April 13th will be the ninth anniversary of the birth (and death) of our son, Stephen. As with all the other anniversaries that have gone before, I find the build up to the actual day much harder than the day itself. It almost seems that the actual day has a special quality to it, a calmness and serenity I can’t really describe, and instead of dreading it as I certainly have done in the past, I have a real sense this year of looking foward to this special day. Perhaps that’s because the rawness of the pain and the hurt have subsided with time, and his anniversary is no longer a re-living of that pain alone, but a mixture of sadness, pleasure, pride and special memories of the short time we had together. Perhaps also it’s got something to do with the fact that I’ve done something out of the ordinary in his memory…..
Last week a friend and I spent the day at the Ideal Homes Exhibition. We came across a company who had a wonderful bedroom display where the ceiling became the night sky when the lights were out. This particular sky was the view that will be seen (by those sober enough to appreciate it!) from Trafalfgar Square at midnight as the new millenium begins. There were over 4000 stars on this particular ceiling, and it can be done for any place and date you want. The effect was amazing! I knew my two older boys would love it and in a moment’s madness I decided I was going to have this done to their room at home! The man explained that it could be done for their place and time of birth, and that as they shared a room, we could have one half of the ceiling done for each of them. There was only one date in my head, though, and that was the date of Stephen’s birth. I knew without a doubt that this would be the date that would mean most to all of us, and that is what we’re having – the view from the place he was born at the time he was born on the day he was born.
I can’t put into words how I felt at finding something I could do in his memory that just felt right for me – and how sad I felt when I told the chap the date I wanted and heard him say “You know, you might just be in luck – I know it’s not very far off but there’s a good chance we could actually do it on the morning of the 13th and it’ll be waiting there for him when he gets home from school!” That one sentance just brought home to me the stark reality that no matter how long time has elapsed or how far we think we have come, some of that pain never goes away. But I can honestly say that I wouldn’t ever want to stop being able to get in touch with that part of me that is, and always wil be, Stephen.