I don’t know what you would be like today.
Nine years old,
scuffed up knees and shoes, perhaps.
A crooked smile with many missing teeth
and a sparkle in your eyes that speaks of mischief and love all mingled into the deep blue of them.
I don’t know.
I’m just guessing.
Maybe your hair would be light still,
or perhaps it would be darkening to the same colour as your Dad’s
and you might be tall
or maybe not.
You would be determined.
When I imagine you into being I understand that would be a part of your character.
All I know is that tiny newborn boy who fought every day for his life
and then that sweet baby boy
whose life light I watched snuff out
but that doesn’t stop me wondering who you would be today on your birthday.
I’m celebrating you.
I’m thinking of you -
even as the world keeps on turning on its axis year in and year out -
even when everyone else forgets.
I’ll remember the gifts you gave me,
hang onto each memory of the day you came into my life
and try not to miss you too much -
just for today
because today is a good day.
Those days of darkness will come this week
but for today I will eat cake and celebrate
for the boy who would be nine.
The day before Will died
we dressed him in white
and promised him to a god I was uncertain existed.
Still, the thought of him leaving this earth unchristened was too much to shoulder
so the nurses dressed him in satin and lace -
a donated gown for occasions such as this.
The beauty of him broke my heart.
I needed him to belong to someone -
if not to me
then someone (anyone, please, don’t let him be alone wherever it is he was going)
so I promised him away to the universe.
He opened his eyes, when the doctors said he wouldn’t.
He stared right at me
straight into me
and for all the world I wanted to pick him up and hold him.
Instead I asked my husband and my friends the impossible.
I asked it of my family too.
I asked them not to give up on him
even though I already had.
I feel so sad when I think of that moment -
hope and heartbreak all rolled into one sliver of time.
The next morning we dressed him in blue denim overalls and a blue striped shirt
and turned off all of the machines that were keeping his tiny, damaged heart beating.
We held him between us, David and I
and for a few moments he was just Will.
Beautiful and whole
but he didn’t open his eyes even though I wanted it more than anything else.
Even though I begged the uncertain god.
Even though I wished it.
I wonder if he felt us,
Surely, a brain functions at a basic level right up until the very last moment
and warmth are so primal,
I tell myself that he knew -
that he didn’t die alone.
When the photos came back to us
every photo of Will that was taken during our mother-father-baby union
had a distinct green – yellow aura.
The colours of healing and freedom,
the colours of release.
My father cussed and rolled his eyes
telling me it was a glitch in the camera
and that I was being illogical
but I knew that was his spirit letting go
and his way of telling me that he felt that we were with him
and that we would all be okay in the end.
October 9th – 15th is remembrance week for all babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death.
Lighting a candle, continuing the wave of light, for all of the angels
and remembering my own.
I have lots of photos.
My walls are lined with them at home
and most are of my kids wrapped up in each other.
I love so many of them – what and who they capture.
An emotion, a feeling, a moment
but this is my favourite one
that I’ve ever taken.
It’s my happy place.
Do you have an all time favourite photo?
It’s that first real love letter from your boy.
The boy who has been struggling with his letters and writing all year -
that it took him most of the afternoon to get it just right but he never gave up;
Love is when you find it under your pillow at bedtime, along with his favourite Lego man.
Then you know you are the luckiest Mum on earth.