that the people in our community that have all been impacted by his life, can always go here to think of him and celebrate his life.
Being outside, even on the coldest, iciest days, has been a huge part of my healing. It gives me space to think, and remember how small I am, and how very big my God is. It always helps me center myself, and remember the things I find to be true and important. I love that we get to honor our son's memory in the outdoors, and in a park that is so near our home,and such a regular part of our life. It has already been so sweet to put thought into and plan this special day, and we are really looking forward to celebrating his life in this way. We hope you can join us.
A couple of logistics... 10:00 am on Sunday, March 29th, we will meet outside the Nature Play area (rain or shine... though you can go ahead and pray for some shine!). We will then walk the 1.25 mile paved loop together, so wear comfy shoes, and feel free to bring strollers if needed. We only have a couple of trees to plant, but please feel free to stick around and help do that, as well as let the kids play and hang out.
As much as we want every single person we love, near and far, to make it, we know that's impossible. We absolutely get it if you have something already going on that morning, or why you can't buy a cross country plane ticket on a 2 week notice :). We know you will be there in spirit and thinking of Blake right along with us.
All our love,
Rob and Lara