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At what point does this get easier?

Updated: May 12

Today is Hudson’s 3rd birthday. I have to believe most moms wake up on their sons 3rd birthday happy, excited and proud to celebrate this milestone and all that’s taken place in those past 3 years. I want to feel that this morning. I want to look at Hudson’s bright blue eyes and pale blonde hair and be happy, but this morning, as the house is all still asleep, I look at the giant pile of presents on the kitchen counter and the table decorated in red firetruck plates and cups, I see the giant #3 balloon out of the corner of my eye and I’m sad. I have a pit in my stomach. I see all of these things and I have two distinct thoughts. The first is the memory of Brian and I driving to the hospital 3 years + 1 day ago, getting hooked up to the machines and beginning to bring Hudson here. I close my eyes and can feel Brian’s hand in mine, I can hear him whispering in my ear words of encouragement as I endured an incredibly painful and semi-difficult labor. I can picture him in his black zip up Sea Shepard sweatshirt standing next to me, beaming with pride the moment Hudson made his appearance, Brian being the first to see him, to cut the umbilical cord, and to cry tears of joy at the sight of his child, his son. He was a proud, proud dad. These thoughts bring me joy, despite being a difficult delivery, we were so incredibly happy and excited and overjoyed at the thought of Izzy having a baby brother and us growing our family.


The next thoughts force me back to reality. Flashes of Hudson’s birthday last year. The garage door open, Thomas the Train decorations strung from our front porch, Brian’s dive locker placed in our grass, now holding plates and cups and a large birthday cake with a #2 candle in it. Singing Happy Birthday to Hudson but not getting to see him blow out that #2 candle because I had to throw him into the arms of somebody else as I ran inside in hysterics. Celebrating a day of birth the day before we’d honor the day of Brian’s death. It’s not ok. None of this is “ok.” Hudson’s birthday is June 1st. Brian’s funeral was held on June 2nd. I welcomed people to my home to hug and kiss Hudson on his birthday, making them promise to not cry in front of the kids on Hudson’s birthday, and then I wept with them the following day at Brian’s funeral, offering more hugs to these same friends and family, this time Brian’s urn in my arms, unwilling to set it down. Today, I think about the state of my home one year ago as people wandered through it on Hudson’s birthday. Among the blue and yellow train balloons and banners, brightly colored wrapping paper, I picture the boxes, the tissues, the half eaten food platters from the numerous guests I had staying with me, the suitcases, the piles of clothes – this pile is what I’ll have him cremated in, this pile reminds me the most of him and I can’t live without, this pile is dirty and need to be washed, this pile are socks and underwear – do I keep his socks and underwear? I picture Hudson in my arms as people walk towards him, cake in hand singing Happy Birthday and how 10 days ago his dad and I were planning for this exact moment, and yet his dad wasn’t here now. I picture handing my 2 year old son to somebody, unable to hold back the tears anymore as I ran through the house in tears. Up to my room, to my bed, to our bed, the bed we had shared throughout our marriage, the bed where Hudson, whose birthday we were celebrating outside in this very moment, had been conceived in, to the bed we returned to after long trips and family vacations, the bed where we spent hours laughing together, planning our futures together, and to the bed where I now cried, alone, surrounded by random piles of clothes that don’t mean anything to anybody except him, and me.


I’m not sure how, when, or if I will ever be able to get through the chorus of ‘Happy Birthday Dear Hudson’, without flashing back to these images, these thoughts, this sadness. But I will try. It’s not Hudson’s fault his birthday is now intertwined with his dads death and I owe it to him to put on a happy face and celebrate the joy that he brings to my life and to this world, just like his dad did. With all of the milestones and “firsts” I’ve experienced over the past 12 months, I truly didn’t anticipate Hudson’s birthday, a day of joy, bringing these kinds of feelings, yet, here I am. Here we are. A house full of people, presents, chaos, a little boy with a red fire chief hat on his head and a smile on his face, excited to have a day all about him. And here I am, in my bed, a new bed, but still alone, tears in my eyes as I mourn the loss of my love, as I prepare to head downstairs to celebrate Hudson, now three. Happy Birthday little man, and I’m so sorry. <3


Next year, he's requesting all things blue and green, including these shark boots.


My post from one year ago today, https://www.ashleybugge.com/blog/a-birthday-and-a-funeral


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Lessons of turning tragedy into triumph 

from a military widow

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