Right after Joe was born, Joe moments were on an endless stream. They came effortlessly, constantly, and were mind blowing every time. The entire first year was one miracle after another, which filled me with life and hope, and was a big reason I decided to write about all of it and share it with others.
During the first year I shared some of what Chris and I experienced as we encountered all the "firsts" that people talked about. All of the holidays and Joe’s birthday came and went, and what we got out of that first year was a lot of mixed emotions. Being out of the year of firsts moved us into a confusing place, where our story wasn't exactly super fresh anymore, but not exactly any easier (again, words are stupid) to live out. Joe moments had slowed down a bit in their frequency, maybe because we were getting better at living normal life and didn't need them the same way we did in the beginning. When his birthday came, I was (unknowingly) in my first trimester with twins and being pregnant altered my experience of Joe moments quite a bit. My awareness and focus were preoccupied by the things my physical body was going through. Of course I wanted to continue my meditation practice, which, in the past, had been the most effective way to connect with Joe regularly. Morning sickness, overall fatigue, and constant baby kicks really changed my habits, so now I have an irregular practice at best. That change has probably contributed to Joe moments coming less and less often as well.
Finding out that we were having twins was like a Joe explosion. There’s no other way to describe or explain Chris and I realizing we were in fact expecting two babies than to say Joe exploded back into our lives that day. He was suddenly everywhere again, in our hearts, minds, and souls with a fury that desperately needed to be restored. Sometimes I just laugh to myself because the sheer ridiculousness of it is so overwhelming. I'm ok with our Joe moments evolving, but twins?? Come on, Joe.
So, Joe moments. They are still just as amazing as ever, just not occurring every day the way they did at first. Joe and I are connected regardless of whether I meditate or see a firefly. Every conscious moment is irrevocably attached to him. So I don’t have to work hard at it or pay close attention to it, which works out well now that I have two babies in my belly and will soon have two babies in my arms (I am quite distracted these days). Fortunately, the twins in and of themselves are a Joe moment, so even when I’m consumed with stuff pertaining to them, I’m completely connected to Joe.
As I've said before, Chris and I often connect to Joe through music. The song I chose as Joe’s song (“Us Against the World” - Coldplay) before he was born is quite significant to us. We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to see Coldplay in Boston this summer while on a trip to visit our friends, John and Jenna. Coldplay is amazing live, and we booked our tickets with a lot of anticipation for an unforgettable experience. At some point I came across their Instagram account and saw that they were taking requests for each North American concert venue. I heavily considered requesting our song, and even had a video ready to post. But, ultimately I decided not to. First, it didn’t feel right to make a 15 second video that included me quickly explaining that my baby had passed away and it would make me so happy to hear this particular song in Boston. Second, I realized if the song did play, and I had requested it, I would feel like I had somehow stolen some of the magic away by trying to control the situation. I decided I would rather experience the concert without any effort to force a certain outcome.
The day of the concert I was excited and anxious. I was trying to prepare for every possible scenario: if the song plays - I cry uncontrollably in front of the strangers surrounding me but feel all the magical feels. If the song doesn’t play - I cry less but feel disappointment, possibly regret for not having requested it, and worst of all, potentially doubt Joe's magic. Chris, John and I found our seats and buckled up for a wild, emotional ride.
About an hour of Chris Martin awesomeness went by and we were having an amazing time, but hadn’t heard the majority of the songs we were hoping to hear. When the band took a short break after playing for an hour and a half, I was doubting more and more that they would play our song. They reappeared on their smaller acoustic stage that was positioned toward the back of the venue and I suddenly remembered them doing the same thing the last time I saw them live in Cincinnati (it’s honestly really awesome how interactive they are with their fans). They played a song called “Don’t Panic” first, and then Chris Martin said they were going to take a request. As I’m trying to recall and recount all the details of this event it feels like it all happened in fast forward. I felt like I almost missed it because my processing time was so slow. As I realized what he said, there was already a video on the screen of a young girl requesting “Us Against the World” for her mom because it was her birthday and the little girl’s first concert. I still hadn’t actually processed what was going on and John leaned over to us and yelled, “Isn’t that your song?!” I was a little embarrassed that he realized it before I did since my brain was not functioning. The awareness of it hit me hard, and the tears came.
It was all so different than I had imagined it. The notes began and I was gripped by emotion. I couldn’t believe our song was playing. And not only was it playing, but it was the requested song. All the battling I had done in my mind about requesting it and the preparing for various outcomes collided with the reality that Chris Martin was singing our song to us in person. He even added extra lyrics to the end, which was new to us and completely blew our minds. Joe was showing up, yet again, in a very big way. The memories of being with Joseph in the NICU swirled through me, and the longing for him returned with brand new freshness. I cried for having lost him, I cried for having gained him. I tried to sing along as much as I could. I leaned completely into Chris as his body weight supported mine. My rock, my foundation, as he always has been.
Following our song, the band returned to the main stage and proceeded to play every single song we had been hoping to hear. One after another, Chris and I enjoyed the songs that had shaped the onset of our grieving period. In addition to the intense emotional stirring we each had going on within us, it was the kind of bonding experience that would weave our hearts even more tightly together, forever.
We left the concert on a high that neither of us had to express out loud. We just knew. We knew Joe was showing us he’s always around, and he’s happiest when we are happy together. Our family is growing (multiplying, you might say) in the light of Joe’s love. Our reminders are as profound as ever, though they are fewer and farther between. These reminders shape my perspective every day, they keep me firmly grounded in gratitude, and allow me to remain quiet and peaceful in mind and heart.
As we inch closer toward greeting our twins, Joe moments evolve. I am so excited to see what comes along with the birth and welcoming of these little Joe babies… I’m sure I can’t even begin to imagine the magic before it happens. The wait is long and challenging, but well worth it.
Thank you all, as always, for your endless support and love. It is so fun bringing you into our experiences and feeling connected to all of you in this extremely special way.