I try not to write too often on here about things “close” to home. The Blog (as its referred to in our house) has become a happy haven of mainly positive things. Lots of cake, flapjacks, flower photography and minor failures that inflict limited pain upon the psyche.
I wanted today to talk on the flip side. I don’t want to be all dramatic about it but I guess I’ve kind of blown the casual approach. This huge build up to some monumental thing. To me it is monumental. To me it feels like the biggest, life changing, worst, best thing that’s ever happened. It felt like that then and it still feels like that now.
10 years ago today I lost my son.
That sentence alone and even typing it feels weird. I don’t feel old enough to have lost a child let alone be writing about it 10 years later. Losing a child is what happens to other people.
Some might think that describing it as a “best” thing that’s happened is terrible. On the surface they’d be right. However I like to think I can write it, because it happened to me and although I don’t have to explain that part, I will.
We named him Caiden Andrew, his middle name after my dad. Caiden would have been born in the January.
I always say Caiden made me strong. I had this whole life planned for him before I’d even had my first scan.
Then we lost him.
There’s no further explanation. No rhyme or reason. No fault or cause. No story could convey the feeling of that loss. Details are irrelevant the outcome is the same. He was no longer HERE.
We lived in a pub at the time which made things worst (if that’s even possible) the phrase “goldfish bowl” doesn’t even come close to describing the feeling of living in a public forum. Everyone knows your business and thinks they’re entitled to an opinion on it. Despite being surrounded by alcohol I didn’t drink. I was afraid. Afraid if I started drinking I’d drink myself into oblivion and never re-surface. Then we moved out of the pub and into a flat and that’s exactly what happened……regularly.
Despite all the turmoil within me and within my relationship, Dylan came barrelling into my life. My relationship with Caiden and Dylan’s dad came to an end when I was 10 weeks pregnant with Dylan.
Dylan. My beautiful boy. Our adventure was just beginning.
I want to talk to myself from back then and tell that terrified girl that the cold will end. That although you feel totally alone and isolated, as though an eternal winter has settled within you – it will end. I want to ruin the surprise and tell her that her summer is coming and is currently popping into the pub “on his way home from work” every night to see her. That without her even realising it he’s already healing her with his soft words and funny ways. I want to spoil it all and tell her how the story really starts. That the first 2 years of her twenties were merely a training ground for the real adventure to come. Those 2 years were a test for endurance and stamina and this 21 year old girl passed with honours. I want to scream from the roof tops “THIS IS NOT YOUR LIFE! Your life will begin when Dylan arrives and is bathed by the very same man whose bringing you summer!
Losing Caiden made me feel brave because when the worst thing has already happened to you – what’s the worst that can happen now?
That’s why on his anniversary I don’t go to the garden where his plaque is. I don’t cry on his anniversary. It’s weird how my subconscious knows that it has to come the day before.
His anniversary is for happiness and joy. It’s the day I choose to celebrate the children I have and remember how lucky I am, that the worst thing that could ever happen to me, happened early, so that I can spend the rest of my life knowing just how fortunate I am.
That’s why every year I do something with the kids, just me and them together. They know about their brother and talk about him whenever the mood takes them. Their concept of what happened has grown as they have.
Today we went to the fields near home with Winnie the staffy and fed the ducks. It wasn’t a grand day out, with lots of money spent. It was humble and honest and lovely and just for us. We fed the ducks and gave the paths our own names like Ferngully, Jungle Isle and Maze Run. It’s how we roll.
Then we went home and went about our day as normal. Because life moves forward it’s up to us to decide if we move with it.
I hope I’ve helped someone. I hope you don’t feel alone. I hope my story gives you hope.
Be happy it’s all any of us should be.