You'd be six this week. August hasn't been nearly as painful as it has been in the previous years. But my brain is a total fog. I feel numb and muggy.
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Today is the 27 August 2016. Six years ago you weren't born yet. Julie, mummy, was 9 months and heavily pregnant. You were due any day now. Julie was off work and taking long and heavy walks waiting for you to arrive.
I remember clearly in that week before, driving home from the supermarket, thinking that this is like the final level before everything changes. I remember thinking I need to be clearly focused on the road, because if I had an accident it could totally mess up this last sprint to the finish line: the finish line being our first child: you.
I remember hoping you might come on September 1st. The start of school term. Then you'd be like me at school: one of the oldest. But you'd have your own entrance into the the world though, you'd come the last day, 31st August, you would have been the youngest in school.
I remember Julie going into light contractions, going into the hospital and seeing your heartbeat on the monitor. I remember Julie smiling for the picture I took of her on the hospital bed all hooked up to the monitoring machine.
Nothing could prepare us for what would come four days later.
I remember driving to the hospital, our lives to be forever changed. Julie, in her contractions, crouched in the seat-well of the car, me driving so carefully as it was the only thing I needed to be perfect at.
I remember hating, seething with hate towards the consultant for telling us he couldn't find your heartbeat. I wanted to burn the world down, but I needed to be level and stable for Julie. We needed to get through to the other side of this. To losing you.
Day 1. The empty house. The empty nursery room. My face was sore from crying through the night. I'd woken up only to hope for the day to end. This would go on repeat for the longest time.
Julie and I clung to each other. We held on real real tight.
I wrote a lot about you, about the moments, important moments. It helped me. But the days, and months that followed, are still a blur. I've no idea how we got through it. Certainly one day at a time. We told ourselves we'd smile again one day. We'd laugh again one day. We'd be happy again. But it would take time, time to learn to carry our pain.
You bumped our train-of-life off it's tracks. You set us on a new course. One that we never knew existed. But we weren't alone. I think knowing that we weren't alone in this dark and terrible world, made it somehow easier. Knowing that other people have gone ahead of us, meant we could survive.
And we did. We got to a new place. Somewhere different to where we were headed six years ago, but we're here now. With your brother and sister.
It still hits me hard all these years later. I watched a film the other week, and a tiny movement of a hand on a character in their last breath threw me back in time to morning after you were born. The memory split me in half, and tore me apart. I was a mess. I suspect that you'll continue to have that unexpected effect on me for the rest of my life.
I wish you were here, but you're not. I can't change that. I'll keep you in my heart, like your mummy does. I'll keep bringing flowers to your graveside, and I'll continue to say your name.
We'll make a cake, and cry for you on your birthday, this coming 31st August. We miss you Tia.