Today my precious Michael should have been turning 6. Graduating prep in a few weeks. Excitedly writing a Christmas list with his mis-spelt, uneven, oversized handwriting. He should be excited about having a party with his friends. The same prep kids I see at Jadis and Charley’s school in their tiny uniforms and huge backpacks who tear my heart out every time I see them. They should be the ones happy to be coming. To celebrate with a child they never even knew existed. A child who often feels, even to me, like he never existed. But he did. I had dreams for him. For us. For me. I thought I would be celebrating a birth not a funeral. Awake at night with an unsettled, crying baby, not eyes swollen with tears, in a house that was eerily quiet. I should have been looking at his hand me down clothes, fondly remembering them being worn by his brothers. Instead i having them in the back shed, where I am unable to even look at them as they are now tainted with memories of the boy who never wore them, not just the ones who did.
6 years ago my innocence was shattered. I never knew a babies heart could stop beating before they were even born. That was something hidden away at the back of a book in the small print wasn’t it? Not the things you see happen in real life. Not the ones that happen to you. And even if I had known it was possible it could happen to me, I could never have imagined the life long effects it would have.
I never knew it was possible to miss someone you didn’t know. But I do. I hear people use his name for a different child when I’m out in public. I kiss 3 sleeping heads each night instead of 4.
I realise that this doesn’t go away. It doesn’t get less. It won’t get easier. I learn to adapt. I keep things to myself. I cope without outwardly freaking out. My tears mostly fall on the inside, occasionally overflowing down my cheeks.
This week I’ll visit the cemetery with a picnic like we do every year. A cake and candles, parents, brothers and a sister to sing happy birthday.
But this week, like every other, I’ll remember you. Wonder who you would have been. Brown eyes or blue? Blonde hair or brown? Imagine your smile as you run out of school with your first birthday award. The smiles as you opened your presents. Your exhaustion after your party, and your eagerness to get up the next day and keep on living life full of energy like a 6 year old should.
I will remember you, just how you were, it’s all I have. Like a mother should. Like any mother would.