Here we are again. Another year on and another year apart. I sat and thought for a long time about what I wanted to write to you. Sometimes the words have come freely and at other times, they’ve been harder to find. Because when all is said and done, I only have one burning question.
How are you turning five years old?
Every year I write you a letter on your birthday and yet, I’m struggling to get my head around the fact that we’ve reached half a decade. I’ve learnt alot in five years. About myself. About grief. But life’s lessons don’t make the fact you’re not here any easier.
I should have a five-year-old. Instead, I have a missing piece.
In some ways, this year felt harder than others. I always remember when we were with you at the hospital and my mind was racing with thoughts of everything life had robbed you of doing. The one milestone I fixated on at the time was you starting school, but I tried to put it to the back of my mind. At that point, we hadn’t even said our goodbye and it seemed so far away.
Until this year.
Do you know how hard it was to drop your big brother off at school without you? How many shops I had to walk out of because the ‘starting school’ stock lined the entrance way? How many times I’ve been triggered by a pencil case on a shelf, or a white school uniform shirt. Even your brother’s own school. After all, that’s where you would have attended too. It’s easy to paint on a smile in front of others whilst passing by the reception class. But the version of me who climbed back into my car afterwards was so broken at times. So tired. So lost. There were times this past September when I loathed the world a little bit more. You should never had had your chance taken away to make school friends, my darling. To learn and grow.Those experiences should have been yours to claim.
Your siblings are doing well. Your brother (who is now nine years old) still sleeps with Ela Bear every night. It’s got to the point now where I wonder if he always will. He is happy to have conversations about you but he is your more reserved sibling. The quieter one. And I often think that Ela Bear is his way of holding you close and keeping your connection strong. He brings her down at breakfast time and snuggles up to her tightly at night. Or if we’re watching a film, he’ll always make sure that she’s somewhere on the sofa, quietly joining in. Forever a part of our family.
Your sister, on the other hand, is not reserved nor quiet. I often wonder what messages you left within me for her to find. Did you write her a note that said live your life to the full for me? Because, I can assure you she is! She wants to try everything. She is strong willed and independent and has a creative side that is longing to burst free. She is also growing up and in doing so, is learning even more about you.
She knows you live in the sky and she has ALOT of questions about that. Not all of them are easy to answer. The past month has brought with it some of the following:
Why does Evalyn live in the sky, mummy?
Can Evalyn come to soft play?
Will she ever come back?
I wish Evalyn was here so we could play dolls.
I miss Evalyn.
It’s easy to curse the world when words like this come out of the mouth of a three-year-old. And with every question and each time I sit her down to explain, it hurts. You two should be here together. On the one hand, it’s beautiful to know that your little sister has so much love for you, but it’s heartbreaking that she also has to know the pain of living without you. You are so very missed by all of us in all our own, unique ways.
As for mummy and daddy, we’re doing ok. Life was never going to be easy without you. Five years doesn’t erase the pain but it has helped us adapt. It’s given us an understanding of knowing the dark clouds are always going to roll in but that there is a certain happiness to be found within this new world without you. Alot of those happy moments come for you and because of you. In remembering you and living for you. In trying to keep to the promises we made you.
But there are moments, my sweet girl, when I can just sit and get lost in the memory of you. It’s not hard to do. When you love someone as much as I love you, those memories are full of colour. And I often take myself back to those moments when I held you and kissed you. I can still remember the softness of your tiny ear against my lips as if I am with you in this very moment. Those memories are powered by a mothers love. Memories like that will never fade. I wish they had a different ending but I hold them close all the same. And I always will.
I miss you so much, Evalyn. We miss you so much.
Five years ago you made me the proudest mummy and five years later, you still make me proud.
I love you with all of my heart and I always will