We had hard decisions to make yesterday. Not nearly as difficult as the decision we had to make after Thomas was born of course, but difficult nonetheless. I wanted the wording to be perfect - I wanted everything as perfect as I could possibly make it for my little boy. Thomas' stone will last, so the literature says, for a minimum of 500 years and I want people 500 years from now to know how special that baby was to us and to our world. Unfortunately there's only a limited amount of space allowed and so choosing those words carefully is critical.
The thing is, my heart is so full of love for him that it felt close to impossible to decide just what to say in the few words we were able to have. I need volumes, not one 24" stone. It's just not enough space to say what an impact he had on my life, how blessed I was to know him for those 9 beautiful months and how much my heart aches without him. I feel like I need to stand on his grave night and day so that I can tell passersby all about my little Peanut because a stone just won't do him justice, no matter how hard we try.
But of course, I can't stand in the cemetery on his grave for the rest of my life. I have a life outside the gates of the beautiful green place where my baby lies. He will be with me in my heart for my entire life, but what I saw and touched, sweet little thing that he was, is gone. So instead I carry him with me, just like I did for 9 months.
In the end I was happy with what we chose, with one exception. I wanted to add "Peanut" to the very last line, but my beloved didn't. He said he didn't want him to be known as Peanut for all eternity. But I knew him as Peanut for longer than I knew him as Thomas and I really wanted that on his stone. My beloved gave him the name after my first ultrasound at 7 weeks 2 days because he thought that's what our tiny little Thomas looked like in the grainy image we were given - a peanut. And the name stuck. I only started calling him Thomas in late January when an ultrasound finally confirmed that he was, in fact, a boy.
I used to send my beloved e-mail updates at work every week. I subscribed to a service that sent me development updates so I'd pass them along to my beloved along with the heading This week in Peanutville or sometimes just Peanut!. I was always so excited to tell him how much our Peanut had grown in the last week and what new things he was now experiencing or doing. I got so used to calling him Peanut that calling him Thomas felt strange at first. I missed my Peanut.
I miss him still.
Anyway, this morning I talked to my beloved and asked again if we could include Peanut on the stone. I stated my case in a way I didn't feel free to in the tiny cemetery office with the strangely grumpy and not particularly patient clerk looking on.
He agreed, and so the last line of his stone will read: We will always love you Peanut, which now feels right. I'd need a million stones to tell his story properly, but I'm content. We did our best.