Happy Birthday, Lukey!!
Today you would have been six years old, and I can scarcely imagine what that would even look like. Even as I sit here writing, my mind tries to make some image of you snap into focus. It's an exercise in futility, though. I won't lie...it hurts my heart that I can't see your six-year-old face in my mind's eye. What's worse is that enough time has passed that I have a difficult time getting your two-year-old face to snap into focus in my mind. Honestly, Luke...you are more of a feeling to me now. A memory that lives in my heart, not in my mind. I'm not sure that makes any sense when explained in words. But I have a certain knowledge that you know exactly what I'm talking about. :)
Just as in the years that have passed since we last celebrated a birthday with you here, this last year hasn't brought growth to you, but to me through and because of you. I had the opportunity to speak at our Stake Women's Conference in January, and the topic was "Have Miracles Ceased?" I knew it was time to share your story. I had 45 minutes to fill, and it was an overwhelming task! But what was most difficult, at least at first, was telling your story from the very beginning in such a way that those that did not know you or our family could feel as though they did. I relived every memory I had of you, from the time I found out I was pregnant until after you passed away. I am careful to keep my mind from remembering too fully my life with you, because it awakens the most painful feelings of longing. A sort of desperation that cannot be filled and leaves me almost panicky. But in order to do what I felt the Lord needed me to do in telling your story...our story...I had to experience that painful longing. There were hours spent writing and crying, re-reading and crying some more. But after the first week or so, I didn't cry quite as much. As I started to study the scriptures and reading talks about the subject of miracles, I came to realize that I needed a LOT more than 45 minutes if I was going to testify of the miracles I've seen in my life! And not only surrounding you, but throughout my life. I'm not sure if anyone else got anything out of my talk, but I gained an irrefutable witness that my Heavenly Father has always been very aware of me, and that He has gently lead me and guided me through my life. I couldn't help but be awed as I looked at my life since I married your Dad and could see the very obvious hand of the Lord in the course of our life together. I ended my talk with sharing my experiences after you died, particularly the months of struggle and anger. My soul was filled to bursting with gratitude for that time of struggle, and for the foundation I had that helped me get through it. And your smiling face was at the center of it all. Luke, I miss you every day. There are times I can barely breathe for needing you so badly. It's not often, but it still happens every once in a while. But I can't say I wish that you were here. I have finally come to the place where I think I understand a little of why things are the way they are. You have given me and our family a priceless gift, and your life and sickness and ultimately your death gave us the opportunity to really examine our testimonies of this Great Plan of Happiness. We have become so much closer to who we need to be...I have become so much more of who I need to be...because of who you are. Thank you, Son.
This birthday was not a difficult one for me, perhaps because of knowing you are where you are supposed to be. I felt happy as I thought of how fortunate I am to be your mother. As a family, we looked at photos and videos of you, and while I felt a pang in my heart as I watched you smile and giggle, I wasn't sad. Your birthday is a family holiday for us know, and we celebrate Lukey Day! This year we signed the whole family up for The Great Inflatable Race, and Grandma Candy, Aunt Jenny's family, Grandma Call, and Aunt Katie joined us. Even our friends Laura and Grace Riley came to celebrate your day! It was the best fun, and it was great to feel so much happiness on your birthday. I like the thought that as Joey grows and starts to learn more about his big brother, that he'll look forward to your birthday just as much as we look forward to everyone else's. That's the way it should be. :)
Happy Birthday, my sweet boy! I look forward to another year of learning from you. Of those special times when I feel you close to me. Thank you for being mindful of us, and I sure hope you know of the many daily prayers we say in your behalf. I know it is a vital and great work you are doing, and we're so proud of you! Just like every year when I come to the close of your letter, my heart is terrified of breaking this connection I feel with you. I don't want to say goodbye! Luke, I love you more every single day and anxiously await the day when I'll see you again. Happy Birthday!