Happy 7th Heavenly Birthday, Molly Marie!
That’s how long you’ve been gone.
How long it’s been since you lived.
Your sister Abby keeps your memory alive as much as anyone these days, which amazes me. She never knew you in this lifetime, but she seems fascinated by you.
She imagines and wonders and questions.
I do too.
Are you still a baby in Heaven?
Are you seven?
Do souls age?
Sean asked the other day if you had lived longer, would Abby be here?
Another good question, that I don’t have an answer to.
And that’s okay.
I learned this year, from another bereaved mother I know, that sometimes we have to learn to sit with the questions.
This is the first year your Daddy and I will not be home on your birthday. It will be the first time we aren’t with Sean and Abby on your special day. We won’t be visiting the cemetery and that is hard for me. However, I think you are proud of us and happy for the reason why.
We did celebrate you, your life, your memory, and your place in our family on Sunday. With each passing year we seem to be establishing some traditions for what we do on our “Molly Day.”
We started the day visiting your grave at the cemetery. We placed decorations, we sang happy birthday to you, we blew bubbles again (in lieu of releasing balloons), and reminded you how much we love and miss you.
Then we went to 10:00 am mass at St. Barnabas, which was said for you. Fr. Jim presided and gave a beautiful homily, reminiscent of the one he gave on our first “Molly Day,” the year after you were born and died. He spoke about how Jesus wished his disciples peace, even those who had betrayed him, after he died and rose again.
It was a wonderful reminder of how to live and approach difficult people we encounter, those that can be hard for us to love.
Peace be with you.
After mass we headed downtown to Ed DeBevic’s for milkshakes, cheese fries, and rude/silly waiters who tease us and dance on counter tops. The kids especially got a kick out of having lunch there again this year, on your day.
Next we headed over to a new and awesome playground on our city’s lakefront, Maggie Daley Park. We had heard great things about it and though very crowded, on such a beautiful spring day here, in Chicago, we had a lot of fun there.
As I write this, it occurred to me that the late former First Lady of Chicago is buried at the same cemetery as you are. I wonder if you have connected in Heaven? I believe she lost a baby or young child many years ago too.
The parking Gods and/or you were watching out for us, as we found street parking at both Ed’s and near the park! We still had to pay, but it was cheaper than valet and/or parking garages.
So that was how we celebrated! It was mostly sweet, with some bitter and sadness. Abby brought her copy of our Molly book to mass and at one point opened it, while sitting on my lap. With your Daddy to our left and your brother Sean to my right, we could all see and remember, as your sister turned the pages.
Oh, Molly… Thank you for all that you continue to bring to our lives through your legacy. I still believe that we are all better for your time with us, even though it was so short.
I try not to focus so much on who you would be today, most of the time. Rather, to see the good that has come and continues to flow from your existence.
But that is what happens when we take risks in life and follow our dreams. Sometimes our dreams come true and sometimes we have to let them die. In both instances there is so much we can learn, if we are open to the lessons.
So Daddy and I are remembering you here, today, and woke up early to watch the sunrise, in your honor and memory. It was so beautiful, just like you.
Grandma and Grandpa Axe, who are staying with Sean and Abby, will bring them back to the cemetery today, at their request, for another visit and then take them out to dinner!
As always, I hope and pray that however you/your soul celebrates in Heaven that you have another beautiful and wonderful birthday!
I miss you, my Molly-girl, and I love you so much!
Happy Birthday, sweetheart!
I have you in my heart. ~ Philippians 1:7