Jensen’s Birthday Celebration.

On a day I never imagined surviving without my son, I did.

Jensen and my grief both turned a year old. It was never the year I had planned or envisioned. If I could go to myself a year ago, I would brush my hair, listen to the tears, and tell myself this journey is the hardest one you’ll ever be on and it is unending.

Yet, through all the sadness and pain of the past year, we celebrated Jensen on his birthday. Everyone said his name and reassured me he’d never be forgotten. I was sent cards, presents, and pictures of his name and candles lit. Family and friends came over to my house to make his day as special as it should be.

Huge ‘ONE’ balloons covered one of my walls and his room was stuffed with blue and orange ones. The food that lined the countertops smelled so good. Everyone ate and laughed. The little ones colored Jensen’s coloring pages and drew pictures of him and I. We played games outside. Conversation was light and there was laughter. It felt like a first birthday party and that’s all I wanted.

All of us were outside for a long while, until it was time to eat cake. This cake was handmade and iced with love and by me. It was the cake I dreamed of making him while I was pregnant. A three-tiered, blue cake. Of course with his cake topper and four silver sparkler candles. I took it to the island and everyone gathered around. All the lights were turned off and the candles were lit. This moment felt like it lasted an hour for me. I should be holding him or at least right behind him keeping him steady as he blew them out. The ‘one’ really set in for me. My baby’s one and I can’t ever bring him back. I think my brain could have been stuck in that moments forever, but it started.

Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear Jensen.
Happy birthday to you.

I started choking up when we were singing. I thought I was going to completely break down right then and there, but I kept singing. When I started back up, I sung loudly and proudly for him. He would have really liked that. My favorite part is when all the kids yelled his name as loud and proud as they could. All I could think is, he is remembered.

After the candles were all blown out with the assistance from a few little helpers, we cut the cake and ate away. Not to brag or anything, but I didn’t hear any complaints about how it tasted, everyone said it was very tasty.

We then had an orange and blue balloon release. I wish I could tell you the sky was filled with Jensen’s colors, but the wind took them right into my tree. We watched as the escaped the tree and flew into the sky, eventually. I laughed at this. Of course the balloon release for Jensen’s party would get blocked by a tree. It is my life anyhow. These moments are light, where we can laugh and tell the little ones that the balloons are going to heaven so Jensen can play with them. When there were only seven left stuck in the tree, we went back inside for a special activity I had planned to honor Jensen and my support people.

I wish I had a certain name for this project. Maybe something like, ‘In the Hands of Support’ or along those lines. Let me tell you, this was messy, but well worth it. I only need one more hand print on there for it to be complete, but it is one of my most prized possessions. All these handprints are my family and close friends. They have supported and loved me throughout this year in the best way they could. Even in the moments I resisted it, they never gave up on me or stopped talking about Jensen. I’m so thankful to always have a little piece of them, on his first birthday, forever.

Jensen’s first birthday made me feel so at peace. His day was full of love and light. I wish with all my heart that he would have been here to experience  smashing his cake and blowing out the candle. I’ll always wish for those moments.

Thank you all so very much for the love you’ve sent me this past week and year(!). Seeing all the birthday love for Jensen made me smile and I have saved every pictures and screenshot every “Happy Birthday” comment I received. It means the whole entire world to know he’s being remembered.


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