Today you should be six months old. I’ve been dreading this one but it hasn’t been as bad as it could have been. Maddy and I went shopping and yes, the place was full of little boy outfits and little boys and yes, I did look at an outfit for a six month old but truthfully, it’s the babies that still break me, not the ones of the size you could be. Not this week anyway. I can’t imagine you as a six month old, I can only think of you as the tiny, still boy that you were, soft and beautiful and oh so new, but already far too broken to stay.
I could torture myself that it should be time to start you on solids now, that we should have done six months of cuddles and mummy milk but really, my milk didn’t save you, there was no magic in that that kept you alive and you only even tried to feed from me twice. We gave it a go, I think I hoped that you’d feel my nipple and somehow miraculously wake up and know all the things you were supposed to do.
This month, actually, has been terrible. You’ve been so very not here and so very absent. So very much something that I can no longer remember. I can’t recall the weight of you or the feel of you; the memories of those 11 days are still not back. So many baby boys have been born since you came. But these last few days, not quite so terrible. I’ve got to a milestone without you. I should have a six month old – and I don’t. You might be crawling. You might be chuckling and rolling over. You might be sitting. You might be swiping at us for food and supping the first bits of solid mush.
You might be lying in a crib in hospital, still on a ventilator, with me knowing that I had that one critical moment to let you go and I blew it for us all. I might have a room full of tube feed equipment and medicines. I might have my girls in school and my marriage in tatters.
Inch by inch, I’m moving forward. I don’t like it, it’s not pretty, but I am. With or without a little brother or sister for you, we have to go on. I have to stop looking at your photos and counting the days and weeks and months. I have to honour you with life for us all. I’d like to honour you with a new life too, to let you know that you made such a profound difference to us that now we all feel the space. I’d like to believe that it will happen and go well and be right for us all. I’d like to seal the space after you with a full stop, so we can see it, remember it, love it.
To do that, I have to let you go a bit now. I need you to let me go too. Could you? Please?