The last couple of weeks have been tough, I’ve been feeling all kinds of emotions, none of which I can find the words to explain exactly how so. I think if I was asked for one word to sum up how I have been feeling, I would simply say, sad.
I’m sad that for the last few weeks I have scrolled through social media, or looked out of my window, and seen all of the children heading off to high school on their very first day, knowing that my son is not.
It’s hard for me to imagine that tiny little baby who I held in my arms all dressed up in a shirt and tie, his blazer sleeves trailing by his finger tips, a rucksack almost as big as he.
It’s hard to imagine how I would have straightened his collar, kissed his cheek, told him to have a wonderful day and watched him walk away with his big brother, another milestone passed.
It’s impossible to imagine a moment such as that without feeling a familiar lump in my throat, the dull ache in my belly, the longing to know, even for just one moment, what he would have been like.
And whilst I have gone about my days as normal, a smile on my face, laughing and joking with the children, I have struggled with that sadness, battling between the feeling of wanting to wallow in it for a moment longer and searching for a point where it doesn’t hurt quite so much.
For a long time I saw our loss as something that was just devastating and tragic, something that had destroyed our lives in a number of ways. When we lost Joseph there was such an out pouring of grief that any joy at meeting him, any pride at how utterly perfect he was, that this beautiful little boy was finally here in our arms, was completely over shadowed by the sadness that he wasn’t ours to keep.
Back then, if you had asked me to describe how I felt about Joseph I would have told you, without a moments hesitation, that I felt cheated. I would have told you just how much I missed him, how my heart ached with the weight of our loss, how every second of every day pained me to accept that he was not here.
I would have told you that I felt sorry that I couldn’t save him, that we didn’t get to take him home, to watch him grow, that in losing him we lost the future we had planned and the life we had known.
And it is only over recent weeks I have realised that rather than feeling sorry, it is far easier, and far healthier, to feel grateful.
And I am grateful; for that indescribable feeling of joy when we saw those two lines on a test, for the first time we saw him on a scan, for the first time I felt those gentle kicks. I’m grateful for the happiness we felt at learning we would have another son, how adorable it had been for Lewis to kiss my belly and exclaim, “Joses!”.
I’m grateful for the days we decorated the nursery, for our excitement at picking out all of those outfits we had hoped he would wear, the months we spent agonising over his name, lying awake night after night imagining all that he would be.
I’m grateful for the moment he came silently into the world, for the precious hours we spent together, for every single second of holding him in my arms, drinking him all in, making memories to last a lifetime. I’m grateful that we were blessed with a baby so beautiful, so perfect and so utterly precious as he.
So whilst I’m sorry that we had to say goodbye, that hearts were broken and dreams destroyed, I will always be grateful that he was mine, that moments were shared and memories made. I am grateful that right now, eleven years down the line, I am everything I am supposed to be and exactly where I am meant to be.
There’s a beautiful quote I read this week which resonated so loudly with me,
“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.”
And with four beautiful babies in my arms, I’m ready to move forward with a grateful heart, finally letting go of some of that sadness, learning to accept that, although life has undoubtedly been tough and there will still be days when our loss is all consuming, it is possible to be happy, to enjoy every moment, and to find peace in a life after loss.