Shepard and Deacon would be five today. I do my best to not think of the “would bes” and the “could bes” mostly because I feel in my heart that this is the way it “should be.” However, now and then it’s humanly impossible not to try to imagine their handsome happy smiling faces mixed in with the rest of our five happy smiling faces. One long-awaited day that will happen!
I’ve wanted to share these pictures from the moment I saw them. They are the most beautiful, prized earthly possessions that I own. I have them blown up and framed in our upstairs hallway so our whole family sees them daily. They each show us holding our boys for the first and only time. Older brother Shepard first at 6 days old moments before being disconnected from his breathing tube, and younger brother Deacon who passed at 3 days old. Since these photographs are so deeply personal and also hard to look at for most, I’ve waited to make sure sharing them is the best thing for our family and something about now finally feels right. More importantly, I’m so happy to be able to share exactly why I love these pictures so much and love seeing them every day even though they still bring tears to my eyes.
Grief is beautiful and full of love. These pictures and moments in our lives are so intensely beautiful and striking to me and I hope that in addition to unavoidably feeling the anguish we are so clearly immersed in, that they also evoke in you the greatest horizons of love that two parents could ever feel for two children.
The instant love a parent feels for their new little ones is breathtaking. In my humble opinion, you do not become more in love with your children as they grow, you love them immensely and unconditionally from their beginning, and this doesn’t change depending on whether they were able to live out their lives on earth or not. The innate amount of fathomless sorrow we felt at the earthly separation from Shepard and Deacon was also a measure of our love for them. Grief is love! Though these pictures are vastly different from the average pictures parents share of holding their babies for the first time, the boundless love shown in my opinion is even greater than a smile could possibly ever emote.
I feel thankful to finally be able to do more than just talk about how much we love our boys, but to be able to show it. I feel thankful to share a breathtakingly-beautiful silver lining of grief. There’s so much more than just heartache there. I’m forever grateful to my sister Leah who was able to take these priceless pictures for us through her own loving tears. I’m forever thankful for all seven of my children who I love equally and immeasurably. Happy birthday my sweet boys. Mama loves you and your family is excited to celebrate you today.