It's nine months since Bertie was born. We are three quarters of the way through our first year of grief. We have faced his due date, first Christmas, mothers' day, my husband's birthday, and now, fathers' day. The next thing will be my bithday, followed a week later, by Bertie's. Already it's looming on the horison, the next big thing we have to face. Already I am worried about it, what should we do to mark it? How will we be? What will we feel up to doing? Lots of people release balloons, or lanterns for their babies on special occasions, but somehow that just doesn't feel right for us. But I just don't know what to do instead. What do you do to mark what would have been your baby's first birthday? We can't have a party, yet we want to do something. I never envisaged a graveside vigil for my first born's first big day. Who would?
I am hoping, and relying on the fact that I will "just know" what feel right, when the time comes. He will let me know what he wants, won't he? I'm his mum, I should know. But I just don't, not yet.
These milestones are not getting any easier. This weekend, for fathers' day we had family gatherings with both sides of our family. Both were so hard because Robert was missing, I could just picture him in a high chair at one end of the table, but it's just a dream. He was missing, as he always is. We had to wish our dads a happy day, knowing that my husband should be celebrating his first fathers' day too, but he wasn't. We had to smile and carry on and hide the hurt we felt inside, like we always do. Masks on, good to go.
I am told that the first year is the hardest, all the firsts. But I cannot see right now how next year, or the year after that, or any of the years to come are going to be any less painful. no matter how big our future family turns out to be, there is always going to be one missing around our table, forever.