I will always remember him as nearly 4 years old. I will never know what he looks like as he gets older, and how he would look when he lost that baby face. Would his hair still be curly? Possibly. Mine is.
Would he stay blonde? Maybe not, I was blonde haired until I was 8 years old.
His smile would have never changed though. That great big, heart jolt of a smile that captured everyone's heart.
Yesterday was a busy day. Lots of building work going on in the house, lots of clearing up. We had fireworks in the garden followed by a meal out, as we do for each of our children's birthday.
(I say ours, as even though I didnt give birth to two of them, they are mine. I love them just the same, as I hope they love me. We all feel the hole Ethan left behind.)
Today I feel the worst. Today I hurt with the most undescribable pain, every breath I take just... hurts.
I miss him, I miss his smile, his hair, his sound, his laugh, his smell. I miss everything about him.
I feel guilt. Guilt that I , his mother, could not save him. Years ago when I visited the hospitals chapel for comfort of the non religious kind I spoke out loud.
"Take me instead" I pleaded. "Save him"
Yet still he left.
I am left with the guilt that I made him carry on as long as I did. I did my best. I really did.
I didnt sleep for so long as he never slept for longer then 3 hours for the last year or so.
Medicines were sometimes every 2 hours through the night.
I tried but he still died and a part of me went with him.
At dinner yesterday I spoke to my children about dreams.
My youngest said:
"Oh yes I dream of Ethan. The first one Ethans head was on a puppies body and he was leaping about". (Typical of O!).
"But I dream pt the other night that Ethan wasnt dead. We were wrong. He was just lost and we found him again".
My husband said he had had similar dream.
Eldest boy Ben just simply said " I hear him".
"Do you mean you hear him in your dream and when you wake you think you can still hear him?" I asked.
"Yes, Yes I do" is all he said.
"Me too" I whispered in reply.
My little girl just said : "I wish he was here."
I have had so many dreams, and the worst part is waking and realising he is not here. Or waking and still feeling him in my arms then the knowing you never actually will.
Its hard to describe to those who havent lost a child what it is like, but I hope that not too many people will ever know. Those who havent sometimes find it hard to imagine so. They try to compare the loss to other losses, I am sorry but it is a different feeling from other losses. Losing someone is painful, I speak from experience having lost too many people, Step Father, Mother, Grandfather, Brother, friend - but it is not the same feeling as when you have watched your child die.
He is part of me, something I brought into this world. Someone I hoped would outlive me and should have done. Try for a second to imagine that you have lost a child .... that brief feeling of pain is mine x 1000.
However I will carry on and I will take his memory with me. I will speak about him and talk of my love for him.
He has died, but my memory of him will not.
So please speak of him to me and to others. Please ask questions.
Speak his name out loud and let his story be told.
The most amazing little boy lived and died aged 3 years.
He left behind the best ever siblings who will continue to amaze me, and a step father who is every breath I take.
He leaves behind a mother, who will go on mothering her children and loving him until my last breath.