It’s been another insane blur of year. The pandemic has given me lots of time & motivation to do big picture thinking. There’s been so much talk of the impact on parents & kids. The decisions to be made about keeping children safe, healthy & happy get trickier in times like this. You’re not here. Neither are your siblings. Being forced to stay home alone for extended periods really rams that fact home. I still think about what I would do. How I would make sure my children would be ok. I don’t think that will ever stop. I’ve thought through how I’d handle every stage of your lives; agonised over choices that are entirely theoretical. I can’t help it. I’m always going to be your Mum on the inside.
This year I will be spending your day doing something joyful. It came about purely by chance. Pandemic rescheduling dropped an activity unexpectedly. It feels strange. It’s not a thing I would have planned, but I think it is good. I’m trying to see it as a celebration of you. Of the tiny amount of time we had & all the wonderful that could have been. I know you would have given me so much to rejoice in.
Today has always been hard, but this year is worse. I always thought I’d give you siblings & they would help remembering you to be less painful. It never occurred to me that I would be reliving your loss over & over again. I hope they’re with you. I wish you were all with me. I’ll always love you.
I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. I like Cary Grant movies & bittersweet love songs & Jane Austen novels. My heart forever swells for romance. It’s just that as I’ve gotten older my idea of true romance has changed.
I remember watching interviews of John Lennon talking about how he never wanted to be apart from Yoko & thinking I wanted to be in love like that. I thought the idea of wanting to spend every moment with someone was beautiful. Now it strikes me as frankly, unhealthy. The first time I saw Renee Zellweger translate ‘you complete me’ & moon over the signing couple, I melted. These days it’s more like boaking. It’s actually a bit weird that I ever internalised that version of love. I’ve never been someone who wanted to be around others all the time. My own company has always been valuable. My ‘hobbies’ are fairly solitary; reading, writing, swimming. I’m not really a joiner. I have lived alone for most of my adult life. When everyone else was still living with their parents or a bundle of flat mates I had already figured out that I quite liked closing my front door & knowing I am alone. I believe a part of me still thought when the right person come along that would change. Their breath would make my air sweeter, their presence would be essential. For a while there I actually thought that a soulmate might just make me whole. Now I look at the sentence & cringe. The right person is amazing, but a great love adds to one’s life. It’s an extra. My mug is full of me, a relationship is just the delicious cream & mallows on top. I can’t reach the peak potential of me if I spend every second of my life with someone else. By default I’d never put own needs first. I know now that love is not all encompassing; it’s vital to leave a little room for me.
In days gone by used to take note of dates. Anniversaries and so on. I knew the day I met exes, first kisses & I love yous. It mattered to me that we mark those days with flowers or dinner or whatever. I loved rom com’s & the big dreamy gestures. I thought I hankered for that kind of romance. I planned aspects of my theoretical future wedding. Thinking that the perfect music & public declarations would make it more concrete. Turns out none of it really matters. There isn’t a bouquet big enough to make you forget that someone didn’t come home for three nights. No public display of affection makes up for a routine lack of consideration. If a relationship doesn’t have a daily beating heart, the Hollywood bits won’t keep it alive. Which is not to say that some folk can’t have both. I know happy people who’s loving partners do big time classic romance & that’s fantastic. It just doesn’t seem that important to me anymore. The Toyboy & I don’t have an anniversary. Neither of us thought to take note of our first date & when it comes down to it, we don’t really care. We do all the things you might do in anniversary whenever we feel like it. What does it matter? Maybe we’ll get married someday & maybe we won’t. I’m not bothered as long as I’m happy. The gown & first dance & piece of paper won’t actually change what happens between him & I. On reflection the romantic cinematic moments that have really stuck with me aren’t the flashy ones anyway. They’re were quiet, intimate interactions. Like when Bill Murray whispers ‘ I’m not worried about you’ to a sleeping Scarlett Johansen in Lost in Translation. That sets off my butterflies. Likewise in my life, it’s the everyday romance that sets my heart a flutter. Rubbing tiger balm on my sore bits or drinking fizz in the bath with me. Co opting each other’s turn of phrase & bringing me vegan treats. Wrapping a gift creatively to please me. Knowing my sushi order & that I always want Diet Coke. Carrying my bag. Sitting by my hospital bed. Saying what you mean. And a million other real life indications that I matter, that I’m known, are what I need.
So, yes I love romance & I love that St Valentine’s Day reminds us to cherish & treat our one & only. I just don’t think it has to be wrapped up in hearts & shouted. The wee moments count. To get back to Lennon, it turns out love is real & real is love.
I’ve been trying to keep low key busy today; house work, catching up on emails & so on. I have hoped to keep myself from sinking too deep into sadness.
I’ve actually done quite well. I had a cry in the shower, but the water washed those tears away. There was no evidence left for anyone else to see, which is like you. Gone. Without a trace.
So, I’ve taken a lot of deep breaths & whispered to myself that I’m ok.
And I am. More so than I’ve ever been since I lost you. I think maybe I can try again. Perhaps, I can do this life thing. I wish I could believe that would heal me, but you’re not a wound. The pain is bittersweet.
I’ve been wondering what my life would be like with a 16yr old. Louder, grumpier, more complicated? I’ll never know how our life would been. I do know I’d have given you my best. I’m also sure that you’re worth it. The short time I held you within me will always be worth all the rest.
Now, you’ve got me crying again. My tears are inevitable, as is my love. Inevitable & invincible. No matter what happens there will forever be you & I.
Today always creeps up on me. One minute it’s months away & then it’s here. I dread it’s arrival because I know it will unleash emotions that I try to keep chained up. September 12th would have been my child’s birthday.
Today should be all presents & cake & surprises. Instead it’s a wound that never entirely heals. Of course life goes on. I live & there is joy, pride, love, but there is always a tinge of sadness. It hurts to miss the milestones & the everyday moments. The pain can catch me unaware & take my breath away. There are times when every aspect of my life feels wrong because this is not how I’d be living with my precious little one.
It’s such an incredible feeling to know there is life inside you. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I knew immediately that I was pregnant. I knew before my period was late & before I took a test. I felt it. It was scary, unplanned, badly timed, but still so right. I became a mother in an instant & that feeling has never left me.
Yes, it’s painful to remember; it also helps. It’s easier for me to acknowledge today. It’s good to talk out loud about the person who changed my life without having a chance to live his.
If love could have saved you darling, you’d have lived forever.