A Year Without You

367 days have passed since I last held you. It has gone by in a flash, in fact the feelings and emotions are so raw, that it could have been yesterday. I love you just as much as I did then, maybe even more for all you have brought to my life.

I remember vividly a few days after the birth, that I was already hoping I would be pregnant again with a sibling for our sons as soon as possible. Sadly a year later, this hasn’t happened. I feel no further forward, and in fact thanks to Coronavirus, I actually feel further behind that I was a year ago.

I found Mother’s Day, just a couple of weeks ago, incredibly challenging, as I don’t often feel like a Mum. The surrounding social media outpouring can be overwhelming when you don’t have your own family to hold tight.

Their birthday was different. It was a chance to celebrate them, without worrying about my failings as a mother.

We had planned to have a tea party with our closest family to celebrate their day. Having never hosted or attended a first birthday party of a child that had died, I wasn’t exactly sure how it would pan out, but our families all embraced it, and I knew they would support us through the day.

Obviously that was cancelled due to the current lock down, but we didn’t want their day to pass without celebrating it. Instead, we decided to host our own afternoon tea party for the two of us. James and I are big foodies, so we don’t need an excuse to pull out all the stops for a delicious spread!

One thing I always loved as a child was my mum making us birthday cakes. She would always put in such a lot of effort, and I’ve always wanted to do the same for my children. Despite them not being here to eat it, I still wanted to do all the ‘normal mum’ things. I bought invitations, a banner, a cake topper, and made the biggest chocolate cake I could manage. I can honestly say that it was those simple acts that have made me feel more like a Mum than anything else in the past year.

Perhaps it might seem strange to throw a birthday party for your children who have died. And I completely understand that it might not feel right to do that for your own little ones. I believe you have to grieve for and celebrate your children however you see fit. Whether that is lighting a candle on their birthday, writing them a letter, going all out with a big bash, or just holding them in your thoughts. There is no right or wrong way to remember those babies that left us too soon.

I really didn’t want this day to be overcome with sadness. Yes, there were times that we were sad. In reality we would give anything for our two little boys to be here with us. But from the very beginning James and I have been clear that we want to honour their memory, and create happy times. I would hate for them to think that they brought sadness into our lives, as they have also brought lots of joy too.

As we sat down, with Crumpet laying by our side (always on the look out for dropped crumbs!), I felt so proud of all we have achieved in the last year. No, we aren’t any closer to having siblings for the boys, but we are stronger and ready to face the fight once more. We have been touched by so many people who tried to help us make the day more special.

I was completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love on social media for my two little boys. Knowing that hundreds of strangers know their names and their stories warms my heart. Knowing that they are having an ongoing impact on this world is more than any mother can ask for.

A lot can change in a year, and I hope next year we are closer to a sibling. But if we aren’t, I’ll still be grateful for the joy that my two little boys have brought me.

Happy Birthday to my miracles, Cecil & Wilfred.

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