I spend so much time here talking about the awful things(and believe me there are a lot of them) but, if I'm truly honest, there have been some good things that have come out of losing Owen. Most days it is a stretch for me to see them but lately its been getting a little easier. Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy about any of this and given the choice I would give any of these back to have Owen here with us, but that's not an option and I am working really hard to deal with what is and not what might have been. So, in that spirit, I've been working on a list of things that have happened that I am thankful for. I guess these are blessings that Owen brought into my life.
First, JD- my husband, my lover, my friend, my partner, thank you for loving Owen as much as I do and not being afraid to show it. You speak of him naturally and without shame. I have never loved you more as a man than I did in the moment after I handed him to you for the first time. You looked at me, tears streaming down your face and whispered "Oh Ashleigh, he's beautiful." You still look at his picture and talk about him as your little guy. Thank you for being more, just more everything, everyday.
To my friend, A, thank you for being the kind of friend that everyone wants but few have. You have gone above and beyond for me time and again. Thank you for always saying the right thing, even when that's nothing at all. Thank you for listening to me talk about Owen and not once getting uncomfortable or making me uncomfortable. After Owen died, I asked you to find some books to help me talk to J about our loss. Not only did you do just that but, not being satisfied with what was out there, you sat down and wrote one yourself. There are no words to tell you how much that meant to me, how much that means to me. Thank you seems inadequate but, thank you.
To my dad, who when we called that awful Sunday afternoon responded only "I'm turning the car around right now. I'll be there as soon as I can."- thank you. Thank you for taking care of things for us in the first few hazy days. You made sure there was food in the fridge and clean clothes in our drawers. Thank you for taking care of all the details. Thank you for making all those awful phone calls. Thank you for allowing us to bury Owen with Mom. Thank you for knowing that was the only place I would feel safe leaving him.
To my oldest and dearest, A., thank you for sending that beautiful gown for Owen. Do you know that was the only gift he ever received? I'm glad it was from you. Thank you for having enough faith for both of us right now.
To my cousin M, at 18 you are more of a man than many 3 times your age. Thank you for taking care of J & K those first few days. You made sure they felt safe and happy, when the rest of the world was turned upside down. Thank you for coming to Owen's burial. Thank you for not being afraid of my tears. Thank you, I'm sure its not how you planned to spend your last few days home before leaving for college.
To the nurse who cared for me after Owen was born, thank you for treating us with kindness and dignity. Thank you for talking to Owen and fussing over him just as you would have if he were a live baby.
To the nurse who sent us Mrs B, thank you for knowing that the hospital chaplain wasn't right for this and sending us someone who was.
To Mrs. B, thank you for being with us in our terrible time. Thank you for caring for us- we were strangers to you and you stayed with us long into the night. Thank you for calling at 2 in the morning to check on me. Thank you for coming back to the hospital at 6 the next morning to be there when Owen was born. Thank you for dressing him and baptizing him for us. Thank you for sharing your own story of loss. You were a gift to us that night.
To D, the funeral director, thank you for letting me know as soon as you saw us that you had Owen. It helped to know where he was. Thank you for dressing him yourself and for crying when you told me you had.
To Dr. M, thank you for leading Owen's service even though we are not members of your church. Thank you for not preaching to us about God's will. Thank you for finding the perfect words to help us say goodbye to our son. Thank you for sharing that amazing story*(I'll share the story another time in another post), it helped me keep breathing.
To my brother, thank you for letting me cry on your shoulder the day we buried Owen. In your arms that day was the first time I felt safe enough to really let go.
To my sister in law, M, thank you for wanting to see Owen's picture. Thank you for insisting that your mother look too.
To my Mother-in-law, thank you for, after finally seeing Owen's pictures, having the courage to look me in the eye and say "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I just didn't understand."
To my friend C, thank you for reaching out. I know how hard that must have been for you. Your own catastrophic loss was so fresh, a lesser person would have hidden away, but you did not. Despite your own pain, you have gently guided me down this path. I am thankful to have you.
And to Owen, thank you for opening my eyes. I love you always.