Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Do One Good Thing for Hudson’s Fifth Birthday
Five. In five days, Hudson should be turning five. This birthday feels bigger, more momentous somehow than birthdays past—unfathomable. It is our fourth without her—unfathomable. We’d be getting ready to send her to kindergarten next fall—unfathomable.
It occurred to me this morning that for the first time since she was born, her birthday falls on Thanksgiving weekend. She was born the Monday after Thanksgiving in 2008. When I left my office on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I did some wrapping up and packing up, because I just had a feeling that I might not be back. It was an odd hunch, because she was not due to arrive until December 10, and first babies are not necessarily famous for coming early. But my hunch was right, and I woke up early on the Sunday after Thanksgiving with regular contractions that increased over the course of the day. She was born at 7:19 the next morning.
And here we are. Five years later. Another Thanksgiving weekend. Another birthday. But no Hudson.
I wrote at this time last year that she felt farther away from me than ever. This year, she feels closer than she has in a long time. That is what grief does to you. What it does for you. I have felt the weight of my grief more acutely in the last few months than I have in a long time. On Friday night, I cried myself to sleep for the first time in as long as I can remember (and woke up the next morning with the accompanying intense ache behind my eyeballs that makes me wish I never had to open my eyes again). And because I feel closer to my grief, I feel closer to my girl. Such an strange ebb and flow.
But here we are at another birthday. Last year, we had to find some new One Good Things to do in honor of Hudson’s life now that we live in our old home again. We again took toys and treats to the animal shelter, and instead of taking toys and books to the children’s hospital here, we opted instead to give them to the Ronald McDonald House nearby. And we made our annual donation to the National Arboretum, where Hudson’s bench and a very tiny portion of her ashes remain (the only portion that is separated from the rest, which sit in a ceramic jar on my bedside table). We’ll do these same things again this year, to celebrate Hudson’s life in ways that we know honor the wonderful spirit that she was and the things that she loved and the people who cared for her in her last hours. Thanksgiving weekend seems like an especially lovely time to do these things in her memory.
As we have in years past, we also invite you to do One Good Thing sometime this week or on December 1st. And please share with anyone else you know who might want to help us celebrate her life in this special way. And as in years past, if you are so inclined, we would love to hear from you about your One Good Thing, so feel free to leave a comment here about it.
I will end the way I always have: We can’t stop it from coming. We can’t bring Hudson back. But in the spirit of the lesson she taught us, we can continue to help her light shine in the world by finding the One Good Thing, and this week, that means doing One Good Thing. Thank you all so much.