After suffering the untimely loss of any loved one big milestone celebrations just serve as another cruel reminder of what you’ve lost and what you will never have again. The finality of death stares you straight in the face, the acceptance of your new reality impossible to escape. Any last strands of hope that your life would be different are gone and the inevitable is upon you – life without your loved one.
Today is my birthday. The house is silent. I am on my own. I look out at the beautiful blue sky on this spring morning in Perth and I know that I should be happy. I have an amazing husband, great friends, a loving family and a beautiful home. But as usual something is missing, my 5-month-old son. That huge gaping hole where Benjamin should be gets bigger on these types of days, the days when I should be celebrating.
I have been dreading my birthday for a little while now. So much so that if it wasn’t for all the presents Merv had showered upon me in the last few weeks I think I might have forgotten it all together. I was never much of a birthday person but when I was pregnant I imagined my first birthday with our new baby. I had imagined the little card and present that Merv would buy and pretend it was from Benjamin. I had imagined how I would make it all about our new little baby and nothing about me. I had imagined a world where I was still ignorant to the concept of stillbirth and instead naively immersed myself in balloons and birthday cakes.
The “Happy Birthday” wishes are starting to trickle in from around the world and instead of making me happy they are just making me cry. I’m crying because Benjamin is not here. I’m crying because I miss him. I’m crying because life is moving on and it is a life without him. This is not what I had signed up for. I don’t want to get used to being without him but the sad reality is that I already am. The life that I had envisioned for the three of us seems so far away now I can barely imagine it. I have slotted back into the no kids mindset much more easily then I thought I would. I don’t know if I do this to protect myself or if the habit of daily life is taking over. Either way it doesn’t really matter.
My post today will be short as I am on a mission. Like most other things I have done since losing Benjamin I am going to work at my birthday. I am going to work at enjoying it and work at celebrating it. I will go outside and absorb the beautiful rays of sunshine on my skin. I will go for a nice lunch and dress up for some drinks with Merv tonight. I will buy myself a little gift on behalf of Benjamin…a teddy bear that will be donated to another bereaved family by Bears of Hope. Passing on the gift of hope to another family is the best present I can get on my first birthday without Benjamin.