Yesterday we had our family and a few other close friends over to plant Maxie's tree in our front yard.  The Moyel at Maxie's bris told us of a lovely tradition. He suggested that we keep Maxie's foreskin and then on his first birthday we could plant a tree and bury it in the dirt.  The tree would then grow along with Max.  When the time would come, years down the road, we could take a branch of the tree and use it in the huppah that Maxie and his bride would stand under at their wedding.  So you see, we always planned on planting a tree for Maxie's first birthday.  I kept the piece of skin in a little bit of tinfoil in my jewelry box over this past year.  When I took it out yesterday, I realized that inside was a little piece of my baby's flesh.  That and a few wisps of hair are all I have left of his physical body.  I pulled it out of the box and stuck it in my pocket just as people began to arrive.  The weight of that fact felt so heavy in my heart, it was hours before I felt like I could breathe.  Yesterday, like every other day, the horror and sorrow of losing my Max nearly knocked me to my knees.  We gathered everyone in the front yard and Ted explained the history of why we were planting the tree, a beautiful olive tree to memorialize our most loved baby.  The men pulled the tree into the hole that was dug in the ground.  We talked about which way it should face and how it would look best.  We said the Mourner's Kaddish together and then Ted read a poem.  Afterwards, we released some beautiful monarch butterflies that I hope will fly up to the sky to meet my Max.  It wasn't the way we should have celebrated my little one's first birthday.  It wasn't what we planned.  It is what it is though and it was the best we could do.  We love him today and every day.  Happy Birthday Max!  You are in my every breathe, my every thought, my every moment.  I love you more than words.

* You can plant a tree for Max too -

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