Thursday, 17 January 2013

We are all made of stars

Today marks the second anniversary of a due date that never was. Had things progressed as we hoped and planned and dreamed, S was due to arrive on January 17, 2011. He might have been two years old now. Except he's not. And although it's a date that is forever emblazoned on my consciousness, it's not one we mark (we have other days in the year that celebrate S and his contributions to all that has come since, and we include him in myriad tiny ways in everyday life). Because really, it's not a date I associate with him at all at this point, or with the purer, happier connotations of love for our sweet baby boy that remain still.

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.


  1. Isn't it surreal to think of the child that you should have right now, how different your life should be? Twice recently, I was somewhere where I heard a woman call "Jacob". I looked around and they were calling boys about the same age that my Jacob would be. A year ago that would have me in tears, getting out of there as quickly as possible. Now I just stare and hope I don't look creepy and think of what could have been, what should have been.

    How painful to have your nephews born on either side on S's due date and to see them interacting without him. Who knows though, maybe they see him. Emily does things that makes me wonder if she sees Jacob and my miscarried babies.

    You are a wonderful writer.

    1. It is truly weird. I find nowadays, after all this time, that it's become almost impossible for me to imagine how he'd be...and sometimes that feels like another loss. At the same time, I think you're right; he's here even if we don't see him. Sometimes I even think I *can* see him, in a kind of visible absence in pics of my newphews(if that makes sense).
      I do the transfixed staring at moms with their babies occassionally too.

  2. This is lovely :) and powerful as well.

    Something which has really been helping me with my loss, is to focus on the things about Lyra which remain. We had her name (she was named after the constellation) picked out from before she was conceived, so your words here about stardust have special meaning to me too.

    I cried the last time I saw a clear, star lit night sky!



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