The heads of the daffodils in the garden are already turning yellow; they’ll bloom in a matter of weeks, they’ll be over before March has ended. Daffodils are Freddie’s flower. I don’t want to do April without daffodils. Seeing them nodding and bobbing on the 2nd April is one of the things that keeps me sane, reminds me that for everything I lost, I also gained that Spring. I gained the ability to keep a little perspective, learned to be a little kinder, found something in me that I didn’t know I had. But I’m grasping at straws on that day, because the air is sliced very thin then and the quiet room and the once in a life time cuddle in a bed and the silence of no breathing at all is all too close. And who wouldn’t look for something bright and cheerful and full of hope on a day like that? There is precious little else.
I don’t want the daffodils to be fading. He is fading enough as it is. He’s so far away, almost four years, just a catch in my breath when a question is asked, hidden in “and then we had a long space before our last one”, tucked away in the folds of a blog and the shelves of a cupboard. Not enough to hold on to. Not enough to remember. Not enough to smile about, no beautiful photos, no lasting legacy. I’ve not done anything – yet – to make him last a lifetime and make a difference.
The other day I drove home, looked up and saw the first star of the evening. And I thought of the wrong lost baby. I saw a star and I thought of someone else’s baby. Not mine.
I nearly tore my heart out.
I thought of the wrong baby.
But honestly? I can’t bear to remember. I have never been able to bear to remember. It’s not the same as it not mattering. I’d love to sit people down and tell them about each day, each photo, each cuddle. I’d love him to be known and understood and present but I can’t do it. I’ve never gone back and looked at hospital notes to see what we did on which day. I’ve never told anyone about his life. I’ve never written his days or explained what happened when and how and why. I can’t bear to. I tucked it all in my heart, thinking that I would keep it safe and private and special to me, so I could take one memory out at a time, one this year, one next year. I thought that way he would last me. But because I didn’t write them down, because Max and I have never spoken about them, because we haven’t savoured them and tried to find the good, I’ve lost them. I can’t remember. He’ll never be a boy that people knew, because he was just ours – and I’ve forgotten. My brain won’t let me remember.
People told me to be grateful it wasn’t one of the girls. People have been tight lipped about my grief because at least he wasn’t part of my life for years, because the hole was not a gaping, yawing space in our house, our family. Sometimes I agree. Sometimes I’d give a world, a universe for an album of photos and a head full of memories to remember with a wistful smile, one by one.
I can’t have what I can’t have. And there will be tears this April, when he should be four, just as there have been for the four April’s before. Daffodils in the garden or not, we’ll go on, as we always do, with a day out and candles at dusk and our arms around each other at bedtime.
I thought I could make something beautiful about it this year. I can spend the next 6 weeks dreading those days with thudding heart as the daffodils wilt and add drama to the days as they do-or-don’t-die, or I can shake some joy, reflective joy, and colour into them. SO I’m going to make daffodils this year. For me. For Freddie. In everything I love and for every part of my house.
You could join me if you like. I’d be grateful.