I'm fascinated by old photographs, in particular ones from my own family and my own history. There's something that draws me in to the moments frozen in time, before anything changes. That "something" is what takes hold of me on this particular day: the day before Tia's birthday.
I write this because I can. Because I need to put it somewhere, and in part so that my grief doesn't have to exist alone. And as I write this my grief in me makes me want to sleep. It's like sand grinding over and over against the stone of my consciousness, and soothing me into painless, grief-less sleep. Though if I sleep I'll miss the reality of it all...which I'm not even sure I want to face. Today is the hardest day.
There's this one photo of Julie. It doesn't matter what the pixels in the photo tell you, it's how I remember it. She's a full 9 months pregnant, her back to the photo but her bump, large and proud. Standing in the nursery that we had prepared, looking out of the full length window, the sun shining against her hair. Radiating life is what I thought when I looked at the photo. But, after Tia was born, after our lives changed track, after our future was snatched from us, I couldn't bear looking at this photo, it was too painful. Though not because we'd lost Tia, but because that version of Julie didn't know what would come. That she would never return to that that moment. That our lives could never return to our original tracks.
And so today, the 30th, is the worst day. Perhaps more so than recent years because of the self imposed importance of a 10th anniversary. This day, 10 years ago, we were innocent. Within 24 hours all of that would be smashed.
Today, in 2020, Julie and I have a kind friend who is looking after our two beautiful children, so that we can have some head space. Julie reads, I write, we'll take walk to Tia's trees where we had a bench installed and think back to those days our friends and family came together. We'll sit under the shade of the tree we planted in Preston Park (and here as a baby 10 year old tree).
We'll try and take our time, because I know, once the kids are back with us, life will march on.