Today there was a mass at the cemetery for families who have buried children over the last year. We got to the small chapel and sat down. AJ is at the age where he's learning if he does the opposite of what we're asking (ie. whipersing instead of shouting to hear his echo) he gets attention. The mass had barely started and Nick went outside with him. Nick ended up missing the whole thing. I felt terrible. I so wanted them to be there as I went up and lit the candle when they called Ryan's name and gave me his ornament. Sometimes it's hard to grieve while AJ is around. I wanted so badly to have that time to site and reflect and focus on Ryan and there AJ was causing a ruckus. It left me and Nick angry for a while but I guess it's something we need to learn to balance. Looking back we should have just gotten a sitter but AJ is usually good when we go out so we didn't even thing about it. Next time.
While we were there I was looking at the program they handed out. All of the children's name's were printed in it. I recognized 3 or 4 from the section that Ryan is buried. One name stuck out though and the family was right in front of us. I knew he was buried just 2 spots down from Ryan but there was something else. I couldn't figure out why I knew the name. All of a sudden it hit me. Sitting in front of me was one of the founders of An Angels Love. (I've written about the great things they're doing). I asked someone who was there with the family if that was her and she said that it was. At the end of the mass she introduced me. I was a bumbling mess! I was so emotional from the service and had so much I wanted to say it came out in one big jumbled mess. We did agree to go and have coffee one day so hopefully I can get my thoughts straight by then. I hope this connection helps me on this path. I hope it enables me to further help someone else going though or who will go through such a loss.
After the mass we went to see Ryan. It was so sad. Usually when we/I go there's no one else there at the same time. I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen someone else there. Today we were all lined up in the front row staring down at our child's marker. You could hear the sniffles coming from all of us. Everyone was hugging. What an awful club to belong to.
There was another first for me today too. Today was the first time that I said Ryan died. I always say passed away and if I was talking to someone close to me I always said "when Ryan was born" or something to that effect. "Died" just sounded so harsh and final to me I couldn't bring myself to say it. Someone asked about Ryan and it just came out. I was surprised myself. A baby step? Maybe.
I've set up our team for the March of Dimes walk in May. This year it's the day before Ryan's birthday. I'm hoping to recruit some family and friends to be walkers on our team (you can sign up to be a walker and not actually walk -- you can still help fund raise) Ryan's Racers. I can't think of a better way to celebrate Ryan's birthday than raising more money for this cause.