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Life Chez Dee Episode #3: Edward's 13th Birthday

So I’m writing this blog on Edward’s Birthday.

What should have happened this morning is lots of noise, ripping open of presents, smiles, laughter, jokes, going on some sort of outing with friends, eating out, eating cake, singing Happy Birthday, blowing out candles …. Celebrating my son’s birthday; celebrating him going into the next chapter of his life … those teenage years. None of that happened. None of that will ever happen again.

Edward in my mind grows older … he is that teenager … he did go to high school, I see him in his uniform … he did pick his subject options …. he did go on the school trips … he did take part in sports days. But this is in my mind … I can only imagine what he would have done, what he would be saying, what he would look like, what choices he’d be making; what challenges he’d face; the challenges he’d set himself. I wonder, and I believe, and I know all at the same time.

The build up to Edward’s birthday has been very different this year. We went away for a few days on a city break to Venice. I can’t remember the last time we went away, abroad, just us, not with family or friends, just us. It was lovely. William was away on the Music Department Tour with High School …. Edward would have also have been on this trip as a year 8 student playing the cornet.

We had a lovely time … myself, Justin and Oliver, and it was so lovely to go and watch William and the school choir and musicians perform in St Mark’s Basilica, and in Santa Maria Dei Miracoli, both in Venice. It was very special; a special experience and special memories.

We travelled back home the day before Edward’s Birthday. I couldn’t face travelling the day of his birthday. Usually we would have planned something special to mark the day, but having only returned back from holiday at 1am this morning, we’ve been very tired.

I posted a picture on social media … a lovely picture of Edward. I have lots of lovely pictures, but I don’t have hundreds of pictures taken the summer of 2016. I have lots, yes … and I have many of Edward in his younger years. But I have a limited number of pictures of Edward at age 10, not limited in that I only have very few, but limited because there will never be any more as the years go on. They’re limited in that I don’t have so many more that I can keep changing them, that I can keep updating them, because my child isn’t here now, there aren’t any pictures of Edward at 11, or 12, or 13 and there will be no more for the years to come. I have memories. I have lots of memories and I am grateful for each and every one of them …. the good, the bad and the ugly …. Each one of them very precious. I want to post lots of new pictures, lots of updates, lots more achievements, lots more milestones …. But I can’t. I have the memories and the photos which I have …. there are no more … there will never be any more. And so just as others post pictures of their child’s achievements, their child’s birthdays, all those memorable occasions …. So too do I. Each and every special occasion remembered and talked about with love.

We’ve talked lots about Edward, to be honest I don’t think we’ve talked any more about Edward today, than we do any other day. We’ve been lucky enough to have had signs, which is incredibly special. We’ve had some lovely cards and flowers, and some special gifts. People have given money to the charity in his name. We have received lovely messages via phone and via social media …. I have even been sent a poem written for him.

Always remembered by so many, this year was no exception. Jamie Milligan and the lads at Milligan & McCann Football Academy remembered him (as they always do) and celebrated his birthday with a Happy Birthday shout out and sent a few balloons high into the heavens. The children even brought money to buy sweet cones made by Jake and Daniel, children who remember Edward playing football.

I have read each and every message we have received and treasured each and every one. It has been hard fighting back the tears today, there is a lump in my throat so incredibly huge and painful, and the tears ooze from my eyes. I fight them all back, and I spend time with Justin, with Oliver, with William now he is back home. Each and every thought and deed by so many today, has been so overwhelmingly touching.

We went to Edward’s grave, to sit and talk with him. We took flowers; we lit candles. Oliver wrote “Happy Birthday Edward” with some of the fallen twigs he gathered. It was such a beautiful thing to do, yet so heart wrenching to watch.

We haven’t gone out this evening. We’re tired. We’re all tired. William has only just returned from the school music trip – he’s spent 28 hours on a coach – he’s been travelling on his brother’s birthday, so he’s tired too.

We sit round the table … four plates of food. There should be five. Every day, in everything we do, I see that my boy isn’t here. Every day. The big days like birthdays … but also so often those times which are so insignificant until they’re not there anymore.

I would have made a cake. I always made a birthday cake for Edward. I always made two cakes for Edward. He insisted I made the cakes; always wanting homemade, never shop bought; always chocolate; always lashings of chocolate; always smarties on top. Always a round cake AND a square cake. Always one for family, and one for friends. I haven’t had time to make a cake with being away. I will make one this week with Oliver – we will bake, we will light candles, and we will love and remember you Edward …. ALWAYS.

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