Well, as the title reads, our amazing daughter Rebecca has celebrated her first birthday in Heaven.
Since I came out of the purest depths of grief I wondered how this occasion would pass – Would I find myself back to the depths, in my bed, crying and wearing the pain on my sleeve – Or would I find the strength to enjoy the day and focus on where Rebecca is rather then where she isn’t. I went through a very long stage of wanting a huge celebration and charitable event to raise money for Sands (Stillbirth And Neonatal Death Society) but then I backed down not knowing how I would feel and whether I would have the capacity to deal with the added pressure?
Before I knew it March 2016 was fast approaching and I thought it was just best to accept the way I felt about the day when the day actually arrived.
Two days prior Rebecca’s ‘Angelversary’ we had her headstone erected. This was something I was incredibly excited about. It was like an early birthday present from my husband and I. I insisted to be there to watch the whole process, knowing it was the last thing I could do for her i wanted to be part of it and make sure Rebecca was ok. It was perfect, the stonemason was perfect and her headstone was perfect. Half of me was relieved that she could now lay in total peace but another half was devastated that the possibility that I could dig her back up for a cuddle was now pretty slim…Yes, i know, completely crazy thing to want to do but I am sure other mothers in my position can relate to it – when you’re in those dark moments or having a ‘bad day’, all you want is your baby, you are fully aware with who/what/where they are, but you need to hold them, to feel their skin, to feel the weight of your baby in your arms once more… how will I cope in those moments now when I know there is definitely no way I can sneak a quick cuddle?
So her headstone is up and it’s just lush. She looks so different.
Thursday 3rd March arrived. A beautiful cold, crisp sunny morning greeted us at the cemetry.
We moved on to the hospital where Rebecca was born, at the exact time one year later I was walking through the main entrance, but this time for another reason. My husband and I visited the Chaplinacy to see Rebecca’s name in the Book of Rememberance, this was when the realization hit. Seeing her beautiful name written alongside other babies who were taken the same day (but different years) was too much… we sat, we cried, we prayed for Rebecca. We left.
The rest of the day past quiet casually, fairly normally. We sat together as a family for dinner and I held my living children just that little bit closer whilst saying goodnight.
Saturday 5th March was Rebecca’s birthday. Another beautiful sunny day greeted us. We all started the day bright and early by seeing Rebecca in the morning, taking a big balloon and pure white roses to her grave. We then headed to hospital again, this time to visit the Children’s Unit….
Since Rebecca passed away I have missed out on so much, I can’t even begin to list the things/moments/memories/dreams I have missed. Whilst buying a Christmas present for my neice, who is now soon turning one herself, I found it hard looking at all the toys I could/should be buying for Rebecca. I carried the pain of that moment into the new year. Until I realised that it doesn’t have to be that hard, why can’t I buy Rebecca toys/gifts/teddies? So I decided I would from now on.
So we headed up to the hospital and donated the gifts we had chosen for Rebecca as a family and donated them to the Children’s Unit – they won’t be played with by Rebecca, but they will be played with. I released the overpowering need to buy Rebecca gifts and I know that they will be played with and bring joy to others. We will do this every year.
We then had a lovely pub lunch with Rebecca’s grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We cut Rebecca’s birthday cake and made a wish…
We finished the day by wishing Rebecca one more happy birthday with her at her grave, the children released their balloons and I gave Rebecca a slice of her birthday cake.
All in all, the day went as well as it could.
We celebrated Rebecca for who, what and where she is, rather then the opposite.
This past year has taught me so much, I have grown to accept my ‘bad days’ and to embrace my ‘good days’. I never know what tomorrow might bring or whether it’ll be a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ day, but I know I love Rebecca the same regardless.
Happy Birthday Sweetheart x