Danielle shares with us her emotions as she realises her precious son, Jasper, was supposed to start prep school.
Tuesday January 27th started out like a normal day. Rush rush, taking my 2.5 year old rainbow to Kindy, making sure we hadn't forgotten anything. The occasional tantrum on the way, mostly because he can't take his trains to Kindy. Hubby hadn't gotten back from night shift so I was doing the Kindy run alone. Driving to Kindy, I see schools open. I see children excitedly, and some not so excitedly getting out of cars for their first day back at school. I still haven't realised.
I get to Kindy; I get Harrison out of the car and help him inside. I am making his breakfast and a mum about my age comes in. The Kindy teachers start fawning over the new Prep child who used to come to the Kindy last year – “oh look at you in your new uniform – look how grown up you look! Thank you for bringing him in to see us!” And it hits me like a tidal wave. Jasper was supposed to start prep today.
I rush into the bathroom to clear my thoughts. I have to settle Harrison and get home – I think to myself. I manage to get through the next 10 minutes, made more difficult that Harrison wanted mummy to stay and read and cuddle him, but I needed to get out of there. But I couldn't hold it in all the way home. My chest feels heavy and the all too familiar and terrible ache in my heart. The ache that makes you feel like you can’t breathe or think. The ache that is physical and feels like your heart is dropping right out of your chest. I sat there and cried.
I cried selfishly at first. I cried because at first I forgot. I cried because I wish I didn't have to remember and that it isn't fair. Because I was the ‘unlucky one’ who didn't get to bring my baby home. Because after 5 years it still hurts. Because I will never buy Jasper a school uniform. But then I cried for his younger brother. I cried because his little brother will never experience the joy and jealousy of watching his older brother go to school before him. Because there will always be a big brother missing who he won’t play with – who won’t get to amaze him with thrilling stories of school and who won’t be there when his little brother also starts school. He doesn't have a big brother to look up to, to protect him.
When I pull myself together and get home, I soak in the bath and try to collect my thoughts. I think about the school we wanted to send him to and wonder how he would have coped. And the sad thing was that I couldn't imagine it. And sometimes that hurts more. I can’t imagine what he would be like today. I went on the computer to chat to a friend for comfort and like a knife through my heart I saw my Facebook feed – pictures of proud parents showing off their little prep kiddies in their new school uniform. Parents who have every right to be so proud of their children, but who unintentionally add to the pain. I had to close my computer. I couldn't interact on social media on this day.
Milestones like this hit me like a brick. And they are usually compounded by the lack of support I receive. My husband is my rock but after working night shift, I can't wake him up because I feel guilty. Many family members believe I am ‘wallowing’ and should just forget about him. It has been 5 years and I can never forget about the small little boy, who fought so bravely for life for 10 hours. I can’t simply ‘forget’ the little boy who isn't here, and I can’t put it out of my mind the milestones in life he can never achieve. Although I have a wonderful rainbow that brings me joy and heals my heart a little bit every day, he is not a replacement for the brave little boy I lost. His milestones are his alone and do not replace the milestones that Jasper should have had.
I cannot wait for my rainbow to achieve his milestones and I look forward to them every day, even if it does bring along a reminder of what we have lost.
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Wife to Corey and Mumma to two boys: Jasper Rhys in heaven and Harrison Phillip Robert in her arms. Jasper passed away after PPROM at 23 weeks and birth at 26 weeks, surviving for 10 hours in the NICU unit. Currently completing a Master of Social Work with the goal to aid in the safety and protection of all children, because all children deserve to feel safe and loved.