The number 23 has so many meanings to us right now.
Today I am officially 23 weeks pregnant. There is a lot to celebrate. Our healthy little girl is now over a pound in weight, she can hear certain louder sounds happening outside the womb, she can feel my movement, her lungs are developing blood vessels to prepare for breathing, and she has made a habit of being very hyper after meals, which I can feel every bit of. At 23 weeks pregnant, both my husband and I are excitedly making preparations for the arrival of our daughter and things seem to be moving in a positive direction for us.
Yesterday marked 23 months since our little boy went to Heaven. We have spent the last 23 months missing and mourning our only son, as we will for many many months and years to come. For nearly two years, we have lived in trepidation of what life will bring for us and if we will have any future of the family we have yearned for and if our hearts will EVER be healed over the loss of our son. For 23 months, we have missed out on all the experiences and milestones that other parents are blessed with, including seeing our little boy become a big boy in all of the ways he could've in this time period. Our family and friends have also mourned for who we now collectively call "Our Boy", missing out on opportunities to get to know him and spend time with him. It's been a lonely, quiet 23 months in our house filled with harsh memories and reminders that our son is no longer with us. Out of all these months, we have spent so many days trying to get through the day and hold on to each other for dear life, wishing for brighter days. Yet, in 23 months, I have been able to reach out to other Angel Parents and be of help to them in their time of need, which warms my heart and honors my son Trey.
At this point, Trey would have been 23 months old which is always a painful reminder that his birthday is right around the corner, March 23. It's hard to think about what he would be doing and learning right now in his life. Two scenarios pop into my head, one where is born with CHARGE but able to thrive, somewhat and it saddens me to know what he would not be able to do things like his peers would and the other scenario is the one where he was born totally healthy and thriving in the same way as his peers. Thinking these thoughts is a bittersweet experience, one side of me is glad he is in the arms of loved ones in Heaven rather than living a life of limited quality and the other side is still outraged and heartbroken that he never go the chance to live as a healthy little boy, he was doomed from the start. We should be planning his second birthday party, instead we are planning how to best get through the tough days ahead. The slender silver lining is that we are helping a charity in his honor for his birthday which means a lot to us, but I am not sure how well we will do in our efforts, we've spent nearly two years living this nightmare while the rest of the world has continued turning. '
Both my husband and our son were born on the 23rd of the month, my husband's being in February, exactly one month before Trey's. While my husband and I share so much of our tragedy and are at most times the only ones who know what it's like to lose our son and live with it day after day, there is a part of our nightmare that I can try to understand but will never truly feel, this part is my husband's burden. Trey's birth name was John Thomas Chatham III, "Trey" was his nickname given to represent his status as a 3rd in a generation. I can only imagine how painful it is for my husband to sign his own name and be reminded of his son's namesake. His birthday, February 23rd, serves as unpleasant reminder of his son's birth and eventual passing. I am sure he is well aware that in the days leading up to his birthday, he has about a month to prepare mentally and emotionally for his son's upcoming birthday and a lifetime to try to redefine what the 23rd of every month now means to him, especially on his own birthday. And though I know what a superb father he is and will continue to be to Trey, Lorelei, and any other children we are blessed with, my comprehension cannot touch the bond he will forever share with his son, although I would never strive to understand, that's just for him and Trey.
We've spent 23 months without him, that's 23 months of 23's. While the number has new meaning for us, however bittersweet, there are still more of them to come, hopefully with happier memories attached to them. The truth is, the number 23 has brought us a lot of heartache and sorrow, yet without it, we never would have been properly introduced to our first born son, gotten to know him for however short of a time, and never been able to celebrate him however difficult it is. Today we add a happier memory of 23 by celebrating 23 weeks of health and well being for me and our daughter. In 17 days, it will be March 23rd, Trey's second birthday and I am hoping as the years pass that we have more and more to celebrate as each 23rd passes and with the passing of time, the number 23 will bring us more smiles, peace and joy than it does now. In my mind, the number 23 belongs to Trey and we owe it to him to celebrate his number as we celebrate him as our son.