Tuesday 1 November 2011
So, the date I have been dreading for the last six months has finally arrived - the due date we were given for baby Beans by the hospital, although of course I know it's hugely unlikely that he or she would have arrived on time. Probably would have been early if the baby was going to take after it's mother - and definitely late if it was following in its father's footsteps.
So far I feel ok. I've been so anxious about today coming around, wondering how sad and hurt we will both feel, and I've been worrying if we'll be able to cope with what the day brings up. It's still early on, but the signs are good. We had a very good weekend which was the perfect balance of seeing good friends and having that valuable Mr and Mrs time we thrive upon. Friday night was spent in a couple of bars in Soho with really good friends and my cousin made an appearance to en route elsewhere which I really appreciated. On the way to the second bar we literally bumped in my old friend Jon - who had been Alex's (the friend who committed suicide earlier this year) flatmate for several years. It was fantastic to see him and he changed his plans and came on to the next place with us. He and I spent the rest of the night catching up and sharing our memories of being around Alex, which was very cathartic - if sad. Having not been in a fit state to make the funeral as it was so soon after baby Beans died, it felt right to be sharing these memories and thinking about a good friend with someone who'd been even closer to him than I had. Alex, we both miss you and we hope that wherever you are you have found the peace that you lacked in this life. I remember well what your sister shared after your death - that you were someone who's light burned so brightly but that meant the shadows were even darker for you. I hope you're far away from those shadows now.
Saturday I met my gorgeous friend Alix for lunch in London Bridge, one of my lovely bridesmaids but I hadn't seen her for ages as life seems to have conspired to keep us apart for a few months. A friend from my school days, again it felt helpful and important for me to talk about baby Beans and how I've been feeling with her. The lunch turned into afternoon, and turned into evening - when the Boy joined us - but spending so much time with a special friend re-energised me, and with her I was able to explore my hopes for the future and that we'll have another chance to be parents to our own baby, but also our strong interest in adoption and how that might pan out. I haven't shared these dreams much before, and something about saying them out loud with Alix made me believe they are possible and attainable.
Sunday was a very quiet Mr and Mrs day - a pyjamas until the afternoon and reading papers in bed kind of day. One of my favourite kinds. The Boy and I talked a lot about where we're at, and spent time looking after each other - cuddles, back rubs, foot massages... that kind of quiet physical reassurance of being there for the other and valuing each other so much.
And so Tuesday sure enough follows Monday, and has arrived. I wish more than anything our little baby Beans had made it, but for whatever reason my body decided it wasn't to be this time and I - finally - accept that. I've known what it is to be a mother for 14 weeks and hopefully in the future I will get a little longer to play the role, it was one I found unlike any other. But losing baby Beans taught me that the future, while you can fantasise and plan, can never be controlled. Life it beautiful, but it is fragile and vulnerable, and lifetimes can change in a second. The loss has changed me, but I recognise now it has changed me in some ways for the better. Days aren't wasted, friends aren't taken for granted, I can't remember the last time I rowed with the Boy... somehow a wet towel on the floor doesn't seem remotely important any more. What matters is what we are and what we have in the here and now.
When the baby first died I was really scared - fear crept in and ran rings around me, tying me in knots and leaving me exhausted from chasing my tail. I was aware for the first time of my own mortality, and the Boy's, and it hit home that my friends and family were only here for a set time as well. I panicked. But now I accept that that's ok. That's how it's meant to be, how it's always been - and how it will be for long after I am no longer here. With that acceptance comes a courage because I can let go of the anxiety that comes from trying to be in control. With that acceptance comes a freedom because I don't need to worry about what might happen down the line. And with that acceptance comes a sense of love for those around me that is so strong because I know we won't all be here together and I don't want a day to go past when I don't love the Boy as tenaciously and as passionately as I can.
Today is another farewell and I would say to our baby, later we will visit your grave and as your parents we will talk about you and what you meant to us in the little time we had to enjoy you. I will wonder if you would have loved books like me, or art like your dad, and which of our football teams you might have ended up supporting as well. Or would you have hated 'the beautiful game' and wondered what we saw in it. I will wonder if you would have been as intelligent as your grandpa, or as empathetic and emotionally intelligent as your aunty. Would you have liked trains, dolls, or lego? Would you have been quiet and unsure, or loud and assured. I hope we would have made you happy and been good parents. We both wanted you very much and there is a real pain that we never got to know these things, that we never got to know you. But - you will be with us for always, you've already shaped our lives and you have changed mine. I know we carry you as we go on, and that there won't ever be a 1 November when I don't think of you. And if we are fortunate enough to have our own family, I will never forget there should have been someone else here first, another place set at the table, another stocking hanging in the fireplace, another hand to hold and head to stroke. I have my faith and I like to think we will meet again. Until then, goodbye, goodnight and God bless xx
I Carry Your Heart With Me - by E. E. Cummings
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anyway I go, you go my dear, and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate my sweet)
I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
And it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
And whatever a sun will always sing is you
Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(Here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
And the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
Higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
And this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart).