Twelve Years in Heaven and a Sweet Release

(Thank you, Crystal, for remembering our sweet Thomas with the cupcake above!)

It has been twelve years since I held you in my arms, sweet Thomas…

There are so many things I wish I could tell you, so much I wish I could have done with the short time we were given…

I cannot believe how much a heart can ache for someone who was only here for nine months (in the womb) and six hours in my arms (part of the time, anyway)….

As you know, most of the time, I avoid the cemetery…you know I’d much rather think of you in heaven, where you truly are…safe in the arms of Jesus. The cemetery is a place I’d rather forget. It brings me no comfort.

And, yet…today, it seemed like we should go…

Sometimes years have passed without my feet stepping onto the sacred ground where countless tears have spilled…

But, today we went.

Today, I was surprised by the severity of the pain bubbling up between us, the ache of all that was missing swelling around our hearts as we held each other beside your grave…

Today, we remembered every part of what we are missing.

I meant to only celebrate your life, the gift and preciousness of you…

The promise of our forever reunion…

The hope we have in Jesus.

I meant for it to be a day like many others, full of light-hearted joy.

But it wasn’t.

I’ve watched others do so many things to celebrate the lives of their babies…beautiful, wonderful, life-honoring things.

Things that I never did…

Some years we made a birthday cake, or cupcakes, or Ginny’s cookies and quietly sang happy birthday. Our celebrations or remembrances were private…and we have always been protective of those sacred memories. Many years, we silently remembered or mentioned the day briefly. Of course we have never forgotten…we will never forget.

But, I never released balloons or anything grand and lovely.

Today, I decided it wasn’t too late to honor every year that passed without a balloon release. So, I ordered twelve baby blue balloons for you, sweet boy…one for each year you have spent in heaven’s glory.

We attached messages to you…birthday wishes…words of love…bible verses…

And, we sent them up toward heaven…along with the dreams in our hearts…

We all released balloons… but I won’t be posting all the pictures…some things are still sacred and private.

Today was filled with memories, regrets, beauty from ashes, gratefulness, celebration of your life, and the comfort of the enduring love that carries this family…

Today was filled with sweet release…

As we watched the balloons floating up toward heaven, we remembered not only the beautiful boy we have been missing since you left our arms twelve years ago…but the love that came straight from heaven…the same love that will carry us home one day…the same love that carried you home twelve years ago…

The light of hope shone through the clouds…as it always does.

The hope of heaven…

The promise that we believe…even when we don’t see…and we will keep on believing…and dreaming our dreams of you, until we see you and hold you again some sweet day…

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
~ John 20:29

We love you, Thomas! Happy Birthday…and thank you for the gift of you…


  1. What a beautiful way to honor your previous Thomas. Even if you hadn't visited the cemetary or done the release, your words alone are such a beautiful way testimony of the love you have for your son and the work the Lord has done in your life. You are such a wonderful Mommy, to ALL your children! Lots of love, Sarah

  2. Such a beautiful balloon release for Thomas. You have lovely words and so much love. Happy birthday to Thomas and I love the cupcake from Crystal.

  3. Michelle Karr says:

    You brought tears to my eyes! What a precious day. I can feel your love for Thomas in your words.

  4. Kim @ Peace of my Heart says:

    I love the last picture and your words, "The promise that we believe…even when we don't see…" My heart is aching and rejoicing with you, Kelly.

    Much love to you today,

  5. The Writer Chic says:

    Kelly, you are always so strong for all of us, sometimes I actually forget you waled this road first, and in triplicate. Praying peace over you tonight.

  6. You are right Kelly, it is never too late. Happy Birthday Thomas, a boy with such a short life that inspired such a sacred ministry. We are all grateful for you.

  7. Jennifer says:

    Happy Birthday Thomas! These were beautiful words tonight! Thank you for sharing Thomas with us. I have been blessed by you on so many occasions and tonight is no exception. You walk this lonely road with so much grace. That grace can only come from the hope we are given by our Lord and Savior. I am praying for your family tonight!

  8. Kristin says:

    Oh, Kelly, that was beautiful. The picture of the sky brought tears to my eyes! Happy Birthday to your Thomas.

  9. What a beautiful post and a glorious picture at the end!

    Bittersweet as today would be, I just love the way you celebrated his sweet little life!!

    Thinking of you!

  10. croleyc69 says:

    What a beautiful post. I loved all the pictures.
    Happy Birthday Thomas !!

    {{HUGS}} and Prayers

  11. Sarita Boyette says:

    what a sweet birthday celebration for Thomas! You have had 12 years of loving and missing Thomas, 12 years of knowing he is with the Lord. I know you heart aches for him and rejoices, too, that he will be there to welcome you Home one day. (((HUGS))) to all of you.

  12. Trisha Larson says:

    Happy Birthday sweet Thomas!!!!

    We don't go to the cemetary either. We've only been once in 2+ years and haven't even ordered Nate's headstone yet. The whole thing just makes me sad and hopeless. I too would rather picture images of Heaven…that brings me hope for a future!!!!

    The photos of the balloons rising into the clouds look like the images of Heaven they portray in books. Beautiful…just beautiful!!!


  13. Kelly,
    The love you have for your children is so evident. I just know the love and care put into each note, balloon and release is more than you can put into words, but you do such a lovely job. Happy Birthday Thomas!

  14. Happy Birthday Thomas!

    What a sweet, tender description, the love is evident. For some reason when I see those pictures it makes me think of the hymn "When we all get to Heaven". Oh what a day of rejoicing that will be!

  15. Jennifer Ross says:

    Happy Birthday to sweet Thomas! What an exciting celebration. Beautiful balloons… and the pictures of the sky were amazing…. truly made by the hands of God…. just like your sweet Thomas. Tears streamed down my face as I went through each picture. Thank you for sharing these moments with us.

    I am so sorry that I missed the day of his birthday and yours too. I just can't seem to keep up with my life. I miss the time I used to get to spend on everybody's blogs. It wasn't just a comfort for me, but I was able to encourage others as well.

    I'll continue to trust in Him… just as you do.

    Take care friend,

  16. Happy Birthday Thomas! And thank you for sharing what you did. I love how you did the balloon release for him and it made me tear up!

  17. Lynnette Kraft says:

    I've always thought balloon releases were neat. I've never actually done that for my own and I think it's a really special idea.

    I didn't realize that Thomas and Anna were born so close to each other!

    It sounds like a difficult but special day. I'm glad you sent the 12 balloons up and thought of your Thomas.

    Love you Kelly.

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