Hello the 23rd of June.
June has been a rollercoaster of a month emotionally. All month I have been really struggling with the fact that my due date was imminent and there would be no baby in my arms.
Yesterday morning I had slept poorly, I got up early, had a good sob. Checked how many names we had collected from the various social medias that the #ForeverLoved adverts and posts had been shared, and I prepared myself for what I thought was going to be one of the worst days of my life.
On Tuesday the 20th and Wednesday the 21st I had a couple of breakdowns in the evenings. I was struggling to sleep and I was an emotional mess missing Emmet. My Partner wasn’t doing much better when we met up on Tuesday for lunch and to work out exactly where we were going to put the balloons on the 22nd. Yet when I walked out of that exam knowing I had the rest of the day with my partner to dedicate to remembering our baby I felt freer than I have in a long long time.
Being able to write Emmets name on a balloon. To give some physical sign to the world that he existed was uplifting.
When I had finished writing all the names and we had hung up all the balloons I felt closure. Finally I feel able to move on.
It wasn’t a sad day. I did cry a lot, and some were tears of sadness, but many were also happy tears. I cried over the names, I smiled and laughed over some. Some babies I knew, some I only knew their story, and some were simply a name or date.
Seeing my partner write ‘Daddy’ on the final balloon explaining the #ForeverLoved project to passers by made my heart soar in ways I can’t explain. We felt like a family, not a broken shell of one trying to piece itself back together.
I can never forget Emmet. He is precious to me, to us. Our tiny family is my everything, and I will spend the rest of my life trying to be honor Emmets memory, and do my damndest to build our family, even if that has to be years from now, and not in the way I hoped.
We drove past the balloons this morning as I wanted to see them one last time before I went home, and there was an old couple taking photographs of the river and our balloons from the bridge. That made me smile. I don’t know if they knew what they were for, or if they just thought they were pretty (which they are. The white of the balloons reflects the light and the sparkle of the water when the sun hit it. The contrast against the trees is so lovely. I am afraid my photographs in no way do it justice.) But I like the idea that they have photographs too.
Seeing his name like that. Writing it for the world to see how much we love Emmet, rather than hiding his existence made me feel free. It was like a funeral but without all the sad parts where the whole thing totally sucks. I happy cried and felt glad to have had Emmet, even for so short a time. Normally I think about Emmet and feel really sad, or at least a little bit sad. But right now I am smiling. Actually, propperly, not-at-all-fake Smiling for the firat time in probbably 8 months.
I have been happy in the last 8 months. I’ve documented what has made me happy once a week, but his happy is different.
This happy I am no longer looking at and hating this treacherously un-pregnant body. I have thought a couple of times today ‘I should be holding a newborn’ but it hasn’t hit as hard as the ‘I should still be pregnant’ thoughts.
It’s hard to explain. Emmet was never a newborn, or anything like it. He would have had a heartbeat by 4 or 5 weeks, but I don’t know if he actually lived that long, or if that was only when my body realized Emmet was gone, and that maybe he was gone even before then. Emmet has been a sort of abstract concept when it comes to imagining hin outside of pregnancy. There are too many unknowns. Too much time between having and not having. We say Emmet and he, but we don’t know if Emmet was a he.
Emmet is a fairly gender neuteral name, with more boys going by Emmet than girls. We (my partner and I) only agreed to say he because we realized in a particularly raw and honest discussion at the start of this week, that we both imagined them as a boy, but didn’t say anything to the other because we both felt like idiots (or at least I certainly did) for gendering Emmet when there is absolutely no way of ever truely knowing.
This week as a whole and the 22nd has been filled with both grief and joy.
I will grieve my son for the rest of my life, and I will love him for the rest of my life. (I still keep typing them, I still feel a bit silly saying he, and son, I have been saying it in my head for months but never writing or speaking it, to own to it now is odd.
It feels good, every time I see it it feels good. It makes Emmet feel more permanent somehow, and less like something distant that I can never quite grasp.)
This is us rejoicing in the love we feel for Emmet and the love felt for all the other babies remembered in our #ForeverLoved Balloon Project.
This is how we parent.
This is how we love.
This is our life after loss.