I find it absolutely shocking when I realize how quickly Penelope and James' first birthday is approaching. It honestly feels like just yesterday. I miss them so much every day. How is it possible that it has been eleven months since I last held them in my arms? Their beautiful faces are still fresh in my mind, burned into my memory.
Micah and I decided that we didn't want their birthday to pass without some sort of acknowledgment. We wanted to find a way to celebrate and honor their short lives. We wanted to be able to do what most parents do for their children on their first birthday, throw a party. This may seem odd or morbid to some people, but for us it just seems natural. If nothing else we are celebrating that we are still here. We have survived perhaps the most devastating event of our lives and we are okay. With the strength and support of our friends and family we have pulled ourselves out of the pit of grief and we have survived. Not only have we survived the death of our beloved twins, but we are stronger. Our hearts have changed for the better.
Not only do James and Penelope deserve to be celebrated, so do all of our support system. Everyone that cared enough to place a well timed phone call, sympathy card, bouquet of flowers, caring e-mail, a warm hug, or just sending warm thoughts and prayers our way. To say we felt your love and support is a true understatement. It carried us through the darkness. So we are throwing this party as a thank you as well.
I have recently been party planning in an attempt to get ready for the weirdest 1st birthday party ever. I have done this before, my daughter Gwenevere had a 1st birthday party and it was wonderful. However, I have never thrown a birthday party for someone that is no longer living. I don't really know how to do it and the Internet is not exactly full of suggestions. I have been going through their memory boxes recently, trying to find special items that we can display. As I was gingerly going through the hand knit blankets, and doll sized clothes I stumbled upon two official envelopes I had never seen. I opened them up to discover that they contained the death certificates of Penelope and James. I hadn't seen them before, when they came in the mail I handed them to Micah and he looked over them. It just seemed so wrong. I know they died, but to see it typed up on an official paper just hurt. They even had a box checked off to let us know that they didn't die of a "tobacco related illness".
When I was pregnant with my twins I never imagined that I would be looking over their death certificates while planning their first birthday party. This is my new reality. I don't want their party to be sad or depressing, I just want to remember them and honor them. They are my children, numbers two and three. I love them and I will always love them.