On September 18th my son, Louis, would be 14 years old – but he’s not, he was stillborn at 41 weeks all those years ago,
What do you do with a day like that. A birthday where there is nothing to celebrate. No memories, no upside, no cake, no presents, no joy.
There are many families out there, too many, experiencing the same difficult days and I’m sure they all have their unique ways of coping.
My own ways of coping have changed over the years – I won’t lie, the initial anniversaries were spent in drunken obliteration, alone as Louis’s father had left me, the saving grace of having good friends to haul me through what can only be described as the bleakest of times. Around year four I think some kind of self preservation kicked in, I had gotten myself through university, fallen in love with a wonderful man and could glimpse a future worth pursuing. Grief does improve with time, but I also think it plateaus – when you bury your child a piece of you goes with them, life absolutely can and does go on, you are just never the same.
Over the next few years I tried to do something on Louis’s birthday, make it count for something. I am infinitely grateful for my husband’s efforts. We’d plan days out, light candles, after our daughter was born I tried to focus on all that I should be grateful for…but it all completely sucked.
I think it used to piss me off more that I was trying so damn hard but as soon as September hit, however well life was going, I couldn’t stop myself from falling down the rabbit hole of grief, and I just didn’t want it to hurt so much anymore.
But it does hurt, every year. The effort of trying to do something positive just makes me angry with an unfair world, borderline bitter.
Our youngest daughter was born just a couple of weeks before Louis’s tenth anniversary. I could have never imagined making it so far, in the year or so after he died, with so much of my life just blown away, I thought I would die from the grief, I couldn’t see a way forward. I made it though, and I am so lucky to have a happy life with a lovely family – if you ask me about Louis I can talk about him freely, anytime…except come those few days in September. In September I break into a thousand pieces.
A couple of years ago I made the decision to stop trying so pitifully hard – this is a birthday with nothing to celebrate, no life to reflect on, no good times, no happy memories.
It’s just a big black hole of crap, memories of a delivery so horrific it still haunts me fourteen years later and a misery that cannot be filled however much I love my daughters, my husband or whatever I do in life.
It’s a sadness that just has to left alone – there’s no quick fix or way to scoot around the pain, I just go straight through. It’s a small trade off to have found happiness in the rest of the year, to wallow now in a pain I just can’t ever forget.