Tomorrow is our second-time-dating anniversary. It’s not one we really celebrate but it’s an anniversary nonetheless. Seven years ago, we vowed that “if we are doing this again, we are doing it for keeps” so I’ve never doubted we’d still be here, seven years later. I just never imagined that our here would look quite like this.
Our moto has always been : Whatever Tomorrow Brings and it is so much more poignant with every shitty tomorrow that comes our way. The shit isn’t going to break us, it can’t. I understand how it does for some, but we can’t let that happen. I don’t think the vow in good times, and in bad is ever more meaningful than right now. I can’t let the death of our son mean the loss of our marriage too. It doesn’t need to. So it won’t.
People keep asking me how are you two, you know, as a couple. So I guess people expect some wobbling, they understand that it is highly possible that there will be wobbling or even some earth shattering earthquake size tremors. I hope it’s a testament to us, to the way we communicate, to how much we love eachother and how much we both love Leo, that we haven’t even swayed in the breeze. I’m quietly confident that it’ll we stay that way too, because I passionately hope that it will remain the truth.
We’ve been on an active journey to parenthood for half the time we’ve been together now. It is the focus to everything. The echo in every decision or plan. Almost annoyingly. It’s the balance of trying to live life to the fullest and saving and planning for a family. When the saving and planning aspect involves fertility treatment, it does become quite an effort. But it really is the only thing we truly desire.
We were so looking forward to the next phase. Becoming mothers. Parents. A team. We’ve managed the initial stages of grief and parenting Leo from afar with communication, teamwork and a united front. We discovered our son had died, together, holding hands, looking at eachother and not the doctors or the silent, still ultrasound screen. We’ve phoned our parents to tell them their grandson had died. We’ve made decisions on how to deliver our sleeping son. We consented to post-mortems, and planned a funeral. We ordered a headstone and chosen a coffin. We lowered our son into his grave, together. We’ve created acts of remembrance and found out how best to share his story. We’ve planned a legacy. We’ve held eachother whilst we’ve cried. We’ve calmed eachother when it just boils over and something as simple as cooking tea is just too much. We’ve sat quietly next to eachother with deep understanding. We’ve breathed in unison to keep the other calm. We’ve imagined what should-have-been together. We’ve questioned why, so many times, together. We still have so much to do together, for Leo. Some really fucking hard stuff. Some nicer, lighter things too.
If we can survive the death of our son, delivering him, watching his lifeless body come into this world. If we can hold our sleeping son, kiss him, stroke him. Cherish his smell. If we can walk this walk, together, as well as we have so far, I have no doubt we can carry on walking together, whatever tomorrow brings.
If we can parent Leo like we have, then I know we can parent any other child with a love so deep that we will all be fine. We deserve this. She deserves this.
If we can do this, all of this, tackle the full picture of what stillbirth is, and survive, then I know we will be okay. And if lightning can actually strike twice, which I know it can, then we will still carry on surviving, together.
For a trip down memory lane, for a glimpse into life before Leo, this is a snippet of our wedding – our first one – four and a half years ago. Excuse my nervous bouncing. We are standing in the same room we gathered after Leo’s funeral. Just a stones throw from where he lies now.
I love you, Goose. Happy Anniversary.