I thought today that it is now nearly 2 years since Freddie was born and lived and died and in a week or so, creeping up, will come his birthday. I don’t know how we got here. I don’t know how we made it. I’ve had 2 babies in 2 years and it took forever and no time at all and we’ve gone from the depths of anger to the height of joy and every place in between, with rough and tearing stitches of grief and love and fury holding it all together.
But here we are. Two years. We made it. Here we are with Freddie ‘present by his absence’ which is as perfect a quote as anyone could think of to describe it. Here we are with those of us left behind all whole, together, still able to laugh and cry and talk and love and put out the bins and worry about money and dig up carrots and clean out the garage. The world didn’t stop spinning and somehow, amazingly, we lived through it and kept our footing as it spun.
I have no idea how the world does keep spinning; the collective grief of the child lost alone should stop it. Atmospheres should freeze and gravity fail and people fly off into the sucking darkness of space. But it doesn’t stop and because it didn’t stop, lying in the bed beside me is Ben, grunting and snuffling and terribly surprisingly conceived and correct and alive. Doing what children (mostly) do. Surviving and being. Here because Freddie isn’t. That is Ben’s gift and his curse, and nothing I can do can change it. He is here because his brother is not.
Here we are. Here we are. Here. Still breathing. Mostly smiling. Sometimes crying. Terribly lucky and terribly unlucky. Dreadfully happy and dreadfully sad. Breathing. Holding my breath. Knowing that now I have to stop wishing that I could go back and change things, because if I did… If I did…. Oh, what I would lose now.
What a perilous place it is to balance on the precipice that is choosing between your children. Choosing Ben because he is present and future not past and pain.
It is all these things, these complicated, soul sucking things, that make it so incredible that we made it this far on the path that opened up before us that day in April 2010.
We made it. Still stuck to the surface of the earth. Still breathing. Still breathing.