For Findlay, on a summer’s afternoon

Dear Findlay,

Today is a Thursday. There’s nothing very special about that; Thursdays don’t hold any real significance for us. You weren’t born on a Thursday, you didn’t die on a Thursday. They’re just days, much like any other. Days spent without you; living each one on the edge of the gaping hole where you ought to be, trying to avoid falling in. But on this particular Thursday, I find myself dangerously close to slipping.

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It surprises me how often I am overcome with grief, even after two years. I suppose that two years is such a minute period of time when you think about the expanse which (hopefully!) lies ahead of me; and yet, I could swear I have felt every single hour of the 773 days spent without you. Sometimes it seems as if an eternity has passed since I held you in my arms, kissed your delicate cheek, breathed you in; the life before this one spent longing and grieving and missing you like a distant memory, one which seems to belong to someone else. I hope that as the years roll by I will become more adept at dealing with it, the grief I mean, perhaps finding better coping mechanisms, strategies to stop it overwhelming me so. I guess I have a whole lifetime to learn. Then again perhaps not. You are gone, forever; how can the magnitude of that ever not flaw me from time to time?

Of course I miss the big things; the birthdays, the holidays, the celebrations. I am painfully aware of all the milestone moments we have been robbed of: your first tooth; your first, tentative steps; school plays and sports days… I feel every single one of those losses, like hairline fractures to my heart, poignant reminders of the life together we were denied. As we approach each one, I wonder who you would be, what you would look like, how different things could have been. It’s like saying goodbye to you all over again.

But I also miss days like these, quiet ones spent pottering in the garden. I look outside at the building work taking place on our development and wonder what you would make of the bulldozers, and diggers, and cranes. Would you gaze out of the window in wonder at the bright yellow machines rolling by? Would you stand and wave at the workmen, excitedly calling out to them, proudly showing off your toy tractor? Would you beg me for your own bright orange helmet and spend the afternoons building houses of your own out of Mega Bloks, or the sofa cushions?

It is these small things, the tiny splinters which appear in everyday moments, which are often unseen by others. Family and friends rally around us at Christmas or anniversaries, compassionate in their understanding that these days are hard. But how could they know the pain of glancing in the rear view mirror and realising your face will never be there; or the anguish of not knowing if you would prefer ham or cheese in your sandwich?

As long as you are missing from me, I will miss you. On Thursdays and Saturdays; on hectic work days and on lazy Sunday afternoons. I miss all of it, every moment, always. There is a piece of my heart which forever is yours, and a space in our world where you ought to be. And missing you can only ever be matched in strength, depth and endurance by one thing: my love for you.

All my love, forever and always,

Mummy

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