Nearly 6 years. I can barely believe it. And so I start the countdown again. Today, the last day I felt well. Tomorrow, the last day I felt you move. The day after; the trip to the hospital, the false reassurance. Thinking I was in labour, being told you’d died. The day after that; your birth. The silence. Then the rest of my life; a life lived without you.
Some people probably feel it’s unhelpful to think like this – to remember all the details of what happened. And god, does it hurt to remember. But it’s the one time of year I allow all the memories to flood in. And, other than a few moments from the pregnancy, it’s all I have. All that pain, and my love for you.
Barney’s started to ask a lot of questions about you. I try to answer as honestly as I can. Yes, you died in my tummy. Yes, we miss you. Yes, we will never see you again, but we can talk about you, remember you, and look at the one scan picture we have of you. Some of it throws me. We can be driving along, or in the supermarket, or washing up, and he’ll suddenly ask me the one question I can’t answer; ‘Why did Xander die?’ I have no response that can truly satisfy him, because I have no answer that satisfies me. I still have absolutely no idea why a death that was so preventable, so unnecessary, happened. Why I lost you.
Sometimes, I can comfort myself slightly by reasoning that perhaps I wouldn’t have your brothers if you hadn’t died, and obviously I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But it doesn’t follow that I wouldn’t have them, so it doesn’t satisfy me.
I used to comfort myself by thinking I wouldn’t have set up the support group for bereaved parents if you hadn’t died. But of course the others involved might still have set it up. And given that I moved away from it this year, and am grieving for the lack of it in my life, this doesn’t satisfy me either.
Truth is, nothing could satisfy me when it comes to finding reason behind your death. It all seems so bloody pointless. If I could go back to 6 years ago – when you were still alive and safe – I would. I’d say to that younger, more naïve me, ‘don’t believe that midwife. Ask for another opinion. Don’t be fobbed off. Don’t leave the hospital.’ I’d change the decisions I made. I’d deliver you safely. I’d leave the hospital with a baby instead of a box. I’d see you, touch you, hold you in my arms, kiss you over and over. I’d take picture after picture of you. I’d watch you play with your younger brothers. I’d make those memories and I'd see you grow up. I’d never have to answer the question, ‘why did Xander die?’
But I can’t go back. I can never, ever be satisfied. So I start the countdown, and I remember everything I can about those days. Your last movements. Your death. Your silent birth. Anything I can about you. It probably doesn’t help, but it’s all I have. The pain, and my love for you. Because you are loved, Alexander Marshall Kirby, my sweet baby boy. You are loved. X