My darling boy,
Forgive me. Forgive me for not writing this sooner. For not doing more, for not being more. My instinct is to blame myself for not being a good enough parent to you, for being too consumed by life, by my inability to keep the plates spinning. I feel like I’m failing in every aspect of life at the moment and a lot of guilt surrounds that, especially when it comes to you. But honestly, it’s taken an extra thirteen days to sit and do this because I’m afraid. Two years later and the words are so much more difficult to get out. Everything I’ve ever wanted or needed to say has already been said. Words and tears feel like they’re fighting their way through layers and layers of wool. It all gets through eventually but in the meantime I’ve just been absorbing it all.
The last two weeks have been heavy laden with memories and trauma. Most of which I thankfully, don’t remember. My brain seems to have just closed the doors on them. But this day, this day when we did the unimaginable and said goodbye to you, I remember clearly.
I remember sitting on the edge of the sofa waiting; indulging my grief as I listened to your songs and feeling my body shake and heave. Watching the car door open with the most awful knot of anticipation and fear, seeing your beautiful, too-tiny coffin for the first time. My legs buckling underneath me and falling into your daddy, him catching me and not letting go.
Feeling a bizarre sense of calm wash over us as we sat either of you, our hands clasped over the top of you, protecting you and surrounding you with love. The gratitude we felt when they pulled over and got out to allow us time with you alone. Seeing the faces of our family, your family, twisted and pained with grief as we drove through the crematorium gates. Trying my hardest to look like I wasn’t falling apart at the seams.
My morbidly favourite memory of your daddy holding your coffin so tightly and comfortably, as though it wasn’t the heaviest, most difficult thing he had ever done. Your uncle coming to him and asking to help in the gentle, eager way he does, giving you a little loving pat.
The service itself is a strange blur, punctuated with crystal clear moments. Not wanting to step back from your coffin to sit down, hearing the words we had written for you read so lovingly by our vicar, trying desperately to catch my breath between heavy sobs and feeling your daddy’s arm so fiercely clamped around me. Not being able to breathe as the curtain closed around you. Trying so hard to be present in that moment, to absorb every detail, every raised swirl on your coffin, the shine of the plaque, the way the sweet peas from your granny’s garden sat on the top. Forcing myself to embrace the bubbling of utter disbelief and devastation in the pit of my stomach. Forcing myself to remember you wrapped up in your blankets in the hospital with your Peter Rabbit, or tucked up in the Moses basket when your Nana and I went to visit you three days after you were born. Not to wonder what you looked like now, knowing it wouldn’t be the same.
Emerging into the sunshine afterwards, my fear of having nothing left to do for you but live our lives coming true. Our family looking at us to take the lead but feeling like a children, not knowing what we were meant to do next.
Walking into a pub knowing people must have realised we had been to a funeral and wondering what their faces would look like if we told them who for. Watching our family talk and move around us clutching your daddy’s hand all the time, itching to leave and return to the safety of home but knowing this was exactly what we needed to be doing. Coming home and crawling into bed with your daddy slightly buzzed from an afternoon to saying yes to every glass of fizz offered. Sobering up as the reality of the day settled, sobbing into eachother and hanging on for dear life.
As painful as these memories are, I want to remember them. I need to. Our moments with you are so few and so precious so I want to cling onto them. Our last day with your physical being and although at the time I thought it was the end of you, I know it wasn’t. Your energy is everywhere and your memory is as alive two years later as it was thirteen days after. Only now it is more gentle, molded into lives, woven into every beat of our hearts and breath we take.
Two years later and it doesn’t get easier. My heart still aches for you. My grief for you still pulls the rug out from under me, sucker punches me and leaves me struggling to catch my breath and slow my heart. I see you in your sister. I worried she would lose it as she gets older but sometimes she’ll fall asleep in the back of the car, her mouth slightly dropped and I’ll catch sight of her in the mirror and I smile, my heart so full of love for her and for you.
You are so loved, my sweet Pea, and I miss you more than I can ever say. We will carry you forever.
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