Today is Julian’s two-year angelversary. It would be easy to write about how much I miss him, or how I would do anything to hold him in my arms again. But if you know me at all, either in real life or through this blog, you won’t be surprised that I’m not going to do that. Instead, I want to thank him.
First, I want to thank him for joining our family in the first place. Before Julian was born, I knew our family wasn’t complete yet. But when John and I decided we were ready for a second child, he wasn’t quite ready for us. After several months of disappointment, we started to wonder if maybe my body wasn’t going to cooperate. But I never lost the feeling that someone was missing. That someone was Julian, and he joined our family when he was good and ready. Just after he was born, the first thing I did when I was alone with him for the first time was look into his eyes and tell him, “I’ve been waiting for you.” He stared back at me; he knew. He’d been waiting for me, too.
Second, I want to thank him for the four years he was with us on this planet. He was loving and independent. He was generous and determined. He was smart and scrappy. He was a leftie and a Pisces. He was completely his own person, and he added a whole new dimension to our family. As I walked out of Children’s Hospital exactly two years ago today, I remember saying to my brother Alex, “I feel so grateful to have had him for almost four years. I would rather have had him for four years than to have not had him at all.” I was in shock, and I don’t remember much of anything else that I said to others or others said to me, but I remember saying that. That was my Truth in that moment, and it still is. All the pain of the past two years pales in comparison to the joy of the previous four years.
Lastly, I want to thank him for the gifts he’s given me in the past two years since he became our Guardian Angel. There have been many gifts, and I know they are from him. Not from God, not from the Universe, not from luck. From HIM. He gave me the gift of new friends who have changed my life. He lead us to our cabin, which is now my favorite place in the world. He has given me countless gifts of experiences and insight. But the most profound gift he gave me was the gift of my Self.
The person I am today is so different from the me of two years ago. Life is deeper, sweeter, truer. Things I used to question are now answered. Things I used to believe have turned into things I just know. Things that I used to waste energy on are now easy to let go of. Things about myself that I used to regret but accept as “just how I am” have been replaced by attributes that enable me to experience life from a deeper place.
Somehow, life is just warmer now. Pema Chödrön
‘s book Taking the Leap
includes a chapter called “The Importance of Pain.” Old Emily probably wouldn’t have picked up this book in the first place; New Emily appreciates her wise words. She opens the chapter by explaining,
“Before we can know what natural warmth really is, often we must experience loss. We go along for years moving though our days, propelled by habit, taking life pretty much for granted. Then we or someone dear to us has an accident or gets seriously ill, and it’s as if blinders have been removed from our eyes. We see the meaninglessness of so much of what we do and the emptiness of so much we cling to.”
She concludes the chapter by describing exactly what I have experienced over the past two years,
“When things fall apart and we can’t get the pieces back together, when we lose something dear to us, when the whole thing is just not working and we don’t know what to do, this is the time when the natural warmth of tenderness, the warmth of empathy and kindness, are just waiting to be uncovered, just waiting to be embraced.”
Two years ago today, my life was shattered into a million pieces. Today, I embrace the warmth of empathy and kindness.
Julian was an Earth-bound boy for four years, and he’s been an angel for two. He changed my life for the better when he was born, and he continues to change my life for the better. And for that I feel nothing but gratitude.
Happy second angelversary, little one. Thank you for everything.