Five years. Such a long time and yet no time at all. It is different this year, we have his little brother so of course I don't have the "luxury" of focusing solely on Bertie. And that makes me feel guilty! I can't win. We managed to travel down to see him for his birthday, I delivered his gift and flowers myself, and I am so glad we managed that. But, with so much to remember to pack for Oliver, I forgot to pack Bertie's candle this year. A silly thing, but a tradition and he doesn't get many. Lucky his nanny had some we could light instead. He danced in them just the same. I forgot to look for him in the clouds. But I did notice when the sun shone at his forever bed, as it always does.
It's normal, isn't it? Second child comes along and the first gets less attention. Oliver has been called Robert/Bertie as many times as Oliver. Normal. But hard when the first isn't here to claim his bit of attention. I feel guilty when I forget to give it in the way I have always done.
Taking Oliver with us to Bertie was bittersweet. So many years we have waited, prayed, hoped and cried. He is here, our rainbow, and at a month old we took him to his brother's grave. I cried, of course. For Bertie, for Oliver not having his big brother, for the space next to Bertie and my relief that we aren't using it. Because, yes, last time we went I really did look at that space and wonder if next time we came would we be putting his sibling to rest there? Relief. And pain. And a grief that isn't all fixed now, and never will be.
When Oliver is drifting off to sleep, his jaw goes slack, his eyes close and he looks so much like his brother at the end that I can hardly bear to look at him. He's doing it right now. I hope that as he grows, it will comfort me to get a glimpse of how Bertie may have looked. But he is so much more than a rainbow baby and little brother. He is a new little life, his own person. Not a replacement, a sibling. I am just so sorry for him missing out on his big brother. For all of us missing out on Bertie and all he would have brought to our lives.