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Dear Jamie

Dearest Jamie,

I know this year my letter to you is really late. Your impending birthday hit me hard this year again. It was bad last year, but not quite as bad as it was this year. It always starts in October. The anxiety, the constant crying. 7 years later I finally figured out why. It was about 2 weeks before you were born that we got the bad news. I don’t actively think about those two weeks, about receiving the bad news or the time leading up to the day you were born. Clearly somewhere deep down I remember regardless and the feelings come, whether or not I want them to. Timehop is an application that lets you look back on your memories for the day across social media over the years and it became abundantly clear to me that it always starts around the same time. It is always a somber time for me and people notice that I am not myself.

This year Timehop gave me a gift of sorts. I don’t have any photos of us together, but this year I discovered one. It was taken just 2 days before you were born. I was at a Halloween party, dressed as a clown no less. It’s not the best photo of me, but it is the only one that I know of that I have of us together. I remember that party well. I knew that you would be born soon and had the desire to drown my sorrows, but I could not do it. I wanted you to be safe and as well as you could be until you were born, I still felt the responsibility to look after you until the very end, although it would not have made much of a difference in the grander scheme of things. It is a choice I am glad I made, a choice I am proud of. This is the picture I discovered:wpid-wp-1446576574674.jpgLook at that tummy! You were a big girl. We were just shy of 22 weeks together when this picture was taken and not long after is when everything fell apart. Our time together ended and I went through the darkest time in my life. It was something nobody could prepare me for and something that has still not healed completely. I tried this year to work through the latent grief. It has been 7 whole years and I feel like it is time that I start to let go and forgive myself. I still blame myself for so many things. Although I know that we did the right thing for you, it is still difficult to come to terms with. I can hope that I have started to move towards more positive thoughts. I no longer only want memories of you to be painful and I am certain you would not want me to be unhappy. It seems impossible not to feel the pain when looking back, but it was not all bad. You prepared me in a way to be a mother to your siblings. It was something I was not sure I was ready for until after you were born. I think I needed that and so your birthday should not always be a sad event, even though you have never been with us.

Your brother and sister are getting big so quickly. Your brother is almost 6 and next year goes to Grade R, before you know it he’ll be in big school! Your sister is almost 3 and is really coming into her own. While your brother is soft hearted and compassionate, your sister is strong willed. They are both stubborn too. No guesses who they get that from. Like we do every year we celebrated your birthday with cake and let your brother and sister blow out the candles and sing for you.Jamie's 7th birthdaySee how big they are now?! They weren’t very impressed with my choice of cake this year. I got a marbled chocolate cheesecake. It was actually really nice, but I guess kids don’t really love cheesecake. Oops. After your birthday, things always get better. The feelings start to subside and my heart calms down. I am hoping next year will be a better year for me in this regard, that I can move through this time of year without teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I will continue to work on it and work through it. Maybe next year I can join in on the “Happy Birthday” song.

Sweet angel, look after Oupa GG there in heaven for me. I’m sure the two of you are having the grandest time. While he couldn’t see your brother and sister grow and participate in their lives like I know he would have loved to, I take solace in the fact that he has you.

Until we meet again,