Wednesday, June 15, 2011

{Keeping His Memory Alive}

Gavin's 5th Birthday-1

I know many people look at our life and wonder how and why we do the things we do, in regards to Gavin's death.  Somehow in our culture the idea of death and the concept of celebrating those who have died is so taboo.  Throw in the the idea of the death being that of a child's and it's deemed unmentionable. Our family is determined not to let what looks culturally normal to define the our family.  Gavin will always be a member of our family and he will always be celebrated -- never pushed under the rug.

Gavin's 5th Birthday-4

Gavin's 5th Birthday-5

Another reason we choose to keep Gavin memories alive in very real and physical way is for Madison.  Although at times I think little ones understand way better the idea of death and are able to simply accept it way more than adults -- truth is children need tangible ways to mourn and remember.

Yesterday we did just that.  

Gavin's 5th Birthday-2

I had been wondering lately just how Madison is doing.  Adam and I have both realized that she is starting to forget the details of Gavin life.  Even though this is a sad reality for me as a mother to watch -- it simply means she is growing up and healing.  But, I've sensed that along with her memories fading comes in a bit of confusion and frustration for her six year old mind.  I can't imagine what it's like for her little heart and mind -- knowing she is sad yet starting to forget the details that made her so sad.  We as her parent walk a thin line -- giving her words to her feelings yet not pushing our feelings onto her.

Gavin's 5th Birthday-7

Gavin's 5th Birthday-6

At one point in the morning was her breaking point.  I knew she was really struggling with her feelings as she was acting out and really just out of control.  Then I gave her some words like, I feel sad and I miss Gavin -- and then the tears and healing came.

Gavin's 5th Birthday-9

Yesterday was an amazing day.  Spending some time as a family at Gavin's grave -- all being together and just simply being.  Not a lot of words, yet the unspoken spoke so loudly.  Thank you all for your unending support.  Thanks for loving our children and walking this journey with us.

7 comments:

Mark Lopa said...

I think you are doing everything you do perfectly. I think Gavin would like it, too. Your three children are very lucky to have you and Adam as their parents.

Amy said...

Karen,
Thank you for sharing Gavin's birthday with us! Your photos continue to melt my heart!
Amy

amy said...

Thank you for sharing your day with us. Your photos continue to melt my heart!
-Amy

JayCee said...

What a great post.....so honest and enlightening. You have a terrific family!
BTW, you look FABULOUS in those pix!)

Reagan Leigh said...

Gavin will always hold a special place in my heart...Happy Birthday Beautiful boy!!!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with celebrating even after a loved one has gone to heaven. When my dad died, my kids & my sis-in-law & her 2 kids went out to the cemetery--ate birthday cake at the gravesite & sang him 'Happy Birthday'. Got alot of strange looks but we didn't care.

Julie Hoffman said...

My eleven year old son, Peyton went to live in heaven on March 19, 2010. We have celebrated both his 12th and 13th birthdays with his friends, from the class of 2016 who love and adore him. Peyton suffered from a neurotransmitter disorder and lived his life in a wheelchair and had very little words, but was very smart and always was smiling. He touched so many... I think the way you are grieving and celebrating Gavin's life is SUPER!!! I spend lots of time at the cemetery and almost feel better there than anywhere else. Thanks for sharing your story! Julie Hoffman