On the first anniversary, it was a day to endure, but one which I hoped in its very passing would offer me some peace. This was not helped by the arrival, literally days on either side of January 17, of two healthy, screaming nephews, one on either side of the family, who should (had things progressed as we dreamed) have been close contemporaries and playmates of our tiny perfect. Those weeks leading up to and for a while after the date in 2011 were sheer hell for me. I felt like I'd been put through a meat grinder. However, it is at times like those that it was a blessing to be on another continent from our families, those bouncing baby arrivals and all the natural joy they brought, and thus all the more unnatural we felt for it, feeling so excluded from that circle of joy. Last year, I did very nearly forget the date until someone reminded me in passing of my brother's birthday, which happens to be the same, and which I happened to nearly forget. I remember feeling proud of myself for how much 'progress' I had made in my trajectory of grieving.
But the truth is, after that first aweful milestone and the painful announcements of the arrival of S's cousins, this date bears no relationship to my sweet boy's life. He's not in this day. Or rather, he is in every day. Over time, I've come to recognise his presence in many miniscule aspects of my life and existence, and it helps me feel close to him. I've drawn comfort and real warmth from thinking about how he trickles through the drops of melting ice on my windowsill now, how he was present in those sparkling snowflakes whirling around us a few nights ago, in the soft song that comes of the gentle breeze through the trees. This is how I think of him, and how I find him every day and everywhere. It's always reminded me of that Moby song. I was a Moby fan before, but since having and then losing S, this song holds a new meaning for me.
People they come together
People they fall apart
No one can stop us now
'Cause we are all made of stars
According to modern astronomy, we are literally all made of stardust. After S died, I loved that thought even more. And it in turn reminded me of an amazing and whimsical programme on NPR about a physicist's take on death. It did the rounds of the internet some years back, but I often re-read it in light of my own bereavement in the months after losing S. I love the idea that the warmth that flowed through him during his life in my womb, when we were as deeply connected as two human beings can get, is still here, that his energy still bounces off me, that in fact, we are both made of stars.