This photo was taken the month before Elliott was born, on our regular breakfast date by the beach.
I remember how sick I felt and how I struggled to get out of bed many days crippled with awful morning sickness.
I remember putting on a bright lipstick I had to hide how terrible I felt and bring some colour to my face.
I remember how good it felt to be outside in the sun with the breeze on my face after being stuck over a toilet bowl for days on end.
I remember really cherishing this morning and many others with Ashton because I knew before too long he wouldn’t be the baby anymore and I thought of how we wouldn’t get this special time spent with just with two of us.
I remember how he touched my belly and told me he loves our baby, just as he did everyday from the day he found out he was going to be a big brother.
I remember imagining how next year I’d be drinking my coffee at the same place with a new baby.
I remember the excitement and dreams we all had.
I remember the innocent blissful happiness that had no sting of grief in the background.
Looking at this photo I wish a million times over that I could go back to that time.
I wish I could exist in that moment for a bit longer so I could hold onto the feeling of how perfect life was. Mainly, I wish to spend just one more moment with our baby when he was here.
Ashton asks (and often begs) to go to this cafe by the beach every chance he can. Sometimes it’s the first thing he asks when he wakes up. When we’re there he often just sits there and watches the sea. He draws pictures for his brother and lays in the hammock. I watch his aches melt away when we are there as if the breeze takes them with it.
I realise more than ever now that I wasn’t going there with just one of my sons. I was with Elliott too, tucked safely inside listening to the conversations his mummy and brother would have, feeling how loved he was. I always thought we had created this spot as a place to connect to Elliott after “Elliott’s special day” (a memorial gathering we held on this beach). I now realise that Elliott’s spot was carved out long before we lost him.
I now realise that were making memories with him well before my other children labeled it as “Elliott’s beach”. We were taking him there before he called us there.
Perhaps Ashton is wiser and more connected then us all. Perhaps deep down he knew all of this and felt the pull back to the place surrounded with happy memories not just of his special day after his death, but of the months of his life. He was the first to call it Elliott’s beach, the first to start asking to go back, the first to say “I like going to the beach when I miss Elliott”.
I feel closest to Elliott in this spot, and I’m sure Ashton does too. Maybe I can tell myself that’s because Elliott really is there, and he’s there because he likes revisiting those memories too.