Almost three and a half years ago I was thrown into the world of the grieving parent. At the time, I was in a highly alert state, taking words that were said to me and dissecting them one by one. Sometimes people said things that I found confusing, and maybe even hurtful. I started reading…
When my Husband and I lost our firstborn Son in June 2011, I knew we would always do something each year to remember the day he was born still. He may have only lived inside of me for 27 weeks, but his short life will always be remembered by us.
Each year I think of him getting a year old, and my mind will often wander and imagine what he would look like and what his favorite things would be. When I think of him, I cannot see his face, but it brings me a sense of comfort just fantasizing what he would look and be like.
June 2012 I was heavily pregnant with my rainbow baby, our daughter who was born four days after our Son’s anniversary.
My husband and I decided a lunch with our closest friends and family would be good, we only had a small group present for his funeral so this seemed rather fitting. Prior to lunch just myself, my husband and my in-laws went to the cemetery with flowers and three balloons to release. Why three? One to represent us, one to represent my family and the third one to represent my Husband’s family.
Our daughter was with us this year, we released our three balloons at the cemetery and had a quiet family lunch.
This year we had our second rainbow baby with us, our second son who was born in the April. This was also the first year our daughter was able to hold a balloon and release it to her big brother in the sky.
These were the moments I longed for before we had our subsequent children. After we discovered that our baby had died, I knew part of remembering Alex would be through his siblings.
This was the first year my Husband and I decided that Alex’s birthday would become a family day. We would both schedule the day off work and as our children grew older we would ask them what they wanted to do for the day. We gave our daughter the choice of what she wanted to do this year, swimming or indoor soft play venue? She went for the soft play. With my daughters help I made four cupcakes and I let her choose the colour icing. Watching her blow out the four candles, was another moment of remembering our Son through his siblings.
This year felt HUGE for me, as this would of been his school year. I told myself that year I needed to do something significant, for me. So what did I do? Well, I decided to get another tattoo in honour of my dear boy. It is three stars, one of each of my children and a quote from ‘The Giving Tree’ “She loved a little boy very, very much”. We also enjoyed a fun family day and ate five extremely tasty cupcakes.
And lastly this year, year six.
This was the first year I decided that I would buy six gifts and donate them to children or a cause to benefit others. I planned to do this several months before and I found shopping for items, a happy time.
On the actual day, we took our children swimming and had a family dinner with our parents. We also went to the cemetery and did our annual balloon release.
Often the build up to the actual date is more emotionally draining than the actual day itself.
As the years have past I often feel more joy than sadness. The sadness and the anger is still there though, longing in the background, much like the uninvited party guest. You don’t want them there, but they are there.
I do find that I replay the events leading up to finding out our baby had passed away in my head. Don’t ask me why — I know I can’t change any of it but I actually think it helps me to heal. I don’t have many memories of him and I think repeating what happened six years earlier brings me closer to him and provides me with a sense of comfort.
Now I am six years into my journey, I still cannot believe that losing a baby happened to me.
I’m sure many bereaved mothers have said the same thing to themselves. Even though the anniversary/birthday is tough, I have found it to also be a day worth celebrating my son. My baby may never have taken a breath, but he lived.