July is a confusing month at my house. Our second daughter was born July 10, 2019, less than a year from when we lost Izzy. The fact that my wife delivered two full term babies in under a year still blows my mind, she truly is a rockstar.
Happy fourth birthday Izzy. It has been four years since I held you, four years since you were wheeled out of our room for the last time, four years since I spent my birthday, July 23, making your funeral arrangements. These four years sometimes feel like twenty.
I constantly think about what could have been. Your first smile, your first word, your first step, your first tennis lesson, and so much more. When things get hard, I lean on a line I wrote for your funeral, “Your mother and I don’t know how to take the next steps forward, but we will walk them for you.” I still don’t know what every next step will bring, but I continue to push forward in honor of you.
Today brings with it a wide range of emotions. This morning, my wife released an Instagram reel through Izzy Lee’s Kids, showcasing Annie and Maisie accomplishing milestones, and I will always wonder what you would have looked like in those moments.
Jay and his wife celebrate Bella’s birthday by sending floating lanterns to Heaven. You can read about that here. Our tradition is not quite as photogenic as Jay’s, but it is very meaningful to us. Every birthday, we take Izzy’s poem, which was written while she lay beside us in the hospital, and read it by the tree we planted in her honor.
Izzy is buried at the church garden where we were married. This year, both Annie and Maisie were able to visit their sister. I still cannot set foot in her garden without crying. Now that some time has passed, standing over her grave does bring a certain amount of peace. I included pictures of our visit, and the garden where she is buried, at the bottom of the post.
We recently started talking about Izzy with Annie, our second daughter. She received a Disney princess balloon on her birthday. Annie, like most three-year-olds, accidentally let that balloon go outside. Through broken tears, she turned to us and asked, “Will that balloon go to Isabelle for her birthday in Heaven?”. She was so proud of herself for delivering that birthday balloon.
Who knows, maybe a new tradition was born, but whatever happens, it was an incredible moment in our journey.
Happy fourth birthday, Izzy, we love you from now until forever.