It has been three weeks since we lost Sam, it feels like it was just yesterday. We hopefully have only 3-4 weeks left of Charlie being in the NICU, it feels like forever. Time is fickle like that. I constantly find myself looking at a calendar and trying to comprehend how slowly and quickly days and hours have come and gone since October. I am ready for the light at the end of the tunnel to quit getting smaller – I’m ready for us as a family to be out in the open again.

We cremated Sam on January 4 – I made sure to be there to say goodbye to him and see him off. I needed the closure of it all. We wanted to always feel his presence at our home and for him to be with us forever. We chose to have three small collections of his ashes separated. One will go in the front yard of what would have been his home, under a new, strong tree to be planted this spring. The remaining two will be given to his brothers, John and Charlie, once they turn 18 – hopefully they can take Sam places they would have loved to show him and celebrate him as they choose fit. The main vessel will remain with Allison and I forever, always close by to remind us of his impact and our love toward our little boy.

I went back to work last week for the first time in over two weeks. It was extremely difficult to remain focused throughout the day and I was massively behind on items. It was also a challenge to navigate conversations with my coworkers. Who knew about Sam? Who didn’t know but wanted to check on the twins’ status? Who just wanted to ask me if I had a good holiday break and if I did anything fun? I have never been so short to people who were honestly just seeing how things were either out of genuine interest or habitual politeness. By day three word had spread enough that I was getting empathetic looks from across the way as I walked through the building. Those three days weren’t over fast enough.

We started formally making our guest room into John’s big boy room this past weekend. It is both exciting and devastating at the same time. There were supposed to be two cribs in this room – not just a twin bed. But, we have already filled the space with toys and books and plenty of room for John and Charlie to reenact their favorite Mickey Mouse Clubhouse scenes or have a wrestling match. It will be a happy room, fit for a toddler and his little brother to get into as much trouble as they can muster. We hope to have both rooms ready within the next few weeks to ensure Charlie has a safe and loving place to come home to.

Allison is a stay-at-home mother now and adjusting. She has been steadfast in her dedication to Charlie and is pouring her heart and soul into breastfeeding and caring for him at the hospital. The fifteen minute drives to and from our house can take a toll, but she pushes forward to ensure he has the best available care and love from his mother. I continue to be impressed with Allison’s tenacity and I love her more every day. She celebrated her birthday last week, it was hopefully the hardest one she ever has to go through.

All-in-all, time is something we have a newfound respect for after the past few months. It can go by in the blink of an eye when things are right in your world, and it can come to a screeching halt when not. All we can ask for is as much time as possible with our family and friends and as few minutes as necessary for the times without. I know I will keep looking at the calendar, I’m just ready to have a smile on my face when I do.