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.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

When Anabelle Was Eight

I can hardly fathom that Anabelle turned eight this week. 

That eight years have passed by. Right back then I didn't know how I was going to survive eight seconds, eight minutes, eight hours, eight days, eight weeks, eight months.... when I was shattered into a million pieces and the pain was indescribable..... let alone eight years. 

Eight years. 

June is always hard and I'm never exactly quite sure how the milestones and the throw back to 2010 will affect me.  Each year the symptoms are ever present but slightly different. This year it has been restlessness, frequent nausea for no apparent reason and an overwhelming and irrational feeling of panic.  This year, after my reports had been finished, I seemed to lose the ability to think, make decisions or feel present. Maybe not quite aware of myself in space. 

It is remarkable that her birthday passed with such relative calm when at the beginning of this week especially, I didn't feel like I had myself very together at all. Monday and Tuesday I didn't want Jon to go to work and clock watched all of the day until he was home again. Panicky and unsettled. Work Wednesday was a good distraction and then her birthday arrived and for the most part I felt calmer.  

I can't even begin to imagine how grown up she would feel now. How big and tall she would be. Taller than I could know. Not so little at all anymore and maturing rapidly before our eyes. I'm sure this would've been a year of big changes with the transition from infants to juniors under our belts; already on the cusp of finishing Year 3 to begin Year 4. Junior school already whizzing by with high school in our sights before we would know it.  

Our baby girl. On Thursday it was your birthday. You were eight. 

Once again the weather didn't let us down and it was a beautiful sunny day.  Always sunny on your birthday baby girl, I just can't imagine it ever raining. The longest and most beautiful day of the year for you. 

We always try so hard to mark your birthday perfectly. This year we gave your day a unicorn theme. I have no idea if you would even still like unicorns at the age of eight but they are very popular at the moment with lots of little girls. We bought a beautiful pink unicorn for the front garden to sit by your wishing well, bought you a unicorn balloon, a unicorn letter B which Mummy decorated, a unicorn birthday cake, unicorn sparkle glitter, a unicorn craft box and some unicorn party favours for your little brothers to play with on your birthday. 

After dropping your little brothers to school, Daddy and I went out with your baby brother for a birthday breakfast, we collected your huge number 8 balloon and your flowers, and then after morning school for Zachy we made unicorn biscuits ready for your unicorn themed birthday picnic after school. Xander came home from school and we went to your garden to decorate. Your brothers opened your presents for you and played with your flying unicorns (or Alicorns to be specific as Zachy told us!) This year we didn't send balloons after becoming more environmentally conscious about it, but instead released thousands of bubbles; I think this was Luc's favourite bit! We sang happy birthday to you and threw unicorn glitter into the air to make your garden sparkle that little bit more!  

We decided this year to go to Keepers Pond for a picnic and to fly kites for your birthday. Keepers Pond is where I wrote your eulogy for your funeral and where I wrote lots of my letter to you that is safely tucked away with you. We feel a special connection there and have been there for some of your birthdays before. This year it was the perfect place to go and fly your unicorn kite and let your brothers fly their kites.  We ate all our unicorn treats, hid some rocks with your name written on and even came across a group of people having a festival for the summer solstice, which was quite strange but they were all very friendly.  They even let your little brothers have a go at drumming for a few minutes! 

And then we finished your day by driving home and allowing Luc, who was the only one still awake, to blow out all of your candles on your unicorn birthday cake. It was good practice for him ready for his birthday next month!  And then he waved night night to your photo. Another brother who will become more aware of your existence in this family. 

It was a good birthday Belle. There were moments, and we ache tremendously every year that you are not here for your birthday. I just wish it was different. But it was lovely day, being able to make it all about you. 

Even your brothers enjoy making it all about you on your birthday. Zachy went into school telling his teaching assistant that it was your birthday and she wanted him to tell her all about our birthday plans for you. Zachy is so open about his sister, you are his Belle 'but she died' in his innocent understanding. I think he imagines you would be just like Princess Belle from the films. He came home from school on your birthday with a picture he had drawn of you, with a yellow dress just like Princess Belle and a heart and a number 8 because he knew you were eight that day. I often wonder what you would make of your brothers. I imagine you mothering your baby Lucas and being protective of Zachy, but I also imagine you and Xander would be at the bickering stage of being so close in age, with him desperate to be as big as you are.   In your absence he is insistent that he is the biggest because you are really still a baby and zero, not eight.   

And he is right of course. I struggle to imagine you anything other than my tiny baby girl so it must be impossible for your six year old brother when all he sees is your baby pictures and understands that when someone has died that they cannot grow anymore. 

I try to imagine how you, as an eight year old girl, would've been like. What would you like now? Would you have been all over The Greatest Showman craze and most popular film of the year no doubt.  Would you have wanted to sing one of the songs in, your would have been school,  recent talent show? Would you have liked all the Mummy and Me clothes that have become ever popular and mainstream or would you have been reaching the age where you started to think it was a bit embarrassing? 

Maybe this is the birthday I would've let you have your nails painted at the salon as a super big girl birthday treat just like Mummy. Would you have wanted a party for your birthday this year or would you be feeling so grown up now and wanting to do something slightly more grown up like the cinema and a meal with your closest friends for your birthday? I have clear memories of my own eighth birthday; I'm pretty sure we went out for a family meal with my Grandma and Grandad too and ended up back at their house where I was given the tiniest amount of wine in proper glass and felt tremendously grown up about it. Would this have been one of the birthday you would have really remembered too? 

Our beautiful girl. I wish we all got to know what you would've been like when you were eight and didn't have to only wonder and imagine.  

Eight.  Happy birthday our baby girl.  

Mummy and Daddy, Xander and Zachy and Luc all love you endlessly. 

"You are my angel, my darling, my star, 
and my love will find you, wherever you are." 


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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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