Happy 7th birthday darling Bella.
Good morning precious baby girl of ours
Today is your 7th birthday. You would have been a whole 7 years old and in grade 1. The thought of that is so so hard my darling child. So many milestones we have missed, so many celebrations we haven’t had.
I write this while sitting with you and Thomas at The Vineyard. It’s a perfect morning, quiet, peaceful. Birds chirping, water flowing in the river, sun spilling through the trees, dappled light on the leaves. It feels very similar to the day you were born, which I also remember as being a perfect summers day.
Gosh, that day is still so so clear to me, my angel child. Much more clear than the day Murray was born actually. Maybe because everything wasn’t brand new and overwhelming and I was actually able to enjoy each moment instead of worrying all the time. After trying to make an early entry into this world at 26 weeks I managed to keep you in for another 10 weeks, but by then you had decided you were well and truly ready! My waters broke at around 4.30am on Sunday morning after us spending Saturday afternoon at a friends house celebrating their sons 2nd birthday. At work on Friday, a colleague had asked me when I was going off and I had responded that in theory I still had another 3 weeks but that I felt like the time of your arrival was much closer. How right I was!
My labour didn’t start immediately and so we had time to find someone to care for Murray, pack my bags and slowly make our way to the hospital. There was no big hurry and it all felt really calm. You were delivered by c-section by our wonderful Steffi at 12.35pm that day, weighing in at 2.7kg. No huge screaming and crying like we had had from your brother, just this calm, beautiful little girl, placed into my arms and embedding yourself in my heart forever. Because you were a bit early they had the incubator etc all ready for you but none of that was needed, you were strong and perfect right from the beginning. I remember how precious and special those 3 days were in hospital, just you and me, in our own little bubble, while dad dealt with Murray and the chaos at home. Murray was also still so so little, not even 15 months old, a baby himself in so many way. But he just loved you so much right from the beginning, his darling Sissie, always just wanting to be close to you and love you.
This year feels hard. Every year feels hard. You somehow think that the day will get easier or better as time passes. But it doesn’t. It’s still a punch in the gut, a crippling grief, and deep yearning for things to have been different.
I no longer know what you might have looked like, what you would have liked, what you would have found easy and difficult. I can imagine how it would have been, but I will never know. And wow that is really difficult to get my head around.
We have accepted the life we have now, rejoice in it even sometimes. It’s different to how we had hoped it would be, in so many ways. We have been challenged more than seems fair, pushed further than I would have thought we could ever endure, but we are doing okay. We have survived and in some ways are thriving in this altered world. And even that is hard to say, because how could I possibly be okay in a world where I don’t have you in it. But we have to be, for 2 reasons: to honour you and Thomas and the lives you didn’t get to live; and to make sure we give Murray the life and the parents he deserves.
But today I do feel broken, all over again. Finding it hard to find the ability to rejoice in the day you were born, without it being dwarfed by the fact that you aren’t here for us to celebrate you and your 7 years on this earth, as I so wish it had been.
Your precious brother Murray talks about you so often. You are so very much part of his life. He misses you so much. Last night he asked that we all pray together especially to you, sending you a birthday message, because he said it was the only way he was sure you would get the message and we could connect with you. This afternoon we will have a small little celebration for you, with some cake. We will celebrate you, and I will try to find joy in this deep deep sadness I feel.
As I finish off writing this it is now early evening and I am completely shattered physically and emotionally. It’s like the effort of trying to hold it together all day has caught up with me and driven over me like a 10 ton truck. Murray is also very emotional this evening, like he is feeling the same way I am. He also said that your party this afternoon wasn’t a good enough tribute to you, that he had expected more, in his words “Sissie deserved more Mom”. I am not sure how he thought it would be in his head, but he wanted more from today, wanted more for you. As we all do.
I did feel like you sent a message to us today though. I picked Murray up from school today and he had found the below little cardlet lying around in the music room. There was just one of them and he happened to find it. All the little words feel pretty apt for today and literally feel like they were sent by you for us to find. Or at least that is what I am choosing to believe.
Baby girl – I miss you every day. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. You remain always my precious daughter, now and forever.
How deeply I wish things were different.
I love you and happy birthday.
Always your Mom
Thank you for this tribute to your angel. I often wonder how you are doing -heart, leg, etc. I wonder if you’ve left this space or if you’ve found a different space.
For me, 7 is such a special age. I wish we could watch her live it, not celebrate it in her absence.