I’m writing this post in advance of Lentil’s birthday. As it stands I will have had my c-section on the 13th so being able to write a blog on the 14th may be a little ambitious.
Our little boy has been gone for a whole year, we’ve survived a whole year without him. I really want to continue to see good things coming from the life of our little man. We will always have so much love for him and it’s hard to think of ways to express that love when he isn’t here to hug and kiss and shower with gifts. I felt very strongly that I wanted to share the love on Lentil’s special day so I asked our local hospital if we could donate some toys to the Children’s Ward. We got some advice on the sort of things to go for and bought a small selection of gifts to donate. I like the idea that even though Lentil isn’t here he’s making a difference. Some little people around the age that he should be will have some fun because of him, especially when they’re going through a tough time themselves.
We also managed to sort out a couple of ‘gifts’ for Lentil. Our local theatre has stars by its entrance, dedicated to different people. Shortly after Lentil’s death my parents suggested that it might be nice to dedicate one to Lentil. This seems very appropriate as he will always be a little star to us. Recently my parents received a letter saying that the star is now in place, all ready for our little man’s big day.
When Lentil died there were certain things that we wanted to keep; a blanket that still holds his new baby smell; a teddy, babygrow and blanket identical to those he was buried with; the certificate of his stillbirth; a lock of his hair; photos and poems from his funeral; a babygrow that my sister had specially made; a little handprint and a footprint. These things have sat in the crib in our bedroom for a year. We knew that they would need to be stored away somewhere but we couldn’t bear to bag them up and put them in the attic out of sight. We needed something special where we could keep these physical items that are so important to us.
We are very lucky to have a friend who is a talented carpenter. I set about designing a box that would keep our cherished items safe and would create a lasting memorial to Lentil. Something we could keep in our bedroom and would reflect his short life. I thought about all of the things that remind me of Lentil and chose some ideas for the box. I’m a terrible artist but Jim managed to interpret my design and he made something really special and beautiful. I included salsa music as it was the only music that provoked a response from Lentil, he loved to salsa dance in my tummy! There are tickly feet on there as I could always tell where Lentil’s feet were and I spent many happy evenings tickling those little feet until they were pulled away. There is a rainbow as I will always think of my boy every time I see a rainbow. The nature scene on the top of the box is because that’s how I like to think of Lentil, as part of the flora and fauna around us. His energy going into other things, never disappearing completely. The squirrel is there because of the squirrel that visited Paul the day that Lentil died, which was particularly poignant as I’ve always said that when I die I want to be a squirrel next. We can now keep all of Lentil’s things safely, we can take them out when we want to and always keep them accessible.
While I was pregnant with Lentil I was very excited at the prospect of making birthday cakes for him as he grew up. I was determined that I would make a cake for Lentil’s First birthday but it doesn’t seem like that will be possible. My mum has offered to step in so there will be cake after all! I’m also hoping to call on others to visit Lentil’s grave on his birthday, to take flowers, to tell him he’s loved. I’ve struggled a lot with guilt about not being able to visit Lentil on his birthday but I know that he knows how loved he is and he will always be with me in my heart. I had been hoping to plant some ox-eye daisies at Lentil’s grave for his birthday but I’m struggling to grow them big enough as all of my attempts so far have been devoured by rabbits! One day we will get daisies in there.
It may seem silly but I’ve also bought Lentil a birthday card. I wanted to write down my feelings to him and it seemed wrong not to get a card for our little boy’s first birthday. I wrote a poem for Lentil in his card, it seemed appropriate a year on.
Every time I see a rainbow I think of you my love
A little symbol of my son shining from up above
I often think about you when I see a bird in flight
You’ll never be forgotten even though you’re out of sight
In truth wherever I am, I see you everywhere
My thoughts are never far from you, my darling Lentil Bear
We should be celebrating your first birthday
And each milestone met along the way
You should be mastering the art of wobbly walking
And making us laugh with your garbled talking
Despite the fact that your time here was so short
The hearts of all you seem to have caught
In your name we have raised over fifteen thousand pounds
To help the midwives and doctors with their toughest rounds
And you’ve brightened up some faces within the children’s ward
With toys to stop children being sad and bored
We will always love you, our gorgeous little boy
And we promise to use your name to spread love and joy.
If you would like to make a donation to our fundraising in memory of Lentil you can do so here.