Five is huge. It's enormous. The "who he would be" is so far from my knowledge... I still think about him on a hourly basis. I ponder what he would have wanted for Christmas, what his temperament would be like, what it would feel like to have a little boy call me mummy.
But today I want to write about my gratitude. That's right, it is my deceased son's fifth birthday and I want to tell you how thankful I am.
I am so fucking grateful I had him. That I met him. That I got to be his mama. I would live this same version of life over and over again for the 9 months + 1 week I knew him. Because I love him. It's that simple. That very same way you feel about your living children is EXACTLY how I love him. Death hasn't changed that, though it has made me love him more fiercely because that same love has to transcend both Heaven and Earth for this simple reason: I need him to know.
It's hard to describe what it's like to outlive your child. It's so unnatural and painful and it makes some people so uncomfortable that they spew words that strike like bullets. Losing Jack decimated relationships- those with family and friends, and people who simply said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Or perhaps even more painful, those who said nothing at all. There are no do overs and there are no take backs when it comes to grief. I'm no longer angry, but I do remember in the way you always remember someone who scorned you. I am grateful for the perspective that these five years has given me.
On the flip side, it has solidified many of my relationships. I will forever be grateful to the people who were there for me in the darkest of hours and those who didn't shy away when I cried so hard I could barely breathe. Who knew just when I need to talk about him, or why particular days of the week or dates on the calendar are especially painful. Those who know pregnancies (both mine and others) brings me just as much anxiety as it does hope. Those who understood that having two beautiful and precocious little girls has given us the chance to parent living children, but will never replace the little one who got away. That was never their purpose.
I have met like-minded women who are walking a similar path. These people are my tribe- my lifeline in the early dates of grief, and those who continue to be my true friends in the years that have followed. I am so grateful for the ties that bind.
Big boy, we love you so much. We miss you. We wish you were here.
Love Mummy and Daddy, Gracie and Pipes.