Today is nothing special. It’s not your birthday or an anniversary, it’s not Christmas or Easter or any particular celebration where I feel your loss more deeply. It’s a Friday and I’m sat here at the laptop, trying to plough my way through my To Do List, to get on top of the work I have allowed to pile up over the last few weeks, and yet I simply cannot find the words to write today. Because what I really want to say, and what I wish that I could share with you, is that my heart is hurting right now, an undeniable ache in my chest which reminds me that, although eleven years have passed, time shall forever be irrelevant when it comes to missing you.
We visited you this afternoon, Megan, Harry and I. We drove down to the cemetery, a route that I could drive with my eyes closed, and brought you flowers, the brightest yellows and pinks that we could find. And whilst your brother and sister ran amongst the many, many, graves that have joined you over the last decade, in just the same way that Lewis did at that age, I sat beside you, lovingly arranging your flowers, and asked myself, for the millionth time, why?
A little while ago a friend asked me why I continue to visit your grave when it causes me so much sadness. “You can think of him anywhere!” she told me, “You can talk to him wherever you like, buy him flowers and keep them at home, you don’t need to put yourself through this?”. And I knew that she was right, I could think of you anywhere, I could feel close to you by going through your memory box in the bottom of the wardrobe, by looking at your photos, your tiny little babygros, by reminding myself that you live on in the siblings I hold in my arms. And believe me when I say that I do.
I feel your presence everywhere, in the big brother that you so resembled, in the sound of your sisters laughter, the soulful eyes of your baby brother, in the rainbows that brighten my day and the feathers that fall at my feet. I don’t have to trudge down to the cemetery, I don’t have to sit and cry at a dusty grave, nor do I have to torture myself with the all consuming grief when, inevitably, I have to leave you there alone.
And yet the truth is, I need to.
I need to stand at your grave and take myself back to that hot summers day when I stood beside your Dad, my eyes never leaving your coffin, wondering how it could even be possible that my son, my baby, was in there so still. I need to remember the way in which your Dads arms shook from holding you for so long, how I had to swallow a feeling of hysteria that rose in my throat at the tears which pooled on the end of his nose, too scared to reach up and wipe them for fear that the sudden movement would bring me back to earth.
I need to remember the faces of our family and friends, the hushed cries and the flurry of tissues, the way that their eyes willed us to get through it, to hold it together for just a moment longer. I need to remember the warmth of the sun on my face, the feel of the grass beneath my feet, the words of the vicar which drifted in and out of my head, how every so often the sound of my own cries jolted me out of my daze. And I need to remember how Lewis had clung to your Grandparents hands, the way he had stood, so patiently holding a balloon, his little face lifted up to the skies, looking for the baby brother who never made it home.
There are days when I simply need to feel that pain, to cry those tears and feel that my heart is breaking, just to remind myself that I haven’t forgotten. I need to prove to myself that no matter how many years have passed, I still feel that pain just as strongly as I did right there in the moment, to comfort myself with the fact that I can remember it just like yesterday, that I haven’t forgotten even one precious moment of that time with you.
And perhaps subconsciously, having reached a point in my life where I have been trying so hard to accept the past and let go of that sadness, this is my way of clawing it back a little. To know that whilst I smile and laugh and thoroughly enjoy my life with your siblings, all of that heartache and anger and outright devastation that you never opened your eyes and took your first breath, is still right there.
Because I think that for those of us missing our babies, it’s always better to feel something, even when that something is sadness, than to feel nothing at all.
Today is nothing special. It’s just another Friday without you.
I miss you.
Love you always,