Bridgend, South Wales
23rd April, 2019

Dear Ziggy,

This year I find myself uncertain what to write to you. You should be six. You are six? We try every year to make this time quiet for us so we can reflect, think about you and – in some way – feel like you’re still here.

But you’re not.

Your brother has been told about you. He misses you a great deal and this has been hard to explain but we want him to feel this is just all part of his normal. He is a very sweet boy who loves playing with other children (and his sister) and is starting to read. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, he likes the books some wise teacher selected for him that involves an alien. He has a wild imagination.

Your sister is a free spirit. She loves music, telling stories, playing and anything that makes her parents shriek in fear. She’s a bit of an adrenalin junkie. She’s very clever – like her brother – and gets into all kinds of mischief as a result. She and your brother are very close.

Mammy carries on painting. The series she has been working on for a while was finished last year, a little after I wrote to you. She continues to experiment and is drawing a comic based on one of my stories that I wrote a lifetime ago before you were born. Sometimes, like me, she is sad because we both miss you dreadfully but the paint is a little like the stories and, if you focus, you can trap a little bit of the pain on the canvas or in the tale and turn it into something else. It remains the only magic I know or believe in.

Looking back on letters from your earlier birthdays, I find I often turn to thinking of you as you might have been on your birthday. This year I find that I can’t. 6 seems like such an unimaginable age and you looked so much a mix of your brother and your sister that my mind can’t quite settle. “What if” feels like the most unbearable question in the English language.

Happy birthday my beautiful boy. I miss you. We miss you. I have sent you another tale of Draco, as is our tradition, and – as ever – I am uncertain that it achieves its aim but I hope you enjoy. Draco is venturing further afield than usual and I think this, at least, is A Good Thing.

Mammy and Daddy love you very much.

Penblwydd hapus, cariad. Taith ddiogel.

Love you, cariad,