Let me tell you, this month is horrible. The majority of days are filled with heartache and sadness, but in those days I’ve tried my very best to see the light and good. This weekend, I couldn’t see anything but the top of the waves crashing on top of me. I would say the mix of the oncoming six month mark and all the other troubles going on in my life have not helped with my grief. Those stories are for another day. I’ve felt that I haven’t been able to write about what’s going on with me and my grief. Every time I sit down to write the words, they just fly right out the window.
But, I wanted to share with you what happened yesterday. It all started last month when I got an invitation in the mail about a memorial put on by the hospital. Now it feels like that was forever ago, but I had made sure to make sure I planned today for the ceremony. I thought I had everything ready to go, until life happened. There were unforeseeable events that happened this weekend that made me not want to go. Made my grief so much more intense and wanted to stay in bed all day long. Somehow I dragged myself out of bed, put on my most favorite dress, and went to celebrate my Jensen’s life.
When I got there and saw the three big tents and all the chairs, I instantly started crying. I kept thinking about how many babies aren’t with their families. Then it hit me. All the pain I was going through without Jensen. How he wasn’t there with me looking up at me from his carseat. All the memories I wanted to have with him physically here. When did my life involve going to a memorial remembering my child that died?
I walked right up to the check in table and couldn’t even talk. The flashbacks of Jensen’s funeral rained in. Those poor women just threw tissues at me and tried to give me all the handouts. I signed my name and Jensen’s name through all my tears. It was blurry, but somehow I did it. Somehow I wrote that I, Danielle Ridgway, was a bereaved mother to her child in heaven, Jensen Grey. After that, I somehow lit a candle to put it with the rest of the candles honoring babies gone way too soon. Then my blurry eyes took me to a front-row seat with a box full of tissues. I sat there, with my shoulder shuttering asking how this was my life. Asking why Jensen wasn’t here and life could be how I always planned. In a matter of the forty-five minutes they were all speaking and saying our angels names, I think I asked why Jensen wasn’t here (in my head) about a thousand times. The only second I didn’t ask is when his name went through their lips and the bell rung.
Ding. Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings.
I wonder if that’s why they used the bells.
Anyways, before they ended the ceremony with a balloon release, they asked us to bow our head in prayer. I didn’t feel like talking to God right there and then (sorry God), but the question that had been on a loop in my mind was answered. Well, not really answered, but Jensen sent me his sign. As everyone was praying I was looking up at the branches of the tree. A blue balloon flew up to where I was looking. Well accidents happen, I really wanted a blue balloon to send up to Jensen so I was worried I wouldn’t get one. I also thought it might have been a sign for another mama. Just as I thought it was a sign for another mom, an orange balloon flew up right beside the blue one. I’m sure Jensen was saying, “No mom that sign was for you.” Right then my mindset changed from why isn’t he here to, he’s always right here.
We could say this all was a big coincidence, but I don’t believe in those anymore. That’s definitely a sign from my little guy.
The balloon release was beautiful. I wrote words of love to Jensen and asked for him to always stay close to me until I’m with him again. I found out the strings on the balloons were orange, so I got to send his nursery colors to him. They floated on and on, to the clouds our angels dance in every single day. We all watched until we couldn’t see them anymore. When we all turned to center back down on earth, a monarch butterfly flew right down the middle of all of us. It was an absolutely beautiful moment, tears and all.
I think when people see this photo, they see that beautiful moment I described. It’s a peaceful and happy moment. For me, each balloon I see is an angel going back to heaven. Here with us for a moment and us, their parents, release them back. Each balloon represents a baby and with the loss of a baby there is this immense pain. I see pain in all those balloons. It’s a constant battle of loss and love and it’s pictured in this moment.
No matter how much pain and loss I felt today, I’m glad I went. Even through all the tears and people probably thinking I was crazy sitting there alone, drowning in my tears. I was able to honor Jensen and see his sign. Not only that, I know the love I have for Jensen radiates off of me, but having that love from multiple families was painfully beautiful.