Well that’s it for another year, Christmas has come and gone. The Baileys has curdled, the Snowballs have soured and turkeys everywhere have breathed a huge sigh of relief. I don’t know about you, but I am glad to see the back of the festivities this year. My first Christmas without my son, in theory this should have been the hardest one and it should get easier from hereon in. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen.
I actually found the run-up to Christmas much worse than the day itself. I definitely had a number of melt downs in the week leading up to Christmas, plenty of “it’s not fucking fair” moments. Things should have been so different for us this year and as the end of the year approaches, you can’t help but reflect on that. It should have been our happiest Christmas; we had already planned to host Christmas day at our house in what would definitely have been utter chaos – think Denise from the Royle Family ruining the dinner mixed with an Eastenders style dramatic showdown. But we would have loved it as Billy would have been with us, wearing his handed down Christmas jumper that my best friend had already given me from my godson.
In the end a quiet family Christmas day which we treated like a posh Sunday was actually lovely. Mom’s dinner was a showstopper, husband ate three desserts despite claiming he wasn’t going to this year (he says this every year and I have yet to see him not, he is also dangerous in any kind of buffet situation) and I received some lovely gifts – hello new star print faux fur coat.
Billy was very much a part of our day. We had a lovely stocking for him, he had his own decoration on the tree and we took his memory teddy bear home with us so that we could have him close to us over Christmas. We also looked at his photos and all agreed that he was the cutest baby that has ever been born. Fact.
And just like that 2018 is almost over, an absolute shitter of a year. A year that should have been the most wonderful and life changing year for us. Oh, it was life changing alright, but in a way we could never have imagined.
A few people have said things along the lines of “I bet you can’t wait for this year to be over” or “it’s a new year and a fresh start soon”. Well for a start, nothing really changes when your baby died just because you go into a new calendar year does it, a magic wand isn’t suddenly waved and I stop grieving for my baby. Secondly, I understand why people would assume that I can’t wait to put what has definitely been the worst year of my life behind me, but the truth is, I don’t want this year to end. This was Billy’s year. I found out I was pregnant a few days into January and from that point onwards, this whole year was spent planning for Billy’s arrival. The excitement, the wondering what he would be like, what sort of mother I would be not to mention growing a baby inside of me – I even enjoyed being pregnant and I had expected to hate it. And then, just like that it was all over. No baby to bring home, instead a nursery to pack up into boxes, all of the plans and hopes for the future dashed, replaced with the darkest days of your life.
I guess going into a new year feels scary, like people will forget about him – he was last year’s news. Deep down I know no one will but I think there might be an expectation that we should suddenly be over it just because it occurred in a different calendar year. But the grief of our baby dying is not as easy as the new year, new me bollocks we read spouted all over Facebook on January 1st every year. Nothing really changes, the pain is still there and will continue to be throughout 2019 and every other year, but I expect it will become less raw.
You might think I would hate everything about 2018 but I actually don’t. I have learnt so much and grown in ways I could never have expected. I know what real, unconditional love is now. I know what it is like to love a person so much and how much it hurts to know they can’t be with you but how they will always be a part of you. I know that I am so much stronger than I could ever have imagined. I know that I have the best family and friends a person could ever wish for. I know that my husband and I are true soulmates who will never be broken. I also know that my husband’s driving isn’t as bad as I had thought and it is safe to open my eyes when going down country lanes at 50 MPH. I also learned that wearing big knickers is way comfier than wearing a thong which is essentially like giving yourself a wedgie every day, so that’s something.
Who knows what 2019 will bring. I have learned to expect the unexpected now but still remain optimistic and will never not see the glass as half full. I wish so much that 2018 had given me the outcome of motherhood I had hoped for, that my baby hadn’t died and that he was here with me now. But I have to go into 2019 feeling hopeful, that one day my happy ending is out there.
I won’t say Happy New Year to you as if you are reading this, the chances are you have also had a pretty shit 2018 too. But I do hope that 2019 is kind and gentle to you all.
Love Hannah x