Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Our Little Girl Was Six

After setting an alarm and getting out of bed at midnight to see Anabelle's birthday in, lighting her 00:08 arrival candle as we always do, the rest of the day started at 5.15am. Which is somewhat ironic. 

I imagine if Anabelle was here it may well have started at an equally obscene hour, but because someone would've been excited for her presents, (which would've been wrapped in a beautiful pile of parcels on the living room floor and not garden decorations sat in carrier bags by the front door ready to be taken to a cemetery), and not because her Small brother appeared to have woken up sobbing from a bad dream. 

So we were awake, all of us (Xander easily woken between 5-6 anyway, disturbed by Zac's cries) early, no-one resettled. Up.

And the 21st June, already emotionally charged, exhausting and difficult as it is, doesn't need tired toddlers, pre-schoolers and parents in the mix too. But we got through it, remarkably well considering that Small only napped for half an hour the entire day and Big not at all! 

Her birthday always seems hugely pressured. Like we're running out of time from the moment we get up in the morning. I'm never sure where it comes from or what it is really about. Maybe its the enormity of only having had her for just one day. One day where we tried to cram as much as we could into the twelve hours we held her in our arms after she was born. Maybe now we try and cram as much as we can into one day, her day.

Twelve hours was never enough time. 

This year the normal daily routine dominated the beginning of the day. Getting Alexander to school, Jon running errands, picking up flowers and a hospital appointment for me. (Lucas doing well and currently estimated a very similar size to Anabelle was at her 32 week birth). Then collecting Alexander from my parents, going to buy balloons and more flowers, and all of us going up to see Anabelle together. 

This year Alexander has asked so many questions. Questions a four year old boy shouldn't even have to think about. Why did Belle die? Where did she die? Where is she now? How can she catch the balloons we send her if she is dead? Is she growing into an angel? What does buried mean? Who is going to be the next to die? Is baby Luc going to die in your tummy too? 

Is baby Luc going to die in your tummy too? 

I don't know if we're answering any of these questions in the way we should. We try hard to be simple and factual most of the time. But sometimes its hard to be factual, and sometimes what we do is all about imagination, our memories, not really real and certainly makes no difference to Belle - like sending her balloons, or bubbles, singing happy birthday. Imagining her somewhere. And that is harder to explain. Xander must be so confused. 

We've tried to make Anabelle an authentic and ever present member of this family; Xander has always known about her, Zac is just beginning to grasp Belle is his sister and recognises her in her photos. But how do you explain any of this to a small child? 

At the moment Xander seems to grasp that someone dying is 'very sad' and seems to understand that is means that we can't see the person anymore. He understands Mummy and Daddy were/are very sad that his sister died, and often tells us that he misses Belle too. He seems to accept that even after someone has died we still love and remember them, and that we still love and remember Belle and that she is part of his family. He accepts what is, but is questioning the deeper meaning behind everything, and the answers are so complex for us as adults let alone him. 

And the worst thing out of all those questions is we cannot say no and promise that baby Luc won't die. We can't promise our small child that something terrible won't happen to his new baby brother. All we can do is tell him that the Doctors are looking after Mummy and Luc so closely and everything looks well at the moment and we really hope Luc will be come out of my tummy and home very soon, just like he and Zac did. 

And then tonight, in all his innocence, he said he hoped Luc would die, so that Belle would have a friend with her because he didn't want Belle to be lonely... 

Bittersweet. Our sweet thoughtful boy. 

Our precious baby girl. At six you're not really supposed to be a baby at all anymore. Sometimes I try to imagine you as the big girl you would be, just about finishing up Year 1 in school and starting your final year in the infants. But then I see your pictures, my tiny 4lb 5oz baby girl. Always my baby girl. Our only ever girl. 

I often wonder what you would make of all your little brothers. What a Queen B you would be if you were here with three little brothers to boss around. I reckon you would've been the apple of their eye, their one and only big sister.

Xander and Zac really enjoyed being part of your birthday yesterday. They enjoyed a play and a run around in your garden, arranged the flowers in the pot on your garden - totally all their work and nothing to do with me. They each chose a balloon for you. Xander wanted to send you a light pink circle balloon and Zachy chose a bright pink star balloon. They released them into the sky for you and watched them float away. Zachy didn't really understand though and was very upset when his balloon had gone; he is only two and a half and we didn't really explain very well he couldn't get the balloon back after he had let it go. 

At home they were both very pleased we had bought you a cake. Xander helped me count out six candles because he knew you were six and both of them blew out the candles after they had sung happy birthday to you. In fact we had to do it twice at Zac's insistence!

And then before they went to bed (and read your story Guess How Much I Love You and another story to help the boys understand what happened and why you're not here), everyone made you a fairy garden altogether. Daddy built the fairy house, your brothers filled the garden with soil, and added a rainbow path and a pond, and everyone sprinkled some fairy dust. Xander is very interested in how the grass seed he sprinkled on the soil is going to grow. 

The fairy in the garden is called Belle too. We knew it was the perfect present this year when we saw it. 

It amazes me that somehow six whole years have gone by since we held you. So often it feels like no time at all. Other times I can't believe your brothers are fast approaching five and three and that you have another brother very nearly here too. What a busy six years. Six years where we've missed you every day and loved you every day. Remembered you every day. 

It is so hard knowing that if things were as they should be we would have a six year old girl heading up this brood of babies.  You've no idea how much we wish it was different. That we had all of you together. An even bigger and busier chaotic mess. 

What would it be like to be six? 

What would you be doing now? Would you be able to swim and flying through your 'Wave' badges? Would you be doing gymnastics, or dancing, or theatre groups, or learning to play an instrument, or a sport? Would you like princesses and fairies? What would your favourite colour be? How would you like to dress? What would be your favourite toy? Would you be into this Shopkins that I hear so much about and little girls at the moment? What would your favourite story be? Your favourite programme on the TV? Would you enjoy school? Who would your best friend be? 

So many questions that can never be known. A whole life robbed from you and robbed from us. 

But we tried to make your birthday special darling girl. In the only way we can and know how. Surrounding you and your brothers in love and pink and hoping we got it right for a big six year old girl. 

Always loved, always missed, always everything. Always xXx 

"You don't really die until everyone that ever remembered you dies too." 


Sarita Boyette said...

Happy Heavenly Birthday to precious Belle! I love her flowers, balloons, cake, & fairy garden. Sending love & hugs to her family <3

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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