Twenty-three years ago today, at 5:43 pm EST, I gave birth to my first son, Joshua Gilbert McKinney. I sort of remember the day, but honestly most of it is a blur to me now. I sort of remember the early parts of the labor that was induced. I sort of remember the bliss of the epidural. I sort of remember the itching reaction to the drugs. I sort of remember the drowsiness of Benadryl given for the itching. I sort of remember starting to push…. but what I do remember with utter clarity is the first time I saw my son! He was 8.05 lbs. of fuzzy blonde perfection. I had him on a Tuesday, and we brought our little boy home on Thanksgiving Day. We went right to my parents’ house for dinner, and I felt so content and happy to have my new little baby home for the holiday. Having a second Thanksgiving baby made the holiday even more my favorite than it was before. I remember his outfit very well; he had a light blue and mint green one-piece fleece jumper with a little lion, monkey and giraffe on the front. His blue eyes stood out against the blue of the fabric; his blonde hair sticking up all over! How I remember that part very well. Sitting and holding him, I don’t really think I ate much of my meal. I was too full of love for that little boy. Over the years, through the many wonderful ups and terrible downs, Joshua and I always held a very special bond. He called me for everything. He called me to tell me about his problems and triumphs, his joys and his sorrows. He called to play me music. He called to ask for money. He called to share recipes. He called to see what I was cooking. A few times we even “cooked” together over the phone. No matter where he was, or where he traveled, we were always not more than a day or two from a conversation. This week, as we move into the Thanksgiving holiday, and upcoming holiday season, I stop to reflect on the day of Joshua’s birth. I miss him so much, now 137 days since his death. Some days, it is still so surreal and hard to believe. On those days, I look at the pictures I took of him before they took him away from me forever; the last time I saw his face, touched his hand, and kissed him goodbye; the day they cremated my son. Now he rests in a box, deep in the back of my closet, so I can try to forget that it all really happened. This dream I never can seem to wake from. And, I can just remember my son. My little boy. My fuzzy blonde perfection, now forever 22 years old. One Hundred Thirty Seven days ago, a part of my soul died with you. A part that will never heal. I will miss you always Joshua.
Happy Birthday; my heart will always sing for you.