Four


Bridgend, South Wales
23rd April 2017

Dear Ziggy,

Today, you should be turning four – happy birthday, cariad. We wish you were here to spend it with us. We miss you.

It’s a year since we last spoke. We are still in the house we bought a few weeks before your last birthday and pretty settled. Mammy’s painting has gone from strength to strength and she has done so much in the last twelve months from craft shows to art shows and selling some paintings. I am in awe.

Your brother is growing into a kind and clever little boy who continues to love language, demanding I read stories that have interesting rhythm and rhyming structures. He is particularly fond of the bear I made up, Bagor, and his adventure with a certain dragon. Button likes to leap on Mammy and Daddy and tickle us when we are sad. I think we’re going to start to tell him about you soon so that it does not become A Big Thing.

You have a new sibling. Spark is expected in July. We weren’t sure that we were strong enough to walk this path again but we managed to pull together the scraps of our courage together for one more trek. Things are different this time.

You are the constant companion.

Time has distorted and bent so much out of shape for me that I no longer have any real sense of how much time has passed. They say it gets easier. I don’t know that “they” are right because it doesn’t feel easier but it does change. I’ve gotten better at holding the grief in its box, better at choosing when to open it and better at spotting when it’s fallen open. I’ve accepted it’s not going to leave me and that, in a very real sense, I am not the same person that entered that hospital four years ago. And that’s OK.

I still think about what it would be like if you were here today, although I have a harder time picturing it now. It hurts a little too much. It’s easier to frame what you might look like now because you and your brother looked so much alike and Button is growing into the mirror of me at the same age. Recently, at Nana’s, I was looking at a picture of me at the same age you would be with Button and it struck me that I was looking at a more fair-haired glimpse of the might-have-been you. It’s hard to feel sad and happy at the same time but your old man seems to have it down. It gave Button an excuse to jump on me again.

I have sent you another story. This one is a little dark again but we are with you always. We miss you.

Mammy and Daddy love you very much.

Nos da, cariad. Taith ddiogel.

Daddy. xxx

Please consider donating to SANDS if you can spare a few coins, they help parents at the bleakest of times and try to ensure as few people go through this as possible.


About Neil

Father of two (but you can only see one), writer, digital boffin, reader, geek and probably some other stuff. Trapped behind a keyboard or chasing around after a 2 year old, somewhere in Wales.

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