One of the hardest things about making the move to Arizona, was the thought of being so far away from the resting place of our firstborn. We know that he's not really there, but it feels good to be able to have a place to go and visit, and reminisce, and celebrate, and dream, and hope, and also to just empty our tears...
To lessen the pain of being so far away, we decided that every year on Isaac's birthday, we'd come back to that special place, and have a little memorial/birthday party in his honor. Sadly, for a number of reasons, we weren't able to make it up this year. Our hearts were broken because we wouldn't be there to commemorate his 3rd birthday. However, we did the best we could, being 700 miles away, to honor and remember him that day. John made a birthday cake, and the three of us sang Happy Birthday to him. Then, after putting Ruby down for the night, we pulled his special box down from one of the shelves in the garage and rummaged through all the painful memories and broken dreams. The little outfits that we had excitedly purchased when we found out we were having a boy. The baseball decorations that would adorn his nursery. The pajamas with matching cap and blanket from grandma Judy. The teeny tiny shoes that grammy and grandpa Pitts had given us as a congratulatory gesture. The giraffe blanket that we paid way too much money for...
And then the scraps from the satin white blanket that we buried him in, and photos of us holding him in our arms, and the guestbook from his funeral, and copies of his obituary, and the tonka truck and baseball that were left on his headstone for his (would be) first birthday...and all the other painful reminders...reminders that he's not here. In that box we also found a cassette tape of his graveside service. It had been 3 years since we had listened to it so we went out and played it in the car (the only tape deck that we have), and cried, and cried, and cried as we remembered all too clearly the day we placed his body into the cold hard ground. I remember during that time feeling like I would never be able to smile again. I literally felt like my world had come crashing down, and that it would never be the same again. Well, although I have gone on to enjoy life, and to smile, and laugh; I was right about one thing...my world isn't the same as it was before. That very event changed the course of my life forever...but it changed for the better. I know that I am the person I am today because of the trials that I have experienced. They have made me better, and stronger, and more able to empathize with others who are hurting from a loss in their lives. Plus, the thought of being able to raise our Isaac someday, makes me want to try harder, love deeper, live fuller, and be better in every way.
Because we weren't able to make it up to the grave this year, our families made a point to go in our stead. My dad and step mom went up on his birthday, along with three of my sisters, my brother-in-law, and nephew. John's mom, two brothers, sister-in-law, and two nephews, went up the following day to pay their respects. I can't even express how grateful I am to have such loving and supportive families. My dad was literally a rock and pillar to us all during the days and weeks before and after our loss. John's brother, Paul, did so much, too. My mother-in-law put over two thousand miles on her car during the two weeks that I was hospitalized, driving to and from Provo and Salt Lake. Our siblings came and visited, brought gifts, offered prayers, provided words of encouragement and hope, smiled for us, cried with us. I couldn't have made it though those couple of weeks without the love and support of our families. And still, three years later, I am so grateful for everything they did, and continue to do for us.
My dad and sister, Kim, have been learning to play the bagpipes for the past two years now, so last week when they visited the grave, they played together in Isaac's honor. They filmed the whole thing for us, and sent a copy of the DVD. I was in tears as I watched their beautiful offering to us and to our son. I hope that as you watch it, you will be touched as well. I added some pictures from some of our previous graveside celebrations and put them to a beautiful song written by John's cousin, Lauri. The song is entitled Thinking of You from her album, A Mother's Heart, and was dedicated to the memory of our little Isaac Joshua.
I also want to thank so many of our dear friends for sharing in our pain and sorrow, and for being there to ease our burdens. Bryce and Diana made us a CD of the graveside service so we never again will have to go out to our car to listen to it. Thanks you guys. We love you.
Also, we have a wonderful friend from the ward we were in at the time, who wrote this poem for us just after our loss. I read it often as it brings me so much comfort and peace.
I had never thought about this before...that for as many times as we have prayed for our sweet Isaac, he is most likely praying for us too.
God bless, our sweet little Isaac...oh how we love and miss you.