Monday, 24 December 2012

Mark: Christmas 2012

Another Christmas, eh? Where does the time go? Last year, it was very obvious how we were going to feel. It should have been our first Christmas with our son, and instead there we were, huddled by his grave letting go of a balloon and hoping that somewhere, somehow he'd grab it and raise a giggle.

How are we going to feel this year? How are we supposed to feel? It's a lot tougher question to answer.

We're thrilled to have young Iris with us, delighted our families will have the chance to spoil and cherish her as is only right and proper. She's been and will continue to be exactly what it said on the tin - a precious Rainbow baby who has given us a reason to live and laugh again.

And yet how can Christmas not be bittersweet? I was putting together a stocking for her earlier today, smiling at the glorious stupidity of wrapping presents that I myself will be opening come Christmas morning. And then I wondered whether, had things gone differently, the wee man would have been able to make sense of it all this year. What would we have given him? What would he have said? Maybe nothing, probably nothing, but still you can't help but wonder, imagine, fill in the eternal blanks.

That's kind of how it is for us now. You feel guilty for enjoying your living child, for even momentarily "forgetting" the dead one. Then you feel guilty for obsessing about the one that's not there when you've an equally precious gift sitting there smiling up at you.

Perhaps that's just how it's going be. I read a blog the other day. It said that when a child dies, it's not instantaneous; a little bit of them, and you, dies every day for ever more. It's a loss that reveals itself in everything that they, and you, miss out on.

But then there's Iris. Surprising us every day with stuff we never knew was there to be enjoyed. We don't want her to live her life for him. She's her own person with her own story. It's not her fault that she's a reminder as well as an inspiration.

Maybe there's no such thing as complete happiness in life. Maybe you're only aware of having had it, or at least an approximation, when it's ripped from you and gone forever.

It's hard to envisage ever again describing ourselves as "happy" at least in the bland, generic sense. That would feel like a betrayal. But after the storm, even if your house has been washed away and you're standing there soaked to the bone, can you still look up and enjoy the rainbow? Of course you can. They go together, like brother and sister.

Happy Christmas, kids. Your daddy loves you both, up to the moon and back.


  1. Mark, thank you for sharing this here. It is always nice to have a father's voice on the blog although we all wish none of us were writing here.

    I am sure Ruaridh is watching over you all, especially his baby sister. Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas xx

  2. A really beautful post - the conflicts of missing one of your children whilst being grateful for the other. Thank you so much for sharing x