To Tattoo, Or Not To Tattoo

I’m not a tattoo guy. Never have been. Not that I dislike them, I’ve just always known that if I were to ever get one, there would have to be a really REALLY good reason for it.

Then came the really REALLY good reason.

Very soon after we were told that Simon’s heart stopped, I thought I would need a way to memorialize him, to take him with me. I knew that a tattoo would be a way to do that. I had it designed in my head, I told people of my idea, and I had a good reason. Yes, it would be hard to answer the questions when people asked about the name on my arm, but it would give me a chance to talk about Simon. About my son.

So I went to the tattoo shop and got some ideas sketched out.

IMG_0764.jpg

I loved it. I scheduled an appointment. I was ready to go.

Then.

Then I got home, and Nolan IMMEDIATELY told me to “wash off the numbers NOW, daddy.” And I got worried. Worried that he’d hate it, worried that he’d resent it. Just worried.

Most of all, I worried about what Nolan would think if Simon’s name was on my arm forever, and his wasn’t. What would that do to his little two-year-old brain? The last thing I wanted to do was make Nolan jealous of the little brother he’d never meet.

Then, just a couple of days before my appointment, I changed my mind for good. I couldn’t do the tattoo I had wanted since we heard the news. I couldn’t put Simon’s name on my arm so people would ask me about him and so I could talk about him. I couldn’t do it.

IMG_1083.jpg

SO I did this instead.

Now I have Simon’s name AND Nolan’s name forever with me. When people ask, I get to talk about my boys. When I am thinking about my boys (as I do incredibly often) I can look down at my arm and I know that they are both with me, everyday everyday, always and always.

How Am I Doing? Well…

This was the text today from my wife.

IMG_8248 copy.jpg

She’s really good at checking in, and really good at knowing the exact right moment to ask me this question. And she also completely understands when this is how the conversation continues…

IMG_8248.jpg

It’s the question we get all the time. And sometimes I answer “I’m OK”, and sometimes that’s almost the truth. Then there are days like today. Today sucked. It was hard as hell to make it through work. And I try to figure out why, and I realize that the fact is, there is no real answer.

It was hard because our son died.

It was hard because while I was getting updates on Nolan’s trip to the park and his cuddle session with mommy I WASN’T getting updates on how Simon’s naps were today or if he was eating, or pooping, or…whatever.

Every day is hard. Some days I just don’t have those little everyday thoughts pop into my head as much that remind me of what we’re missing. What we’re missing is utterly devastating, and I can’t imagine a life when it ceases to be so.

Every moment we don’t have what we were so close to having, what we SHOULD have is hard.

So I shut myself in my edit bay a couple more times than normal today to cry. And I ran a little faster at lunch to try to sweat out some of the pain (and to try to beat the impending rain). And I did my best.

But today was hard. And it won’t be the last time. I hope in time that days like today will be easier to manage, but I know they won’t stop. Because we’ll never have Simon.

To Tera on Mother’s Day

You’re stronger than you should ever need to be.

Your tears and grief show the absolute, unending love that you have, and will always have for Simon. They show your heartbreak and your emptiness. Your longing for our situation to change. To go back in time to before the worst, most painful night of our lives.

I, we, have dreamed of the day that we would celebrate you as the mother of our two children. And today we do. That makes the heartbreak even more real and even more raw not having one of them to hold, to dote on, to care for on YOUR day.

This Mother’s Day is a reminder of what we don’t have.

IMG_0891.JPG

But it’s also a reminder of what we do.

I’ll never forget the night that you became a mother. 29 hours of labor. An epidural that didn’t work at all. Nearly two hours of pushing, finally a crying baby, and I told you we have a little boy.

As Nolan sleeps in his crib I know what we have. And because I know what we have (and what we have is a truly amazing little boy who loves his mommy everyday everyday, so much), I also know what we don’t have. We don’t have the family we were so ready for. We don’t have Simon.

Today, Nolan, Simon and I celebrate you because even though today isn’t what you wanted or what we should have, it is still a day to celebrate your strength, your love for your boys (all three of us) and most importantly you…the love of my life and the best mom Nolan and Simon could ever want.

Hopefully Simon knew that. I truly believe he did.

Simon’s Nursery

The nursery.

That damn nursery.

The room where I worked my ass off to make sure it was perfect.

There’s so much that dads CAN’T do during a pregnancy, and so much we have absolutely no control over.

But then there’s the nursery. The room where I added one more coat of paint to the dresser to make sure it was perfect. Because that’s what I COULD do. I could get a room ready. I could get the furniture just right and measure and mark to hang the pictures Tera picked out and framed. I could make it the absolute perfect place for our little one to sleep, to play, to grow.

The crib, all the furniture, the bookshelves, even the books are all still there, but now it’s empty.

It’s also the room where Nolan brought his tools to help me assemble the crib, where we worked SO hard to make sure Nolan was as ready as humanly possible to be a big brother. It’s where I sat thinking, dreaming, about what it was going to be like to have our two kids running around and playing.

IMG_0935 (1).JPG

And now it’s empty.

And I can’t go in.

I knew before we came home from the hospital that I wasn’t going to be able to go in Simon’s room. I didn’t really know why, but now I understand. It’s full of the clothes Simon was going to wear. We made signs to hang on the wall that my grandpa, Simon’s GREAT grandpa helped me finish up. They’re still hanging on the wall, but Simon never got the chance to see them or learn the story that makes them so much more than just some homemade signs.

I love that nursery. It turned out perfectly.

I love Simon’s room.

And I can’t go in.