It is hard to believe Alexander would have been three years old in September. To have had three years of parenthood, to have, I suppose, a little boy no longer a baby. Alexander will always be my baby, time has stood still for him. He came into this world and moved on within a day. We unfortunately could not move on in the same peaceful way, but have to move on with our lives in a painful and frustrating way. Our lives without our first son Alexander.
The day Alexander was born no longer hounds me day and night. Re-living every minute of his life, over and over again, lying awake at night yearning to hold him, or figuring a way to get him back in my arms just to have the chance to tell him how much I love and miss him, the nightmares and hearing myself cry in my sleep along with the monotonous searching has stopped. Thankfully. Nevertheless, all these tortuous feelings and thoughts went on far longer than I ever expected. I was exhausted and felt very different and isolated. I used to get so angry at my constant preoccupation surrounding the events of Alexander. What was wrong with me, am I mad? Will this ever stop, will I ever move on, will I ever feel better.
Two and a half years later the pain finally gave me a break, I began to recuperate and have more energy, my mind began to absorb outside stimuli. At last I could be distracted from my inner thoughts and, slowly but surely, started to feel a little more normal. I remember on Alexander’s second Birthday feeling shocked at the intensity of the pain, it was unbearable. But looking back, that surge of agony on his birthday was an indication I must have been coping a little better than I had given myself credit for. I am relieved that my brain has finally given me days off, I do not think physically or emotionally I could have gone on much more.
I allowed, and continue to allow, the grief to take its course in what ever form and eventually the intense heat and the ferocity of the flame is burning out, although I accept it will never die. I admit sometimes I would fight the grief and artificially try to move on, but it is pointless. There is nothing one can do but to go with it. Just hold on to the knowledge such feelings of despair can not and will not last for ever.
I miss Alexander dreadfully. It is true to say, a day does not pass without thinking of him, and I would not want it any other way. It is however, a little easier to live and deal with. Of course I have bouts of sadness and utter despair, sometimes for days, hours, minutes, or just a quick sharp flash of pain. The bouts of sadness are horrendous, but no longer so acute, exhausting and red raw. However I would say, more chronic, subdued and needless to say forever tender. The loss and sadness will always be there. Not having little Alexander is especially painful on certain occasions. For example, when all the little nephews and nieces get together, just months different in age. I watch them play and imagine the third little one who should be there. It is so obvious to me Alexander is missing all the fun, but to this day no one has ever acknowledged his absence. How I wish they would. I watch the grandparents and great grandparents enjoying them play, I feel so cheated. But that in itself is not enough, we are also made to feel ‘party poopers’ when making reference to our first son.
We are now very fortunate to have a second beautiful baby son. His life too will inevitably be different. He does not have an older brother. He will either be an only child or the eldest, not the baby. Louis’ Baptism was wonderful. We felt so privileged to have such an occasion, but how the day was marked with sadness for Alexander. He was outside the church whilst we all gathered inside. Because we have been lucky enough to have Louis most people feel we have put the past behind us, that is Alexander! It infuriates me but I have learnt over the last three years to keep quiet. Before Louis, I was agonised by the question, have you had any? Now I am agonised by, is he your first? So how on earth do people seriously believe we can put it all behind us, when it is obviously taken for granted by the majority that babies do not die. We, the already confused and bewildered parents have to be on constant alert, ready to grab the appropriate hat. That famous dual purpose hat that safeguards their unease and our emotions. The ‘never been parents hat’, the ‘first timer’s hat’, the ‘grieving not moving on hat’, and the ‘happy and moving on hat’. Numerous times of the day I change my hat, but it is always so good at the end of the day to hang it up and simply be me. We know we can never forget our babies, and that is all that matters.
Alexander, you are a very important part of our lives, your presence has changed our future and nothing can ever take that away. You will always be part of me. I love you so very much.