Elliott’s due date is next week. Soon, if not already, we should be holding our newborn baby in our arms safe and sound, kissing his chubby cheeks like his siblings had. I should be posting a happy announcement and receiving congratulations back. Instead life threw us a major curve ball. Instead it’s already been 4 months since he WAS born, since he was alive, since we held him in our arms for the last time. Instead an announcement WAS made but not the one we would ever think we’d make, and one which received condolences. Instead we sit completely devastated knowing that for the rest of our life we will never have the chance to once again kiss our youngest son’s cheeks or hold his hands.
Instead for the rest of our life his spirit in the wind will kiss OUR cheeks, and HIS hands will hold OUR hearts.
Life wasn’t meant to be like this, life shouldn’t have been like this, but somehow it is, and it’s harder than I could ever explain. It feels like yesterday and also a lifetime ago since he was born silently into the world and now everything in our life is marked as being ‘before’ or ‘after’ that moment. Life has changed so much and so quickly.
Since Elliott’s birth many relationships have changed. We have had friends become strangers and strangers become friends. While some relationships have fallen apart, others have strengthened. We have been disappointed, saddened and hurt by some, but amazed and warmed by others. We will be forever thankful for those who have given us such incredible friendship and love. We will never forget how we have been shown utterly heartwarming compassion and such beautiful thoughtfulness (sometimes by people we hardly know). Thank goodness for the amazing people who have done so much for us and for Elliott and with gentleness and understanding have helped to keep us floating at a time we’ve felt like we’re drowning.
Just 4 months ago we were on top of the world and now we feel the weight of it on our chests. It’s hard to adjust to such a fall, from happiness to despair, and going from believing you can breathe fire to feeling you no longer have a spark left. I don’t quite recognise myself anymore and now I need to find out who I am. I went from a confident business woman to a shattered shell who struggles with daily tasks. My days both drag and fly by at the same time. As the day comes to a close I’m not sure what I did to fill the hours, with most going by in a bit of a fog. I lived such a busy and crazy (but very fun!) life before, and now I don’t know how 4 months has gone past just like that with ceasing so many things I used to fit into my day. I do know a lot of my effort and energy goes into putting my mask on every morning, smiling and trying to not let the kids know how broken i still feel, trying to be the mummy they knew before. Some days I think I’m hiding it well, but they both have become very good at reading facial cues and notice out of the blue asking “mummy are you OK?”. Sometimes I just let them see how upset I am. They ask “mummy are you sad about Elliott?” and I reply “yes darling, but it’s OK to be sad, and I’ll be OK and i love you all” so they know it IS OK to be sad, because it IS sad, so very very sad. I want them to know it’s normal to miss him and that it’s normal if that hurts. I want them to know it’s normal as I know so well how much they miss him too and how sad they still get. They shouldn’t be left to grieve alone either.
I listen to more music than I have in years and sleep less than I did when our older children were new babies waking through the night. I cry when I don’t want to, and the tears completely hide when I do. I’ve found myself for the first time in my life gripping to the idea of signs, needing something to hold on to. We hug a little tighter and love a little harder. We have found how strong love really is, and how it transcends even life itself. Since we said goodbye there hasn’t been a moment we haven’t missed or thought of him. Behind a ‘normal face’, behind a conversation, laugh, smile or joke- there he is.
In the past 4 months we’ve found out that just getting out of bed can require more strength than you think you have. We became witness to physical ailments caused by such stress, including stress induced acid reflux. We discovered that guilt can exist after you have a good time and we found a depth of sadness and despair we never knew existed. We became more broken than we ever thought was possible and had everything we knew challenged. I’ve felt anger, sadness, confusion, bitterness along with gratefulness and love at levels I didn’t know were possible. We discovered what grief REALLY is and meant and were given a pain no words could explain.
I know things will eventually get better but for now I just can’t get used to the constant feeling I have of heaviness in my chest, the emptiness in my belly, the confusion in my head. Four months on I still hate the silence, and occasionally momentarily question if it is all real. Questions of “why?”, “what if”, “if only” are so much bigger now. The world is so much scarier. Life’s realities are much more real and we see just how fragile life is. I had never come across something hard work, determination and positive thinking couldn’t get me out of or at least soften the circumstance and here we are with an unsolvable situation. I spend so much time reflecting, processing and thinking and yet I don’t know how I will ever “come to terms” with the fact that our baby is gone forever from this earth.
I have been counting down the days to his due date, at times with an incredible amount of suffering and anxiety. As it comes closer it’s become so much harder all over again, just when you felt your head start to come out of water. All of those thoughts you know to be completely unhelpful, damaging and destructive plague your mind. Imaging what i SHOULD have been doing right now, and comparing it to what i am. So unhelpful yet so unavoidable. I’ve been existing in this awful a state stuck between the “what was” and the “what could have been”. As his due date passes soon I am desperately hoping I can move into a state of just “what is”. Like all the “firsts” in this journey though I will have to discover “what now?” as we try to put one tiny shard of our broken hearts back together as well as we can. We know our hearts will never be properly mended but we continue to try anyway. We try for Elliott, for our other children, for our friends and family and for us because while I don’t ever want to be completely better again I also don’t want to exist like this forever.
Our little star Elliott,
I want to smile for you so you can see your mummy and daddy how you would have if you were here. I want your big brother and sister to know love above all things else, especially when they think of you. I want you to know how much we all love and miss you. I want you to know that nothing will fill that gaping hole left and I also want you to know that I wouldn’t want it filled even if it could be.
I hate you’re not here with us and I can’t stop feeling how very cruel and unfair it all is. But I want to live in a way that makes you and your siblings proud. I’m working on how to live like that, with light instead of darkness. I’m trying so hard to be strong but I’ll admit I don’t feel it and at times desperately don’t want to be. I’m just surviving it all the best I can, in the ways that I need to. But our LOVE for you and your brother and sister without a doubt IS stronger than diamonds and that will never fade.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it a thousand times more, if love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.
We bought this figurine for you in honour of this time. A time where you would have been receiving gifts for your birth. The figurine will sit with your things proudly on show in our house. It is called the “angel of light” with of course, a star. Our angel, I’m sure you light up wherever you are.
Love and miss you so much, love and miss you forever. XOXO