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To My Son, It's OK if You Forget Me When I'm Gone

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Dear Harry

We recently visited Nottingham for the weekend to celebrate your 13th birthday. Just you and me. I was a bit worried as you don’t always like new places but you do like hotel swimming pools and just as I expected, that’s where your smile shone the brightest! Coming home from 36 hours of being a duo, I expected you to be lost to technology again, but unusually, you still wanted to be at my side. It was my hand you shouted for as we walked around Chester Zoo and it was my name you called repeatedly every time you wanted anything. Nobody else would do. It was lovely to know how much you love me and I can’t tell you how much I love our time together when its just you and me, but it did make me worry a little bit.

birthday weekend in Nottingham - Me and Harry waiting for the tram back to the city centre

birthday weekend in Nottingham - Harry in the poolbirthday weekend in Nottingham - Me and Harry waiting for the tram back to the city centre Im snuggled against his cheek

You see, I won’t always be here to answer your call and hold your hand. One day, just like my Nan, I will pass away and leave you here for a while (with other people who love you very much). My first thought is that I don’t ever want you to look as unaffected by the mention of my name as you are when I talk about Nan, who loved you. I want you to remember every adventure I have taken you on, every pool we have swam in, every time I have nuzzled into your neck and made you giggle. I want you to remember it all. But that comes at a price.

With great love, comes the pain of great loss. I miss Nan so much every day that it makes my chest feel heavy sometimes and I catch a little sob in my throat for no apparent reason. I feel her loss like I am missing a part of me, every day, and it makes me sad but I can manage those feelings most of the time. Some people can’t. I have seen what grief has done to others, the people who have the bond that others envy, the ones who have shared moments and memories that link them forever who are unable to continue with what feels like only half a life without their partner, the people who needed each other in the same way they needed fresh air. People like us.

I love you so much my boy. I love you in a way that makes my heart full and ache at the same time. I marvel at the things you do, the person you are becoming and I wear myself out trying to give you the very best life and memories because that’s what you deserve. But you don’t deserve the pain that comes in equal measure when I go. I can’t bear to think of you with a heavy heart and no way to tell anyone. Or feeling grief and not knowing what it is as it consumes you and stills the bounce that it such a part of you. I never want you to feel lost or lonely. I don’t ever want your heart to ache with the burden of missing love. I want you always to feel happy and free from the constraints of the emotions that can freeze others: envy, anger, grief. If you were to remember me, it would be for my own selfish reasons so I am writing this now to say that one day, when I am not here anymore, its OK to forget me (even though I am crying even typing this).

It’s OK to get on with your life and be happy with the people around you. It’s OK to forget me and all the little things we do now. I have realized that I am making the memories for me as much as for you (maybe more so). I take you to places and we do things together so I know that  our time together is well spent and so that I have a sense of satisfaction and pride that I am doing all that I can for you while I am here. Its OK for you to laugh and be happy when I am gone, in fact, that’s all I really want and if that means that I go to the corners of your mind for a few years, then so be it.

I don’t think you will ever fully forget me in the way you have forgotten Nan though. You were so much younger then and you are growing all the time, not just in height by in maturity and understanding, too. But if you do remember me, let memories of me be the ones that illuminate your dark days as you look back. The fuzzy feeling you can’t quite put your finger on but know was a brilliant time in your life. Like sunshine warming your bones, soaking you through and soothing your soul. Let me be that sunshine for you as you are my sunshine boy today. Let the passing whiff of my perfume feel familiar in a comforting way to you for a brief moment. Let my presence in your life touch you lightly after my death without the weight and burden of a clear memory that makes your heart ache for it again. Let my love stay with you so you never doubt that you were loved but don’t recall the finer details of the moments when I showed you.

It’s OK to forget me but please know one thing:

I will never, ever forget you.

I will never forget the first moment I knew there was something very special about you. You were a couple of weeks old and as I held you on my chest after hearing that you wouldn’t need early surgery, you pushed away from me and stared into my soul with one beautiful eye as if to say “See, it will all be OK.” I was so lost then. So very sad. You saved me.

Its ok for forget me - me kissing Harry as a newborn

I will never forget that. I will never forget the way you cuddle into me and the smell of your hair as I kiss the scar that runs across your head. I will never forget the sound of your cheeky laughter and the wonderful crafty mischief you get up to. I will never forget the bond between you and your brother that makes my heart swell with pride and love. I will never forget the moments that you spontaneously reply to my endless ramblings as I chat away with you. I will never forget the rhythm of the sofa as you bounce beside me making me feel motion sick or revealing remote controls to you as you cover both eyes (even the glass one) and count down from 10. I will never forget holding your little face in my hands and kissing every inch of it. I will never forget the feel of your hand in mine or the sound of your voice as you call for me or say my name in a slow soothing way that oozes love “muuuuuuuummy.” I will never forget you my boy. I promise.

Its OK to forget me for a while because I do believe that when your time is up, you’ll see me again and you’ll remember it all because we know each other by heart. One day I will answer your call and hold your hand again. Until then, I will remember for the both of us and love you even more as you live the life I am working so hard to create for you.

All my love, always,

Mum xxx

Follow this journey at Our Altered Life.

Originally published: September 29, 2018
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