After checking the paint was non-toxic, covering the floor in a plastic mat, and covering the table in brown paper, we undressed you to your nappy and put you in a t-shirt bib. We were all set. Ready to make a mess, ready to make more memories, ready to make prints of your ever-growing hands, they were slowly losing their chubbiness, and mummy wanted to capture every change as you grew from a baby to a toddler. After 30 minutes of painting and 29 minutes of wrestling with you to stop eating the sponge dabber, we finally got a lovely clear hand print. It was time to pop you in the shower, after covering yourself in little hand prints, you had done an excellent job of turning yourself into a smurf. Mummy still has this little hand print on the fridge, a constant reminder of the fun we had in the short time we were blessed with you. Little did mummy know, your next hand print would be taken after you had died.
Your hand I remember placing on mummy’s face as I held you at the hospital, to feel your touch, and to feel your skin on mine. I can still feel your little hand on my face now, and your not so chubby fingers entwined with mine. I held your hand for so long that by the time I couldn’t hold you any more, your hands were warm. I wanted so much to make you warm, to pull you so close to me that somehow my breath would warm you up, but it wouldn’t. Instead I cuddled you tight, your head resting in my neck. Mummy’s tears making their way down her face landing on yours, some would land on your eyes and it would look like you were crying. Mummy had enough tears for the both of us.
When I was pregnant I would often think how amazing mother nature was. I would marvel at your perfect toes, perfect ears, perfect everything. I tried for so long to understand how all of your little features had grown and formed exactly as they should be, how, by eating food full of nutrients and sleeping well it would in turn look after you, keeping you healthy, my body nurturing you and keeping you alive. How it could even be possible that there were two hearts beating in mummy’s body. Now your little heart wasn’t beating any more, and as I laid there, with your hand on my face and my tears falling down your cheeks, it felt like mine had stopped too.
As I lay there with you wrapped around me, I could not have felt more at peace with you in my arms. That’s where you belong, in my arms, I knew these moments were sacred. I knew these moments were limited and I knew my time holding you was running out. Nothing could prepare me for the moment that I had to place you in your coffin for the last time. It felt like I was closing the lid on my life, and the truth is, I was, you were my life and you still are now. That’s when the fear set in, knowing that I would never see you again, never kiss you again, never hear you again and never be able to hold you again. I had been the first person to hold you when you were born, I was the last person to hold you before you died, and I was the last person to hold you before the little lid was shut for the last time, the light being diminished from my life forever.
Today is a day that is a day dedicated to Father’s, but daddy every day is a special day that should be dedicated to you.
I know that if I was there, I would have made you a special card, with sticky fingers and lots of mess. I would have made you ginger bread men at nursery, but the little men would have come home with no arms, because I might have eaten them on the way home. Mummy would have told me not too, but I would have done it anyway, you would have loved them without arms anyway, I just know it.
With mummy’s help I would have made you breakfast in bed, but not before having snuggles, and then I would have done some really good jumping up and down on your bed. And because you’re super lucky I would have helped you eat your toast, because that’s my favourite.
But the thing is, I’m not there. But today doesn’t feel any worse than yesterday or tomorrow, maybe slightly more poignant, because we don’t get to wake up together any day and this makes me really sad. But I don’t want you to be sad, because you’re being the best daddy that I could ever wish for. And for every day that we spend apart is one day closer to the day that we’ll be together again. But daddy, you have a really important job to do, you and mummy. I gave you a really special gift, I gave you a little baby, a little brother or sister from me, because you deserve it, you deserve to be happy, you deserve to be able to hold a little baby again and you deserve to love and be loved. Just like we did.
Daddy I really miss you, and I see how upset you are, I see mummy cry and hurt and I see how you look after her. I know how much you worry about her. I know that despite all of your own pain you make sure that she is ok and the little peanut growing inside her belly. I know there will always be something missing from our little family of four, but just know daddy that I follow you around all the time. I never leave your side. I know that your strength comes from me and as you gently put one foot in front of the other, I will hold you. I will quietly slip my little hand into yours and slowly help you forwards.
From my little white fluffy cloud I’m sending you the biggest, squeeziest of all the hugs.
“The days will always be brighter,
because you existed.
The nights will always be darker,
because you are gone.”
This time last year was the worst journey I made of my life, the journey to visit you for the last time, knowing it really was the very last time. Knowing that later that day your forever bed would be sealed, never to be opened again. As your family arrived to see you, I carefully lifted your fragile and broken little body from your bed and cradled you, rocking you backwards and forwards, treasuring what would be my last few moments with you. All eyes were on you, waiting for God to undo it, all watching you, waiting, waiting for a miracle. That miracle never arrived. So as your family kissed your tiny beautiful fluffy hair for the last time, their tears like a leaking faucet landing on your skin, they said goodbye, goodbye William. Then it was just mummy and daddy. Mummy stood holding you, the need to rock you to sleep long gone, but mummy did it anyway, still instinct, those rocking motions part of mummy’s being, part of what mummy is for, to soothe you, to comfort you, to make it better. But, mummy could no longer make this better, the primal screams from mummy’s body gone from the day you left, replaced only by muted sounds. Daddy pulled us in to a big daddy bear hug, his arms wrapped around mummy, you our baby tucked safely between us, for the last time, for the last time ever, we stood as a unit, as a family, for the last time ever we stood there completely whole, we were one. We were us, we were three. We cried for you, we cried for us, we cried over you, haunted forever by this defining moment. Daddy loosened his grip, he placed his hand on your head, left a lingering kiss on your forehead and he told you that he loved you pickle. Then he left.
It was just me and you. Me and my baby, my baby and I, William and Melissa, mother and son. Just us. I returned to the seat, I drank you in, after nearly four weeks, your beautiful pink plump skin was starting to give in to nature, a purplish, grey hue, but you were beautiful, your long dark eyelashes extending from eyes that mummy would never see again. Mummy traced her finger down your perfect button nose, taking in the contours of your lips, little lips that hid your first teeth. The glitter in your ear catching the light, mummy had asked the pathologist not to wash you, you needed to still be you, still needed to have that silky soft hair, and you still needed to have glitter in your ear from the little Christmas tree that you made mummy and daddy two days before you went to Heaven. As I sat there, holding you, my mind could not accept that you would not wake up. You were so peaceful, I expected you to scrunch your little face up any moment, kissing goodbye to milky floating dreams and coming back to reality, but it didn’t happen, you remained still, you remained silent, mummy remained broken, just like you.
I hadn’t really thought about what I would say to you that day. I just begged, I begged and pleaded with you to wake up. “Please sweetheart, please wake up, mummy’s here. Mummy loves you so much, please little man, please.” But you didn’t, my chest heaving with every breath, my heart aching with every beat, the pain palpable. “I’m so sorry sweetheart, I’m so sorry that I couldn’t protect you, that I couldn’t save you, I’m so sorry that it’s you and not me, sweetheart I love you so much, I love you, please, baby.” But no matter what I said you didn’t move, there was no sharp intake of breath where you woke me up from this wretched nightmare. I had to say goodbye, I had to put you down for the last time. I knew my time was limited, your funeral approaching, I knew that at some point it would be the last time I touched your foot, stroked your cheek, ran my fingers through your hair, held you and kissed you. I knew that in a matter of moments I would see you for the last time, ever. I wanted to open the door and run away, run down the country lane with the wind in our hair, I wanted to keep on running and never stop, to never be apart from you, for them not to take you from me, but I couldn’t. So, with the heaviest heart, and the hardest footsteps I rose and made my way over to your coffin, but I couldn’t do it, under the weight of the world I sunk to the floor and I could barely catch my breath as I tried to talk to you. My beautiful little miracle baby, the sweetest natured little boy, the most angelic and perfect little man this world would ever see was gone. I stroked your cheek one last time, I gently rubbed my thumbs over your eyes, I ran my fingers through your hair, I cupped your head in my hand and bought your head towards my face, as my lips met your forehead I kissed you, a mother’s fingerprint on her child’s skin. I squeezed you so tight and inhaled your sweet scent for one last time, and with the most agony I have ever felt I stood and I gently placed you in your forever bed. Never to hold you again.
Your legs naturally crossed, mummy placed a photo of mummy and daddy on your chest, your arms hugging it close. We were going with you wherever you went. You looked so peaceful in your beautiful satin white coffin, like you would wake at any moment, but I knew you wouldn’t. I just wanted to curl up in the coffin with you and die, our arms forever intertwined, our bond inextricably woven, untouchable. Just me and you. But I couldn’t. Your little coffin only 30 inches long. There was no room for mummy. I took one step back and just looked at you, this was never meant to be, a sight I could never have imagined I would ever witness. I came closer, I knew it was time, I had asked them to give me a time limit, knowing I would never leave you given the chance. I felt you chubby little foot in my palm, I allowed the shape of your legs to lead my hand up over your body, taking in your little legs, the little legs that had just taken their first steps, over your little belly, and down your arms to your hands. I placed your hand on mine, finger to finger, fingerprint to fingerprint, your little nails, perfectly formed, I placed your hand on my cheek one last time, I placed my hand on top of yours and felt your delicate touch against my face, if I close my eyes now, I can feel you, I can feel your touch and your tiny little fingers pressing on my cheek. I placed your hand over the photo and for one last time I leaned over and I placed my cheek on yours, I put my arm under your shoulder and I hugged you tight, my hand on your left cheek holding us together in unity, as one, as we had started out, our life as one, in one body, death had broken you, it had broken me but it would not break US. I removed my arm and I held your head in my hands, our noses touching, I kissed your lips, I kissed your cheeks and you little button nose, then I planted a kiss on your forehead. As I held your head to my lips, tears streaming down my face onto yours, I knew this was it. I had to let you sleep. I had to let you go. So, mummy made you comfortable, she straightened your hair out, tucked you in to your little blanket, “I’m so sorry baby, I’m just so so sorry, please don’t blame me. I love you, I love you so much, my boy, my everything, my life, I miss you, I’m just so sorry my darling boy. Goodnight sweet William, I love you, mummy loves you.” One gentle kiss on your head, the last kiss, I reached my hands up and I closed the heaviest object I would ever encounter, the lid to your coffin, I had to do it, it had to be me, I had to be the last one that would ever see you. The lid closed and I stepped back and I just stood and looked, I wept with every fiber of my being, knowing you were in there but I couldn’t see you, I would never see you again, I slowly stepped backwards out of the room, my eyes not leaving you, my hand found the light switch and with one movement the light was extinguished. I opened the door, still not taking my eyes away from you. I circled out of the door and stood for what felt like a lifetime, and slowly I closed the door, the door to my life. My family didn’t say anything to me, I didn’t say anything to them, I walked out. At that point I knew what giving up felt like, at that point I gave up. There would be no miracle, God would not be undoing this, you would not be waking up. Life had gone to far this time. I got in the back of the car, and I was driven away from you. Never to see you, touch you, feel you, smell you or kiss you ever again.
I sat in your bedroom when I could see the hearse creeping up the road, I could see your name in the most beautiful white flowers, I ran down the stairs and stood at the front door as I saw you being driven past, the hearse dwarfed your tiny little bed. I made my way down to the road and waited for the car to turn around and come back. Mummy had requested a car that mummy and daddy could sit in with you and take your last journey together. I climbed into the hearse and I pressed my hand on your bed, like somehow the harder I pressed I would somehow feel your baby-soft skin again. I did not take my hand off your bed the entire way. It was a slow journey, not too far, but far enough. After we arrived I could see people’s faces, your tiny coffin clearly making a devastating impact on everyone. Your flowers were removed, WILLIAM and GRUMPUS taken into the crematorium, followed by a pillow and a little reindeer, your favourite and two red roses from mummy and daddy. It was time. For the last time. I carried the heaviest thing a mother can ever carry down the longest aisle I have ever had to walk. It was time to say goodbye, but it wasn’t goodbye, not for me, for me it was “Goodnight sweetheart, I love you, see you soon.”
Daddy, I missed you as I watched you get up early after not sleeping very well this morning. I saw you opening my curtains, I was right there with you as I always do, resting on your shoulder, hoping that I won’t just be part of your imagination but be right there, be very real. You can’t see me, but I can see you. I saw you pick up your birthday card. I watched you going out when the temperature is barely above freezing. I’m with you in your van. Bumbling along. I wish you could see me. I love going for rides in your van. I watch you dip you little biscuits in your cup of tea and wish so much that I could have one, but you always eat them all. Mummy taught me that it was good to share, save me a biscuit daddy?
You see daddy, the moments we share now are moments that we can only imagine, moments that we dream of, moments we play out in our head. Like you do, you imagine me running around and chasing after you, I imagine that too. Sometimes when you get up to walk in the kitchen, I follow you, just to see where you’re going. There’s no stair gate anymore to keep me out of danger, I follow you, as you get a drink out of the fridge, I can see the dustpan and brush I used to play with. I secretly know now that you bought an extra one so I could play with it, but now it just sits there.
I can feel it daddy, I can feel that something is missing, I know that is me. Our home is not full of laughter and smiles like it used to be. My toys aren’t littered all over the floor, the washing machine isn’t constantly on, and you always leave the house on time. Now you can put you cup down on the table, that makes me sad, and I know it makes you sad, silly little things that you couldn’t do when I was with you. You know I would have put my hand in your drink, you would have laughed, and I thought it was funny so I would do it again. All the little things that have changed since I came to heaven.
Like you miss me, I miss you daddy. There is no-one that chases me round and round the coffee table. There is no-one that follows me up the stairs, teaching me to climb. There is no-one that is as comforting as you to lift me out of my bed in the mornings. There is no-one that has the patience like you, to re-build my train track when I’ve been busy putting it back in its box for the tenth time. There’s no-one that finds it funny when I post all the ball pool balls through the stair gate to make the kitchen into a giant ball pit. There is no-one to teach me how to high-five. There is no-one that is like my daddy, there is no-one that I love more than my daddy, and although I don’t do those things anymore, it isn’t because I don’t want to, it’s because I’m busy following you around. I’m busy learning, I’m busy learning to be just like my daddy, so that when we meet again, you will be proud of me, just as I am of you. So although I’m not there, imagine me climbing on your lap and giving you the biggest cuddle of them all, because that’s what I’ll be doing. Making sure that my arms are wrapped around you on your birthday, just as they will be every day. My daddy, my hero. I love you daddy, happy birthday, see you this evening in your dreams xxx
My Hero, My Dad
If you took the warmth of the sun,
The calm of the sea.
The strength of a mountain,
The magnificence of a tree.
The wisdom of ages,
The power of Eagle’s flight.
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night.
The joy of a mountain spring,
The faith of an evening breeze.
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need.
If you combined all of these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add.
You would finally have your masterpiece complete,
And so, this is who I call….Dad
Well today my sweetheart your beautiful face graced every news stand in the United Kingdom. Over a million people will have seen your captivating smile on the front page of the Daily Mail, and even more online. As I stood in the shop this morning I stood looking at the news stand thinking, that’s you. That’s my little boy. That’s my life in one photo, and in one news article it summed up your death.
No matter how many times your story is shared, how many people read the paper, or how many lives it goes on to save, it doesn’t bring you back. I am left feeling a bittersweet sense of pride. I’ve had the breath knocked out of me, to see how you my darling are making such a difference, but at the end of the day, when people close their newspapers and shut their computers down, I am still sat here without you. I am still sat here missing you, I am still sat here loving you, I am still sat here desperately lost without you.
I miss everything about you.
I miss the way you would always point your big toe up.
I miss the way you always pointed your finger, even when there was nothing to point at.
I miss waking up before you and being impatient, waiting for you to wake up.
I miss when you would get excited, tensing and pointing your feet.
I miss you giving them a little wiggle for extra excitement.
I miss the way you stood at the stair gate posting balls from your ball pool into the kitchen.
I miss how you sat at the bottom of the stairs waiting for daddy to take you for a shower.
I miss your gorgeous little bum.
I miss being able to squidge your gorgeous little bum.
I miss your smell, your intoxicating smell, it was always the best in the morning.
I miss my morning fix.
I miss reading your nursery cards, what you’d eaten, played with, what you’d achieved.
I miss picking you up from nursery, to see your little face when you would catch a glimpse of me, to see the emotion erupt on your face, you would cry you were so overwhelmed.
I miss the way that mummy would pout her lips and huff, for you to copy.
I miss being able to say ‘up’, your little hands shot in the air and we would have a cuddle.
I miss snuggling you into my chest and giving you your milk before sleepies.
I will never forget that eye contact.
I miss not being able to lose myself in your big brown eyes.
I miss knowing that you’re sleeping in the next room.
I miss hearing your faint snore.
I miss getting to work and finding the toys you’d put in my bag.
I miss putting your shoes on for the tenth time before nursery.
I miss pointing out your bedroom window before sleepies, watching the stars.
I miss your laugh.
I miss missing yesterday.
I miss knowing that there is a tomorrow.
I miss the way you made me feel.
You are the sun in my day,
the wind in my sky,
the waves in my ocean,
and the beat in my heart.