Birthdays, Mothers Day, and other important events.

Friday, 23 June 2017



"The firsts are the hardest".

I don't know about that, I've only done the firsts now. The first everything has passed – except seeing his first sibling, but I'm not sure that counts in the normal milestones – and I have to admit that I am relieved about it. I see a lot of people still in the beginnings of their journeys and I remember what I was like at that point. I remember the fear that took hold of my heart, held it tight and made it almost stop its beating, I held my breath waiting for those milestones to pass.

Being single didn't make it any easier, where my partner should have been there for support there was none. I was a like one of those tiny summer flowers trying to break through early spring frost – left outside, offered no help, and trying desperately to persevere on my own. There was friends, of course, but just as I cannot expect them to feel as responsible for this pregnancy as to get me milk in 32°c, they do not feel the same as I do. He was not their son.


My birthday was the day before the funeral, and I'm an adult now, I don't do much for my birthdays anyway, but the juxtaposition was almost laughable. There I was, getting another year older while my son didn't even get that chance. Another year older on my own and preparing for the next day, wishing the current one away, because I'd get to see him again, at home, the next day. I vaguely remembered that my grandmother's funeral had been the day before my 12th birthday.

Christmas was next. I watched my friend's son, fifteen days younger than Ezra, on instagram, enjoying the lights, enjoying the presents and the season. I'd recently met him for the first time and what Ezra should have been hit me very hard, how big he should have been and what he should have been able to do. I realised then that he would have been involved in the Christmas celebrations rather than a baby onlooker and it was difficult. The entire month of December through to New Years I was, for the most part, a mess. I had been cutting my drinking and smoking due to trying to conceive but I figured that I had stopped before for the pregnancy so I could do it again, and I gave myself a free pass for the month, to get me through it with with as little brainpower as possible. Alcohol was very much a way to avoid thought. I think this time was the worst for me.

Then it was his birthday. He shares his birthday with my half-sister which presents its own problems. My father thinks I hate the girl, which is entirely ridiculous (she's three, how close are we really going to be with a 21 year age gap?). He  wanted me to do something with him on the day. I refused. They threw her a birthday party that weekend, naturally, and birthday cake ended up in my house. I didn't expect them not to have a party, but I have to admit that I didn't expect there to be cake and balloons and the whole lot, and I very much avoided it, the kitchen, and them. It felt unfair that they should be happy, it felt like a personal affront. He and his girlfriend had refused to adhere to my wishes for the funeral (not wearing all black) and now this. I cried at home that day. Ezra got birthday cards from my friends (and I figure this was more because I posted about it on twitter, than because people had actually thought to do it themselves – some did, and they know who they are), but none from family members.

Mother's Day came shortly afterwards. My father said nothing without prompting; he claimed he didn't even think of mothers day. A lie. I had no doubt that his girlfriend had got a card or gift "from" their daughter. My mother did say something, astoundingly. I brought up the lack of birthday cards with my mother and father – this resulted in an argument, naturally. I was called "stupid" and my "unreasonable" and "unhealthy" and told that I ought to get professional help. I didn't think I was being unreasonable in that request. People often that they don't know what to say to me as they don't know how it will affect me, I gave them something they could do and they bit back. I spent the day talking about him, and Buddy, making a point of having others realise that there are mothers all around them even if it may not seem like it. I posted on Facebook about it, and my mother made a show of that saying that (in layman's terms) some things are better kept to oneself (wrong). Mother's Day, all in all, a far less traumatic experience than I had anticipated. More anger than sadness.

The anniversary of his passing was two weeks later. My father has a habit of "reminding" me of dates, as if I'm not counting them down myself. The day passed without much incident. I went out to keep my mind occupied.

For his birthday, mother's day, and the "angelversary", I was pregnant. A part of me thinks that this eased the sadness of those things, knowing that there was some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. But as I and as anyone else that has been pregnant after a loss knows pregnancy is not a guarantee of a baby, and giving birth is not a guarantee of a baby. Nothing is guaranteed but death, which is nice.

Hindsight is an incredible thing. I look back now and I know that I made those times worse for myself – though I think I knew that at the time, too – by building them up as if some kind of momentous thing would happen on the day. They never did. I counted down the days. My father said to me, more than once "I can't believe it's been [insert time here]" already, which was the most unhelpful thing he could have said. As if I didn't know it had been a week, or a month, or two months. I knew to the day, to the hour almost. He said to me, when I got angry at him once "next week is his birthday/a year to the day he .... [died]!" as if his remembering it was something he needed to remind me of. He needed to tell me that he remembered. And in a way I got that, I understood that. But wasn't the best way to say it. It hits home too hard that way. Another hand around the throat stopping the breath, as if another person acknowledging it, saying it out loud, made it more real. If anything can be said about it all, it is that it does not feel real.

Time dulls the feelings, makes it more surreal, as if I'd been watching the life of somebody else from afar, watching myself go through these things from outside my own body. But I remember the shock and the grief in the first day, my entire world had fallen apart and I could do nothing but watch it burn around me. Everything changed, I changed. And I don't think about it or talk about because that's still too difficult, that I still feel as keenly as if I were there. The events feel surreal, as if they are not mine, but the love and the pain is unmistakably mine.

However, the rest of it I don't. Nothing ever equals that day, and now I know that I made it through the absolute worst and the milestones are nothing in comparison. I'm steel in the face of it now. I cried the day it was confirmed that I had miscarried in September, even though I already knew. I cried on the day of the surgery when I was at home in my bed. But then it passed, because I've been through worse, and so has everybody else that has had a loss. Your due date will come and go, but you've been through worse. We've got this.

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