Bridgend, South Wales
23rd April 2018

Dear Ziggy,

You should be five today. We should be putting balloons on the doors, making a cake and inviting your friends round for a party and bemoaning the fact your birthday is on a Monday this year. I should be telling your brother to let you open your presents in peace. You should be showing your sister what you have for your birthday.

None of this is happening. And it’s awful.

I can’t believe that it has been five years since I saw you. I can’t believe there isn’t a five-year old running around this house. I can’t believe that when I open up this box where I keep these feelings they are still there, pulsing like a neutron star in the dark.

Yet it has and here we are.

This has been an eventful year. Your sister, Spark, arrived in July and things went as smooth as they could under the circumstances. I think you’d really like Spark. She is a happy baby, with a loud voice and a fierce sense of independence and a giggle that makes all of us smile. Your brother has been very taken with her and loves to make her laugh. He is an excellent big brother.

Your brother started school in the nursery class. He’s attending my old school and that was a very strange moment entering those gates after so long. I wasn’t always the biggest fan of the place but the school has changed a lot – for the better – and J loves the place. We were very relieved.

Mammy continues to paint. Every picture is a little better than those that came before. It’s quite something to see. We’re trying to convince her to put more of the paintings up around the house. She spends a lot of time in the garden with your brother and sister, growing stuff and making sure it doesn’t become a jungle. I think the garden helps.

Though you never spoke, your echo is everywhere. I see the ghost of you in your brother’s and your sister’s faces. Your sister has the same colour hair. Your name crops up all the time. Your birthday…well let’s just say the number seems to pop up everywhere. There are no pictures of us together. Perhaps that’s why I see you everywhere?

The truth is I don’t want to stop seeing you everywhere. Allowing myself to feel the full force of my grief once a year is not, as it turns out, a fantastic way to live but equally, having that hard knot of scar tissue pull a little every day is a useful reminder. The ache guards against taking things for granted. We make a point of thanking your brother and sister for every day for just this reason.

I’ve sent you a story. As you grow, so does Draco; I’m not entirely happy with the piece but I hope you enjoy the tale. We miss you.

Mammy and Daddy love you very much.

Penblwydd hapus, 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.


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