Last night I had a little bit of a breakdown. I was doing our taxes, and I actually really enjoy doing our taxes, sick I know, but there is something about it that I find fun! (maybe that we usually get a refund!) Anyhow there was more to it than just the stress of numbers and money. The year Isaac died I remember calling an accountant to see if we could "claim" him and it seemed kind of wrong. He had a birth certificate, and a social security number, but I was told that because he hadn't lived with us for six months that we could not claim him (I have since learned that this was bad information and completely untrue). Anyway, I remember being upset that he would never be claimed on our taxes as our dependent, our child. I know this likely sounds nuts, but he was here and he mattered and I thought he should count. Needless to say we just let it go and did not "claim" him.
This year as I sat down with W2s, 1099s, 1098s, social security numbers, and contribution statements, I again knew that for some reason this would be harder than I had anticipated. I started crying. 2008 was Asher's year. He was here. He lived. I have struggled for a while because for some reason, we never received a birth certificate for Asher. He was born alive, his heart beat for 35 minutes, he breathed intermittently for 35 minutes and yet there is NO documentation saying that he lived. I have a death certificate and a cremation certificate. I wanted a birth certificate, even if it meant that I would receive one that was already stamped with the word DECEASED.
When I told Howard about how I felt about all of this he said, in true Howard form, "We don't need documentation to tell us our son lived, Kristy, we know that. It is just a piece of paper." A piece of paper? Maybe...but an important one. A document that verifies that a person lived, that they were here. Asher was here and darn it I think he should have a birth certificate.
As I sat there filling in our dependents, I thought to myself, this is wrong, Asher was here, 2008 was his year and there should be documentation somewhere that he existed and he mattered. So I looked into tax law myself and found that we could in fact claim him. This had nothing to do with money for me...it had to do with documenting the fact that he LIVED! Albeit for 35 minutes, a very short time, but he lived and he mattered. He is a part of this family and in 2008 he was here, tangible, living. I was so excited and yet felt so silly for being excited about such a thing. We had to dig out the hospital records that documented his life and send them in with our taxes, but for some crazy reason, I felt victorious, like I was able to affirm the fact that his life, though brief, was real, and it mattered and that the US government would have to acknowledge that.
I do also have to admit though that claiming him increases our refund quite a bit and I felt kind of strange about that. I told Howard and we talked about it and we really feel very blessed. You see, this year our refund was set to pay for Asher's gravestone and a few bills that NEED to be paid off, but once we found out we were expecting a new baby, we were torn. We will need three new car seats to fit across the small backseat of our small car and so we were torn as to whether we should use the money to buy the car seats or the gravestone. It felt like a strange choice to have to make and now we don't have to make it. Asher's refund will go toward his gravestone and the rest of the money will be spent on car seats and bills. God does always provide! One thing we have learned is that whenever we are faced with a seemingly impossible decision to make, we pray for Him to guide us and He always does!
Thank you all so much for your continued prayers and support!
Thanks for your comments...I had debated whether or not to put this out there, knowing some would think it wasn't right to claim a baby who had died, but I knew there were likely other moms out there going through the same thing. It really isn't about the money...it is about recognizing an important life.
For those who asked you can go here: IRS WEBSITE to see the law. I called HR Block and since I didn't have a birth certificate I needed to have hospital records saying that he lived and wasn't stillborn. Parents of stillborn babies are not able to claim their children, which I guess is something there are a lawsuits fighting now, so hopefully that will be amended in the future, because those lives count as much as any!
1 day ago