This time last year, I was in the very early stages of pregnancy with Evalyn.
I think back to the woman I was then, the excitement I felt when I found out we were expecting. We had spent so many months being disappointed but there it was – two lines on the test!! – and when I hurriedly ran downstairs to tell Nick, we held eachother for the longest time and cried. We cried with happiness at the new life we’d created, but also with slight relief knowing that the stress of trying for a baby was finally over. We were going to be a family of four!
That was the way it was meant to be.
I should be sitting here with my four month old daughter in my arms. In my mind, I can sometimes picture the two of us together so clearly that my heart aches for the little girl I will never get to know. She would’ve had so many firsts already; her first Christmas, her first smile, her first laugh. I would’ve walked her in her pram to go and pick Ieuan up from school and Nick would’ve come home from work and asked how his ‘girls’ had enjoyed their day together. Her early baby clothes would already be too big for her . . . . .
Move on? That’s what some people will tell you. That’s what some people want you to do. I think, in their minds, losing Evalyn was the hard part and now we can try and move on and piece ourselves back together again . . . . all things get better in time, right? But losing Evalyn wasn’t, in some ways, the hardest part. Living without her is. And you know what? There is no moving on from this. I can’t move on from my daughter when I will spend my life carrying her in my heart. She will always be one of the biggest parts of us.
Even if I wanted to, life just won’t let me move on from Evalyn. Because this year there will be constant reminders of her and where we were just twelve months ago. This year is the “this time last year” year. We will hit certain dates and I will think of Evalyn; the date I first heard her little heartbeat, her scan dates, the date we put her nursery together. The date we lost her. Then there will be all the dates after; her due date, her funeral date, the date when we scattered her ashes.
It’s not just our own reminders either. We have friends due babies this year and we have friends whose babies will celebrate their first birthdays. I am always happy for the blessings life has given them, but we should be having those moments too. But Evalyn won’t crawl for the first time nor will she grow her first tooth, take her first steps or have a first birthday party. And I’ve realised that it’s near impossible to try and move forward when life keeps knocking me sideways with little ‘evalyn reminders’. At the moment, the world keeps turning but I’m reluctant to move at the same pace.
I’ve realised that 2017 is far from a year of ‘moving on’. Instead, it will be a year of learning to cope. Myself and my family will have to learn to cope without Evalyn. We will have to learn a new way to try and be happy without her here. We will have to cope with all of those dates that take us back to last year and try and push through all of those hard days yet to come. We will have to cope with our friends new arrivals throughout the year and deal with watching our friends children reaching milestones that Evalyn will never accomplish. And I know it’s going to be hard. It already is. But I am not a bitter person and I refuse to let life make me that way.
I know that I will learn to cope . . . . eventually. Learning to cope will come first.
Moving on, comes second – if at all.