Today, a year ago, you came into this world, and then left us within a few hours of meeting you. So much of that day plays over and over again in my head. Like a stuck record, taunting me. And so much of that day is also in a morphine induced fuzziness, the stuff I really want to remember – holding you, touching you, drinking in every detail of you. I have come a long way in my grief, but some parts of it are still so so raw, like it happened just yesterday, fading slowly but still so very real. There all the time.
As I sit on your bench, where we laid your and your sisters ashes to rest, tears roll down my cheeks. I have placed a white rose on your bench, picked out of our garden, as I do most times I come here. How is it possible that you, our hope, our rainbow child, our gift from Bella, was taken away from us before we even properly got to meet you. I try to comfort myself with the fact that you are in a happier place, but that comfort seems hollow today. Maybe your sister needed you more than we needed you? When I was pregnant with you and they thought my cancer might have returned, I remember going to church and praying that I would be left on this earth to be able to raise Murray and to see him growing into adulthood. I also remember saying directly to Bella, that if she needed me, I would come without question, that I would be right there. And maybe us losing you was that? Me being allowed to stay on earth to raise Murray but Bella also being with family. I don’t know if that makes any sense…my thoughts are jumbled today. I feel so very very alone.
These days, these milestones, are always so hard. And in your case, we don’t have 2 different dates – the day that you were born and the day you died are the same. And so in my head I know that I need to try and make this day about the day you were born, the day I got to hold you for the first time. And try to make it a celebration of that. But the reality is that I can’t think of that day without also knowing that it was the last time I got to hold you too, and that we had to say goodbye.
I think so so often of what our lives would have been like if you had survived. When we were away on holiday, there was a little boy there, also called Thomas, who had also been born at 26 weeks. He is now 2.5 years old. Despite being tiny, he is an active, together, feisty little boy. And that made me happy and sad all at the same time. So happy that their story had turned out well, so sad that ours had not. And I realize that had you lived, our story probably wouldn’t have had a “happy” ending. You had already experienced so much trauma when you were in my womb, damage had been done, and you came into our world so so sick. I remember praying so very hard when they were wheeling me into theatre to deliver you. And my prayer was that everything would be okay, that you would be okay. And maybe in some ways my prayers were answered. Because in all likelihood you wouldn’t have been okay. Certainly not in this worlds definition anyway. And so God answered my prayers by taking you to a place where you could be okay.
Murray’s calling card these days when he meets people for the first time, is to introduce himself and then immediately tell people that he had Thomas and Sissie and that they died. Very matter of fact, as though he was merely saying where he lived or what school he went to. Our little boy is also trying to figure all of this out in his head. People’s reactions are often somewhat comical. You can see them trying to figure out how to respond to this little boy who is talking about death. You can see them wondering what on earth is “wrong” with him. And assuming that he must be talking about a dog or fish or something. But certainly never comprehending that he could be talking about his siblings. And sometimes I take the time to broadly explain to people what happened, but more often than not I just divert his attention onto a different subject and move on swiftly. Not because I don’t want him to feel comfortable talking about you. I am so so glad that he knows about you and Bella, that he wants to talk about you. Because so few people do. But at 10am on a Saturday morning at the aquarium, I generally can’t bring myself to have that conversation with a stranger.
Last week I had to go into hospital for a small operation. Nothing major, and at a different hospital to where you were born. But being in a hospital, being wheeled into theatre, having nurse and doctors fussing over me. It bought so much of those 2 weeks before you were born back to me. How I willed you to survive, how desperate I was for everything to work out. How much emotional and physical trauma I went though. And how close to the surface it often is. The timing also all just seemed somewhat ironic.
My Thomas, would we have called you Tom? I think we would have, that was always the plan when we thought about it. I crave to hold and cuddle you, to have you in our lives. Oh how I wish the odds had been in our favor for a change.
I miss you and your darling sister with every part of my being. I am sorry that I couldn’t do better, that I couldn’t keep you inside me for longer. I really did try my best, it just wasn’t enough.
I love you our precious little boy