**Trigger: this post refers to pregnancy/baby after loss **
We went on our second holiday without you this month. Last year, on our first holiday without you, we found out we were pregnant with your sister and this year she was right there with us. But don’t think for a single moment you weren’t missed.
My God, you were missed.
Will it ever get any easier? Will I ever be able to experience a family occasion without wanting to cry for the first 24 hours? I packed Iola’s suitcase wondering to myself what it would have felt like to have packed yours and seeing as – in true little sister form – Iola has ‘borrowed’ some of your baby grows and blankets, it felt like I was packing for the both of you.
You were there with us every day. The seventeen months that have passed since our Goodbye can’t erase our love for you or how much we miss you. . . .
You were there when Ieuan shouted out that he couldn’t find Ela Bear and that he needed to find her so that it would feel like you were there with us (it turns out she was hiding under his bed). You were there when he then went on to excitedly exclaim that he couldn’t wait for our first holiday as a family of five and my heart warmed a little with his words.
You were there when your Daddy and I made sure that we didn’t leave the house without making sure we were both wearing your ashes necklaces. . . .
You were there when we finally got to meet our fellow loss parent friends and we spent the day talking about our girls. It has been a meeting that has been a long time coming and I feel so grateful that you and their little girl have brought us a friendship that I know will continue to be strong throughout the years to come. . .
You were there when I accidentally called Iola by your name and Ieuan laughed at me and told me that you would be laughing at me too. . . .
You were there that one night Iola’s teething got so bad that me and Daddy took turns to sleep with her in the lounge so she wouldn’t wake your brother. I laid there awake, looking up at the ceiling with Iola’s hand in my own and you on repeat in my mind. That’s the only way I can feel close to you both. But you were there, right at the forefront of my thoughts. . . .
You were there when I sat by the pool with Iola on my lap and the mother next to me asked if she was my only child.
“No, I have three,” I told her, “Two girls and a boy.”
She smiled and didn’t probe me any further but in that moment I almost wished she would have done because I wanted more than anything to talk about you and say your name out loud. Some days those questions from strangers can paralyse me, but in that moment I craved it. Maybe I felt guilty that we were enjoying a holiday and you weren’t there? Maybe by talking about you I could make you truly know that you were there with us? Maybe I don’t need to explain myself to you at all? . . . .
The truth is, I enjoyed Iola’s first holiday. But there is a part of me that feels incredibly guilty. And I know that that guilt is not something I need to carry with me. But it is something that I can never put to one side because that guilt at my own moments of happiness comes from the fact that you are not here to share that happiness with me.
My beautiful girl, please know that I carried you with me, just as I did when you were inside my tummy. You were as much a part of our family holiday as the experience itself.
You were there with us, Evalyn.
You will always be there.