Thursday, May 3, 2012

10 Years ~ A Photo Diary

Today was the ten year anniversary of Flynn's birth and death.  Even typing it seems unreal.  Although I kept a familiar routine to mark this day, I decided to approach the blog differently.  I wanted to do a photo diary so that I could document the day both literally and visually.

May 3rd, 2012

We have a box.
We keep it in the farthest corner of our closet and it is filled with memorabilia, such as: pictures, a pregnancy journal, a baby book, Flynn's quilt, etc.

It also has all the notes and cards that we received following his death.  Today I took them all out and read every one.  They are reminders of how far the pain of his death reached. Some of the note writers are no longer alive.  I hope Carlos, my Aunt and my Grandma are with Flynn now.
After reading the cards, I reached into the box and pulled out the gown and cap that Flynn wore that day.  I took out the quilt that he was wrapped in.  I touched them and smelled them and remembered how it felt to just hold him.

I looked through all the pictures that were taken the day that he was born. The family photo with me holding our tiny baby, while Flynn clung tightly to Landy's index finger.  There were photos that caught the look of despair on my parent's faces and some that captured the tears that wove a sombre path over the round of our cheeks.  I remember the words that I whispered just before they took me away for surgery.

"Remember, Mommy loves you always."

After putting away the box, I continued with my day by driving to a florist where I could pick up a bouquet of blue orchids. I buy them every year after they were abundantly splayed in a breathtaking arrangement on the top of Flynn's white sateen casket at his funeral.

The florist wanted to make them into a complicated bouquet.  I told her that it was not necessary; I was going to the cemetery with them.  She insisted that she must do something, so I let her put some baby's breath in with the orchids and tie it with a deep blue ribbon.  She told me it must be sad going to the cemetery.  I thought about it for a second and then replied,
"Not after 10 years, now it is a relief, I am actually looking forward to it, I am happy even." 

She starred at me.  "Even after all these years it can be hard. You mean that it is sad, right?"

I nodded obligingly.  It wasn't the day to argue.

I took the country roads out to the cemetery.  I love the drive; it is picturesque, with open fields and trees lining the winding road.  The entrance to the cemetery is flanked by an old chapel that is full of character and epitomizes the century old cemetery.
I followed the winding lane until I found our familiar spot, tucked away on a little hill where his place is marked in stone.
I spent time cleaning the area up, cringing with guilt that it had become so overgrown and neglected. Then I just sat there and was.  I don't remember thinking about anything in particular, I just felt content to be there in that space with him.
I was not ready to leave him entirely, so I took a scenic walk to clear my head and meditate on the day.


The warm weather made my stroll even more enjoyable.  The spring blooms were spectacular and the vibrant colours were awe inspiring.
I ended my stroll at a vegetarian restaurant where I enjoyed vegan sushi, a new personal favourite.
I had one more thing that I wanted to do to mark ten years of life without Flynn.  I have wanted to do it for a long time and it seemed fitting to make it happen today.

There was a serendipitous moment when the tattoo artist told me that his own infant daughter had died 3 years ago.  I told the artist the meaning behind the word and the reason that today was the day for me to get it.  He showed me the two tiny feet tattooed on the back of his hand and I was thankful I had sat in his chair today.

My day ended with me tucking my three boys into bed for the night before sitting down to write this anniversary blog.  I uploaded all the pictures from the day and chose my favourite ones.
As I examined the pictures of my orchid bouquet I noticed that amongst all the vibrant purple and turquoise blooms there was a single bloom that was larger than all the rest with colours that were just a little brighter than the surrounding flowers.

It filled me with joy; 10 years' worth.


  1. I think resiliency is a very fitting word - I don't know how you do what you do, but I think it's amazing that you can share it with others.


  2. Sounds like an awesome birthday spend with yourself and his spirit.

  3. What a wonderful way to mark the day. Your words make your strength, calm and pride palpable; I feel it.

  4. You have captured the real meaning of living forever.Celebrating and remembering Flynn's life is such a comfort. Heaven is a real place and one day you too will join Flynn and see how the angels have raised your special dear heart. Amazingly enough all believers will be meeting and greeting one another. As an extended family member I look forward to that day.

  5. I believe in angels. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Thank you for all the kind and loving words here. It was a good day and documenting it with photos really helped me to appreciate every moment.