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.
Emma Caroline Fernandez
March 3, 2013 at 2:19 pm
March 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm
His gifts are indeed priceless – your words touch me too and in that way, his gift is even larger. Hugs.
March 3, 2013 at 4:06 pm
Your words are beautiful and enlightening…..and they leave me at a loss for words. You keep on growing, even after it seems that you have completed that journey. Love to all of you.
March 3, 2013 at 4:33 pm
Your “new normal posting” is so beautifully written and from the heart.
In the last two years, you have so eloquently and authentically been sharing your view of choosing to look at what you had and what is possible rather than what you lost and how you suffer from your loss of physical Julian. As a team, you and Julian are bringing a much needed change to how life can be lived, inspite of experiencing “the worst having happened.” I think there is a taboo in grief circles, and somewhat in society, against a griever turning toward growth, change and happiness after a loss, especially the loss of a child and especially in the early days of the loss. Emily, I am so glad Julian’s angel voice and your voice, through your writings, are out there in the “ethers” inspiring others to new possibilities in their lives and in themselves.
With gratitude and love, Georgann
March 3, 2013 at 7:32 pm
What a wonderful outlook on things. Thinking of you and yours, and especially HIM. xo
March 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm
Thank you, Emily. I never met Julian but I think of him often and wish you and John the very best that life and the universe has to offer. Until you see your Guardian Angel once again!
March 3, 2013 at 10:00 pm
I have been on this journey for 6 years…..in fact made 6 years on Feb. 25th. My daughter was with us for 10 years and I have said the same thing as you…I am so thankful to have had her in our lives for those 10 short years than to never have had her at all…Happy Angelversary Julian and Big hugs to you mom and dad (((hugs)))
March 3, 2013 at 11:28 pm
Deepest gratitude for you and Julian, both. Virtual hugs ((((Emily)))) with love and peace
March 4, 2013 at 9:10 am
Your attitude of gratitude is contagious!! Holding you in my heart & prayers at this tender anniversary
. So glad to hear you have your own place now but we miss seeing you in July on Bad Medicine Lake, sharing the fireworks, and visiting your family. Hugs and kisses to you all!!!
Leanne (Trebilcock) Avila
March 4, 2013 at 10:27 am
Beautifully written. Also, love the quotes from the book. Thinking of you now and always…
March 5, 2013 at 8:12 am
Every day we live closer to where they are.
We didn’t lose them. We know where they are.
Loving you UP Julian! Thanks for introducing yourself to me. And, introducing me to your mommy! ❤
Tom and Darlene Lund
March 13, 2013 at 6:39 pm
Dearest ones…that Julian…ever spirit filled…and why not, having just been sent by Jesus to be delivered to you, to embrace your life with love from He who sent him. The gift of life from Jesus to Julian to you has a lasting impact on the world…and all who know and love you. Thanks Julian for letting Tom and I share the journey of life and love from your trip to earth and return. See you again one day and maybe I’ll get a chance to read to you again. I miss you. Darlene
February 16, 2014 at 6:58 pm
Emily, I just read this as I haven’t been on your blog for awhile. I had this vision as I read this of Julian smiling upon you and nodding and saying, “Ah, Mom, you are learning well :)” Quite a teacher he is and quite a grateful student he has 🙂 He really is never far from you, is he 🙂