Tuesday was my son Charlie's birthday, and if he hadn't died, he would now be 2. Sometimes I tell people that it's the "anniversary of his birthday", or that it "would be his birthday", so they don't expect him to be alive, but for me, it IS his birthday.
We decided to celebrate fairly quietly, but I DID want to celebrate... acknowledging Charlie is extremely important to us.
The day before, I went to buy the last of the decorations, and then on Tuesday our plan was to visit the cemetery in the afternoon, and have a dessert picnic with family and friends in the evening.
|Pookie helping bring home the birthday balloons.|
To help remember Charlie himself and not just the terror and pain and heartbreak, it is important to me to memorialize Charlie. For me, this includes having family around us, and remembering it as a birthday and not just a death-day, including having birthday decorations and birthday cake.
Hubby took the day off work, and we had a leisurely morning, spending time with each other and not rushing. We decided to eat lunch out, and then drove to the cemetery, which is unfortunately about a 45 minute drive from home. It's a lovely historic cemetery with many former mayors and other big families from the town I grew up in, and the front half of the cemetery has many graves from the 1800s. Charlie is further back in the cemetery, actually in a section with many people I grew up with in my church, scouts, and community. I feel like Charlie is with friends and family. He is also close to the river that flows along the back of the cemetery, which is lovely.
|Me decorating. There is a sash that says "It's My Birthday", and pinwheels, and I'm hanging up some ribbon that says "Happy Birthday". You can see Pookie sitting on the blanket with the presents, and the cooler has flowers.|
|The decorations from our perspective on the blanket. When I bought the sash, the sales lady asked, "there's a birthday coming up?" I just said, "yes."|
|After I finished all the decorating, including some roses. The rest of the flowers were for later.|
|The flowers for later.|
|This was Pookie's outfit :) He's sort of Charlie's avatar, so despite the fact that we didn't get Pookie till months later, we consider this to be Pookie's birthday too.|
|A beautiful art print from my best friend. She understands how Charlie will always be a part of our life. I cried....|
|A lovely tiger's eye necklace made by my aunt! She remembered that tigers are our symbol for Charlie.|
|A new pendant for Charlie's beaded name banner, from my sister.|
|Here's a picture from after I put the new "feather" on.|
|Here's a picture Hubby took of me, as we hung out with Charlie.|
visitor. The year we buried Charlie we saw many little blue
dragonflies, so the dragonfly is a secondary symbol of Charlie, for us.
This guy was a little bigger, but it still reminded us of Charlie and
made us smile.|
|Pookie hanging out with us, after unpacking gifts.|
|Pookie and the new tiger getting to know each other.|
|See the little blooms drifting?|
|The flowers drifting downstream. We weren't sure if they would get caught along the bank, but most of them did manage to get to the current.|
|Packing up. We had to be careful with timing, to fit in dinner and be on time to the park where we were planning a birthday picnic.|
|Pookie helping pack up! He's guarding all the presents in the basket.|
We then went to the local park, and expected a few family members and a friend or two.
|Pookie claiming a table.|
|He decided to hold the balloon for us.|
|Our cake. Almost forgot to get a picture!|
|Pookie after we got home. I was super tired by this point - emotion, mostly.|
I also want to share 2 pictures of a memorial garden from where I once worked. A person from there shared these pictures with me, and remembered that tigers were our thing: the little tiger hung out at the memorial garden for Charlie's whole birthday:
|The other new tiger we got :)|
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