Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Seven, Ellanor. Seven!

To last a lifetime.

I can hardly believe our baby girl would not even be considered a baby anymore if she was still alive.

Tomorrow, particularly given the current state of the nation, Steve, Lolly and I will be spending an even more quiet day than usual to celebrate the day I gave birth to our first live child. My mind and compassion is split in several different directions this year. But I must pause tomorrow to honour the day that changed my life forever.

For thirty-one surreal and hope-filled days, she brightly shone on our lives. And then she was gone. Suddenly, unexpectedly. And she's been gone seven years now.

The LGBB came out from the bathroom four nights ago to inform her Dad and me that she had left out a toothbrush holder "just in case Ellanor comes back." Cue the gutting. The stomach falling out through your seat kind of sinking feeling. "Darling," I cooed, bracing myself to begin a chat with her once again about why she can't see her big sister. And then she skipped over to her bed and exclaimed something about one of her Tinkerbell fairy figurines. Steve and I exchanged a glance that was half grimace and half relieved grin, with a hint of furrowed brow.

This year on the eve of Ella's birthday, I feel weird. I have a really floating "nothing" kind of feeling. Last year, I felt purposeful. I had direction. I had resolve. I guess I still have all that, but what with all these current devastations - and many more that I can't concentrate on, even I have a sadness saturation point - and the rollercoaster they are about to embark on, one of shock, grief, anger, acceptance, sadness, resilience and peeks of sun shining through so many days of dark clouds, I just feel like a death seven years ago of a baby not more than a dozen people ever met in life has such potential to be insignificant. And just by the way, I'm so sorry for that awfully long-winded sentence but I haven't the energy to go back and make it shorter (or make more sense).

And it got me thinking, while I was in the toily earlier where I do so much of my good thinking... most of my good realisations happen there and at the clothes line contemplating this strange old week, that no, everyone who has gone before us deserves to have the candle held alight and aloft for them, even if only (or especially) on their day - whether that's a birthday or passing or other significant occasion, important to the candle holder. I've heard of babies, even in this day and age, being left off family trees because "they don't count." Ouch.

So just as grief has no hierarchy, neither does how long a person has lived nor their importance in the family diminish whether it be a grandfather, a sibling, a wife, an elderly great uncle, a father, a baby with no siblings, a cousin.... I just wanted to say that, if for no other reason than to say it for those families with tiny babies not here to celebrate each passing birthday.

They count. Of course they count. They were people too.

And just lastly, I implore you to go here and read the post I made last year to celebrate Ella's sixth birth day. It was a real turning point for me, then in the sixth season of our loss and, I think, contains really valuable grief processing timeline information as I linked to each birth day post, looking back over the years and how I have marked each commemoration differently.

My sweet baby girl, two weeks old

Hug your loved ones. Be thankful for your safety and theirs. Life is fleeting, we all know that. But sometimes, you're smacked in the kisser with the reminder.

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