On the weekend Elijah turned two weeks old. For our family this was a significant milestone. It’s the age Xavier was when we said goodbye. On the eve of Elijah’s 13th day – the morning we found Xavier without breath – Elijah was held all night long. My gorgeous sister stayed with me as we watched TV and waited out the sunrise. As the clock ticked over to 5am, I held Elijah close and wept with relief.
“You’re going to stay” I whispered, elated and sleep deprived.
N had pointed out that there was minimal chance of Elijah dying by SIDS and non-existent odds of him doing so at the same age we lost Xavier. But the heart and head sometimes follow different paths. Even though it makes little logical sense, I cannot help but feel that we have dodged a bullet.
The anxiety remains, and it probably will forever, but the feeling of certainty that we will lose Elijah has lessened. I will still wake in the night and check that he is breathing, but I am less surprised now to find that he still with us. When you have experienced the worst, it can be hard to have faith in the future. But I am slowly finding that faith. I do not believe our lives will be perfect from this point onwards. I have seen too many people go through multiple losses to believe that our angel children look after us from afar and protect us from any future pain. Life doesn’t work on a series of checks and balances, nor do tragedy and deservedness have any bearing on each other. I cannot look into the future and know what it holds. But I am sure there will be both beauty and pain, laughter and tears. So I can face the future with fear or with hope and I am going to choose hope.
I wrote these affirmations to help me with my anxiety – they might help other parents too.