Today you should be 11 months old. Your birthday is creeping up and it is preying on all our minds, even in the places I normally expect it the least. I know we all wish we were planning the first ever boy birthday in the house instead of trying to work out how to celebrate it without you. I’m lost for thoughts on how to make it joyful and right. I wish it were different.
In the village, the daffodils are coming up. Last year they flowered as we drove home on that day without you, leaving you behind for a few hours while we tried to rescue your sisters. They had flowered then but only days after your death they were gone. This year they are earlier. It pushes my perspective on everything, Freddie, to not have you here. Even the flowers and the seasons won’t stay the same; perhaps it is good. Perhaps it is better that Spring will spring differently.
I don’t see the world the same any more. Watching you die has changed everything; I can let go of things that were huge without a second thought, but the littlest jibe in the wrong place, the smallest hurt, can make me cry all night. Last week it was a line that wasn’t quite a line on a pregnancy test, which came to nothing and probably was nothing. This week the thing that left me sobbing at your loss was so small, so insignificant as to be ridiculous, but I had to erase all mention of it to even begin to ease the pain it caused. You’ve taught me rage and you’ve taught me derision this year. I’m better but I’m also more bitter. I can see more clearly and yet I see everything through the blue tinted glasses I’m left with.
11 months. You should be easing your way from baby to boy now, starting to find your feet, starting to look stretched and upright. We should be planning how to toddler proof the house, how to make the garden safe. We should be planning summer holidays for 7. We should be sitting at the table and dodging the food you want to eat along side us. We should be starting to make you a bedroom and bedtimes and places for your things.
We’ve been making bead bracelets Freddie – and not worrying about ones on the floor that might have choked you. We’ve been doing so many things we would have done differently with you. We’ve been to a party where you didn’t need to be accommodated, we’ve done art days where you don’t need to be occupied on the floor and put down for a nap or fed. I’ve got better but still, every time we go anywhere, I mentally think out what I should be doing, where you should be, what I might be taking. I still have to double count the seats in the car because I can’t quite believe I don’t need all the seats when I go places.
Everything else seems too insignificant. I want to wipe the darkness out of the backs of your sisters eyes and I can’t. I want to make them only know happy things and small worries and I can’t. I want to be able to control the things I used to be able to control – and I can’t. I even wish I could replace you – now – and I can’t.
I don’t know how long to write these letters to you; I thought I would have another child by now, or at least expect one soon. I thought I would stop on your birthday – or when that child came. But now I don’t know. I can’t reach you to get you to tell me because I didn’t know you long enough to feel your thoughts. You don’t have an echo. I can’t hear what you would say. And miss you. I wish I could hear you. I wish I knew what to do to make it all okay.
Your daffodils will soon be here. They are almost up. The tree buds are huge, ready to make leaves and welcome the Spring. We’re all broken, Freddie and it doesn’t matter how much the trees and the daffodils are here, they just won’t be you. I want your noise and your trouble and your inconveniences – and the lack of sleep and wondering when you’ll wean and will I ever get all the washing done? Instead, I have all the time to suit myself I could want – and no one to call my baby.
Miss you, baby boy.