I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook these days.
Actually, if I’m being honest, I’ve become pretty ambivalent about social media on the whole, mostly due to the fact that I have very little control when scrolling through social media over when I will or will not see something that triggers my grief. So, the best I can do is mostly stay off of it.
So, when someone asks me, “did you see (fill in the blank) on Facebook?” my answer lately has been no. I just can’t take the chance most days.
So, today, when Scott and I were walking back from the pool after a relaxing day with dear friends, I had a moment of weakness when the notification popped up letting me know that I had memories waiting: You have memories with Scott, Lyle, and 10 others to look back on today.
The date hadn’t registered.
I mean, the start of the month of June has been a little rocky, as we’re inching closer and closer to Alexander’s first birthday, coming up on the last month of the first year. There’s been a lot bouncing around in my head and heart these past few days, and I guess the date just hadn’t registered for me.
So, I scrolled through the list of memories to be bombarded (and a bit blindsided) by joy-filled photos.
One year ago.
“Overwhelmed by the love and joy of so many friends and family today in celebration of our sweet little monster on the way. Blessed to visit with people from so many seasons of our life and so thankful for the many ways that our little man is already so very loved. #babyshower #monsterseverywhere”
Along with other posts from friends and family sharing the joy and and love from last June 4. Our parents and friends threw the most wonderful baby shower for our sweet boy. He was so showered in love on that day.
I remember being surprised on that day by friends from high school and college who I hadn’t seen in years, people from previous congregations I had served, and so much love from family and friends up in Cleveland. It was such a joy-filled day of celebrating our little man. One that I wish I could go back to and relive in all of its innocence and laughter and smiles and joy.
Six years ago.
Six years ago, on June 4, 2011, I graduated with my M.Div. from Ashland Theological Seminary. We were in a crazy season of transition, as within one week, I graduated, had my last Sunday as the Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry at Parma Lutheran Church, and moved to Dayton to start my current call as the Director of Youth & Family Ministries at Epiphany Lutheran Church.
There was so much adventure on the horizon, and like any graduation, there was a sense of hope for the future. I wish I could go back and bottle up that hope and that joy and that sense of accomplishment so I could open it up today and just take a little whiff of it.
So, this day is a significant one. And it doesn’t surprise me that I got choked up during worship this morning as a couple with their two week old baby in worship for the first time were acknowledged and congratulated by our pastor, and that the past few days have been a little bit tougher emotionally.
I look back at those memories in my facebook feed, and I see those smiles. I see innocence. I see faces that have no idea what for better or worse will mean. I see hearts that are untouched by heartache.
Milestone days are hard.
Looking back now, all of those happy and joy-filled memories are colored by the grief that we have experienced in the past year. Everything looks different through the lens of child loss, and that is a lens that I will wear for the rest of my life.
And so, on this June 4, I am thankful for the hopefulness and the joy in those memories, but my heart aches for the new memories that we should be making this year on June 4. The memories that we should have been stacking up in these early weeks of summer.
Alexander’s first Memorial Day Weekend camping trip would have been last weekend.
Today, very well could have been his first trip to the pool.
Every little thing reminds me of that sweet boy. And, I imagine it will always be like that.
Oh, my sweet Alexander.
You are loved.
You are loved.
You are loved.