Time itself tells us that it can heal us of our grief. That ‘in time’, we may not hurt as much. But I’m sitting here three years after I last held you in my arms and my tears still find a way to fall onto the letters as I type. Because three years without you is a haunting reminder of the three year old you should now be . . . . .
You’d be cheeky, for sure. You and your little sister shared the same image as newborns and I look at her now and can picture your three year old self perfectly. You’d be of nursery age. O how I wish I could park the car to pick you up and you’d tell me all about your day. Your voice!! We’d be having conversations now and you’d be singing along to your favourite Disney movies. Maybe you’d even like dressing up as your favourite Disney princess and costing us a fortune in outfits! It breaks my heart that you are not here yet life never explained to us why you had to leave. . . .
Another year. More reflection.
I watched Iola playing with a baby doll the other week. She was being so sweet; stroking it’s head, talking quietly in ‘2 year old language’ and I found myself sitting on the sofa crying because the way she was with her little doll would have been the way you’d have been with her. It’s in those moments when I miss you the most. Iola is a constant reminder of how blessed we are, yet she brings me the most heartache in ways I sometimes don’t even completely understand myself. She is doing well and growing up into the most beautiful little girl. Have you heard her practising your name? We’re not quite there yet (she pronounces your name “E-la-la-wyn) but she’ll have it perfected soon – I promise.
She’s learning all about you. We tell her all about you. Every day without fail. It was only two weeks ago I stood with her beneath a rainbow and I told her how they were your little ‘hello’s’ to which she responded with a “E-la-la-wyn, hellooooo.” Unlike your brother, she’s seen your photograph. She often looks at it on my phone and will cuddle and kiss the screen whilst squealing, “Baby!” She tells me you’re sleeping and for Mummy to “shhhhh!”. It is heartwarming to see her creating her bond with you, yet heartbreaking to know that one day I will have to tell her that you never had the chance to wake up. . . . .
Your brother is now seven. Every year I worry that he’ll suddenly want to speak about you less. That as a growing boy, talking about you will fall more and more to the back of his mind. But he always finds ways to ease my worries.
He now knows your photograph exists and he’s seen your beautiful painted portrait many times. But he’s happy with his own image of you that he has in his mind. I’ve told him that if he would ever like to see you, he can. And he told me that he will one day but that we don’t always need to see somebody in order to love them. Your brother is wise beyond his years, sometimes! And still incredibly proud of you. . . .
Your Ela Bear teddy still goes to bed with him every night and he makes sure it’s the first teddy that goes into his suitcase when we go away. He often teaches Iola about you and makes us laugh when he rolls his eyes and exclaims, “I bet Evalyn wouldn’t have been this much trouble” when Iola’s running away with his homework or toys in hand. He’s helped us raise money for babyloss charties and proudly wears a shirt emblazoned with your name as he does so. He even wants to help me choose your birthday cake this year (although I’m pretty sure he’ll use you against me to pick the biggest one. He might be a proud big brother, but he’s also a 7 year old who loves cake)!
As for myself and your daddy? Sometimes we’re ok. Other times we’re not. But that is the way it’s supposed to be, my darling. For how can we be anything else without you?
I guess you could say I’ve had a ‘quiet’ year. I’ve hibernated into myself a bit. I’ve focused on looking after your siblings and your Daddy. I’ve done the odd bit of photography but mainly I’ve focused on looking after our family. That’s been enough for me. Parenting all three of you in different ways has shown me that I can’t get these moments back. To be able to have the opportunity to breathe them in and savour each one is somewhat of a blessing.
Did you see we were finalists at The Butterfly Awards this year for our blog? That was a pretty big Mummy and daughter moment! So often I feel that as your Mummy, I have failed you in many ways. Not being able to somehow save you. Not being able to bring you home. Promising to do things in your name and then being swallowed up by anxiety. But this? This made me proud of the fact I continue to speak your name. This made me proud that, three years on, we can still tell our story. No amount of years that pass will change that. Grief in itself is a huge confidence killer, but my confidence in myself to be able to go out and achieve new things is slowly coming back. It’s only taken three years, ey? But Mummy has ideas and plans and next year I hope to continue to keep making you proud.
Daddy’s year has been less quiet. With the start up of SANDS United Solent along with full time work, he’s been busy. But he always finds more beautiful ways to make you proud. He’s been tired. He’s been injured. But he does it for you. He proudly wears his football shirt with your name. He finds ways to raise awareness in any way he can. He makes sure your siblings both learn more about you and keep speaking your name because you are forever a part of our family. He makes sure you are a part of every family occasion or day trip out. He manages to help me through my harderst days even though they are hard for him too. It’s fair to say that your Daddy is incredibly proud of you.
We all are.
We always will be.
And I need you to know that that will never change. . . . .
I miss you with all of my heart. I need you more than anything. I love you more than I can explain.
And I always will do.