When I get sad, I get quiet. Apparently, that also applies to my writing.
However, I would love to share what we did on Caroline’s special day, March 26th.
We live quite a distance from our family and many friends, so we asked that they help us celebrate by sharing pictures of their sunrises. We woke up to see the sunrises for our girl who so loved to be outside in the sun. It was the perfect way to remember Caroline.
Both my husband and I took the day off from work to be together. I had plans to wake up at Caroline’s time of birth (5:48am) to take my own sunrise picture, but unfortunately we had a rainy day and it could not be done. Instead, we slept in and woke up to Caroline’s sunrises from across the country.
Some of our sunrises:
We decided to go out to brunch together. At brunch, we let our emotions wash over us and talked about the day that Caroline entered this world. We are so thankful for the happy memories that we made with our little miracle.
Another way that we celebrated Caroline’s birthday was with random acts of kindness. At brunch, an older woman came in alone and sat at a table across from us. We decided to pay for her lunch in Caroline’s memory.
Friends and family participated in the random acts of kindness too, which was one of my favorite parts of Caroline’s birthday.
Some messages we received:
“This morning I watched an exhausted mother of three small children struggle to juggle her responsibilities and her sanity. While she tried desperately to find her wallet within her huge diaper bag, I quietly paid for her items. Happy Birthday, Caroline!”
“Caroline is still bringing so much joy! She made my coworkers VERY happy while working on report cards! Happy birthday!!”
“Happy Birthday, Caroline!! I have your picture hanging up in my room as a reminder of what pure love is and to cherish and remember our loved ones every day. I remember talking about you with your mom and watching her smile as she shared your baby books with me. I wanted to buy a stranger a coffee today in the drive through, but since no one was behind me, I left a gift card and told the cashier about your sweet 1st birthday party, and why I was paying it forward. He was really inspired to do the same! You continue to touch people’s lives, Caroline!”
After brunch, we went to the nearby grocery store to pick up supplies for Caroline’s special day. We went in intending to only get a cake, but we emerged with a cake, a fresh bouquet of flowers, a “Frozen” Happy Birthday balloon with Elsa and Anna, and a pink balloon to release for our sweetheart. You only have a first birthday once, right?
We came home and set the flowers and balloon by Caroline’s urn. We again gave ourselves time to feel what we needed to feel. That afternoon, we wrote letters to Caroline and attached them to our pink balloon. We released the balloon for our special lady.
I then did the one thing that I had specifically planned to do. I read through my journal of our time with Caroline since her diagnosis. I laughed and I cried. I plan to do this every year on her birthday to make sure I remember it all.
That evening, we celebrated with the cake we had bought earlier. We even broke out the party hats that we had purchased for Caroline’s one-month birthday.
Overall, it was a very emotional day. On the one hand, we remember Caroline’s birth day so fondly because we had no idea if she would even be born alive, and we experienced the miracle of her live birth. On the other hand, it was so sad and so hard to not be able to celebrate with her. I imagine she would have gotten frosting all over her face and been full of giggles if she was still physically with us.
Thank you to everyone who shared memories of Caroline and let us know that we were not the only ones to remember her special day. Sometimes the best gift to a grieving parent is to let them know that they are not grieving alone.
We ended the day by saying a prayer together for Caroline. We cannot wait to see her again someday. We love you, we love you, we love you, our strong, wonderful daughter, Caroline. Happy first birthday!