Fifteen years ago this evening Jay Daniel Mattson made his grand dramatic, yet ever so silent entrance into this world…into our lives. What a wonderful, dramatic, hopeful, terrifying, full of love, sad and awe-inspiring night it was. Our tiny 3lb baby, who would be a young man today was not breathing at all when he was born, but after many prayers and the determination of a few doctors and nurses Jay thankfully came around and thank God was willing to stick around a while with us. The next 17 months of Jay’s life were full of the same feelings we had the night he was born. Even now all these years without him, we still feel those rollercoaster emotions; missing him.
For some reason this year Jay’s birthday is really hard for me; every year is sad/hard, but doable; but this year my heart aches so much more than “usual,”/”normal.” I am angry, hurt and I feel guilty for not being more cheerful/thankful, for this day was in all reality a wonderful day. We got our little boy, he was here and alive, that night we felt so blessed and today 15 years later I feel cheated. I think because he would be 15yrs old, a young man, it is like a mile stone that I wanted with him. I wonder, would he love Xbox or rather be outside playing ball? Would he love to read like I do and Megan does? Would he be into science or an instrument? I thought, what would I be buying for his 15th birthday? I dunno and that makes me mad. But then I feel guilty, at least I had him with us/me for a short time; I should be content with that. But I am not, I wanted to celebrate all these birthdays with him. I read his baby book tonight and it killed me to read all about his first birthday to then see those blank pages for the following birthdays. My God he has been gone so much longer than he was with us; why does it still feel so raw?? I work very hard to not think about all the things we have missed, to push the physical pain back, so I can move on. Today I can’t stop thinking about it and I can’t stop crying.
When Shane called tonight we talked about Jay’s birthday and how we should not focus on the sad part; August 16th. But rather we should think about the fun we had with Jay during the time we had with him. The time we kidnapped him out of the hospital for a picnic, the way he would scream for your French fries and the total delight he took in being with his sisters. The trips we took with him to Florida and the Mall of America. The way his eyes would light up when Shane would get home from work and how they would sit and watch wrestling together in the evenings (Jay was so content to just lay on Shane’s chest). He would hang out with Megan (my Artist) for hours, letting her push him around in her doll stroller or share her snacks with him. The way he would fall asleep with Katelyn and watch her intently as she read books to him. His total delight playing with his hands and feet or playing with his toys. His belly laugh was so wonderful and his tears were so heart wrenching. Jay’s hands were always touching things, feeling everything he could (even when he was asleep). He would rub your face, hold your fingers, touch your arms and do it all over again. He would play with empty syringes like nothing else. The nurses would give him new ones all the time and he loved them. The joy he brought to our family, friends and the nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, speech pathologists, psychologists, whomever he came into contact with was so amazing to see. Watching him roll over for the first time or just sitting there watching him breath while he slept at night. To see him enjoy his favorite treat (even when the doc’s said no) a fudgesicle was so funny…he would make such a mess, but the delight in his eyes made it worth while. He loved us so much, you could really see it in his eyes. When he looked at you, whether it was me, Shane, the girls, my parents, Shane’s mom, you knew he knew you and loved you totally. He had these wise ole eyes, that looked right into your heart.
There are so many wonderful things to remember and celebrate; but they are oh so bittersweet. I am selfish, I wanted, expected so many more
memories. When Jay was born I had hope, I was determined he would beat whatever ailed him. Oh my gosh, I prayed with all my heart everyday for Jay. I guess my prayers were not quite the same as Jay’s prayers. This year I wish more than ever God would have given us a little more time with Jay, but I know I am selfish and would have wanted more and more.
Jay lived, he loved, he felt love, he felt snow flakes, rain and the sun on his cheeks. He went to swimming pools and put his feet in the sand. He got some male bonding time with his dad, and doted on by his mother. He learned from his sisters and taught them so much about empathy. He adored his grandparents and felt peace in their care. We were/are blessed to have Jay…I have to learn to separate the happy memories from the pain of having no more with him. The grieving process is not over I guess; I wonder if it will ever be over. 😦
As sad as today was, we did celebrate Jay’s life. Megan, My Drama Queen and my Smarty Pants looked through our pictures of Jay; each of us crying for multiple reasons. We went out to dinner in honor of Jay, came home and toasted to Jay’s life with fudgesicles; I know that would make him happy.
.Now I am exhausted and I know tomorrow I will be thinking of what was going on 15yrs ago; the memories are still so real. I will know he was flown to another city for a surgery they could not do where he was born and that I was stuck in that hospital hours away from him. Uggg…tears again.