The plant my mom gave me recently in honor of the baby I lost.

My birthday is quickly drawing near, and with it comes the recognition that the first-year anniversary of my loss is approaching too.

Last year, as I was losing my unborn baby, I was doubly upset to be experiencing this loss on my birthday, of all days. What should have been a day of celebration was marred by death and sorrow.

This year, I’m not so bothered that the two share a date. Oddly, it makes me feel closer to my child, and the day has also become a symbol of what our lifetimes inevitably entail—joy and sorrow that intermingle with ceaseless cycles of life and death.

Lately I have been thinking of how unknown my baby was to others (and even to me), but he* is fully known by God, and now he knows God. And although he is largely unnamed to most people here on earth, God already had a named reserved for him that can never be renounced or taken away. Furthermore, although he was never able to claim a physical address here in this world, he has a permanent home beyond this earthly existence that can never be destroyed.

Thinking about these things brings fresh tears to my eyes and washes over me like a soothing balm that brings further healing to my soul. My baby is not forgotten. His life mattered. It still does.

So, on my birthday, I’ll do something special to remember him, if nothing else to make a silent statement to myself that his life mattered. It left an imprint on my heart that will last my lifetime, and I hope that the ways in which I am changing as a result of his brief life help me to influence others for the better, leaving a ripple effect of impact for eternity on his behalf.

*I lost my baby before discovering its gender, so it may have been a girl. I’ll only know once I reach heaven myself.