Friday, September 27, 2013

They Already Have Balloons in Heaven...

For the last three years, on a beautiful May day, we have released four pink balloons into the sky on the day Darcy was born.
I called them our "Love letters to Heaven."

But then... Gavin died this past April.  May came - and the day was as beautiful as ever.  We celebrated our sweet daughter, but there were no more balloons to Heaven.  

Everything changed.

It's so important to me to teach Brian that Heaven isn't this place in the sky.  I want him to feel Heaven all around him.  I want him to know that Gavin is accessible to him any time - and he doesn't need to be in an airplane to be the closest to him... or climb the highest tree... or send a love letter tied to a balloon string.  I feel like we'd be sending him a confusing message if we sent balloons to Gavin into the sky.

As I thought about it more, I also thought... well, duh, Kate... what goes up, must come down.  I wouldn't toss a deflated balloon onto the street or down on the ground in a park in front of Brian (or alone, for that matter.)  What are we teaching him if we send up balloons?  We're either lying to him by letting him think they will continue to climb and climb until they reach Heaven... or we're showing him that it's okay wherever they come down because, well, we can't see them anymore so it doesn't count.

I used to love the balloon idea.  And I am absolutely not judging those who still do.  At all.  One bit. But because of how we're handling Gavin's death around Brian - and because of how we explain Heaven to him - it just doesn't make sense to us anymore.

I don't think Brian will even miss the balloon release - it hasn't even occurred to him.  But... almost as if he could read our mind... he came out with this gem tonight at bedtime...

"Mama?  I'm so excited for Gavin's birthday weekend."

"Me too, buddy.  We're going to do lots of things that Gavin would have loved.  Swimming, sleeping in a hotel, rides at the amusement park..."

"And don't worry, Mama.  Pop and Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop and Daddy's Mommy and Daddy - they will all give Gavin a party in Heaven.  They have everything there - toys and cake and balloons and lots of other stuff.  But Gavin doesn't really eat cake, so Pop can have his cake."

"Pop would love his cake, Brian."

"And we can think about them here because we love them."

"Yes, we do.  And they are all around us taking care of us and each other."



"I miss Gavin."

"Me too, buddy.  Every day."


  1. After we lost our baby girl back in March I thought about releasing balloons on her due date in July but after talking to my husband we decided not to do it. My husband works on a ship that crosses Lake Michigan and he sees those deflated balloons all of the time. It definitely made me re-think that idea! I love reading your posts, it helps me in dealing with my grief. I hope you can find some peace in doing some of Gavin's favorite things for his birthday!

  2. Every single post makes me cry. But everyone can see that Gavin and Darcy were very loved and treasured. Your family are an inspiration to us all. Love and hugs to each and every one of you.

  3. I love reading your true and pure..the love you have for Darcy and Gavin is beautiful. .They are lucky to have you as you are them..Brian is so cute and beyond his yrs and Hope is going to have so much love around her. .just lovely.

  4. I blow bubbles up to heaven instead of releasing balloons. When my children were little they enjoyed thinking their brother was around us popping the balloons. I think it is a nice, symbolic, environmentally friendly way to celebrate birthdays, etc. :)


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