Love, loss, and learning to live again.

MoonRemember to breathe.
I must remind myself to breathe right now as my stomach clenches in to a ball and I feel ill.
Keep breathing and keep moving forwards.

I was only 11 years old when my first baby boy was born. I was far too young to know what was going on with my body and I had no support system to help explain it. The details are best left out of this blog and there are very few people (professionals only) that I have shared the details with. I think it is more than enough to say that it was a horribly confusing and lonely birth followed by a very violent death. The people responsible should be in prison but at 11 years old that is not something you even see as a possibility. 34 years have passed now and I have sadly come to realize that true justice is something I will never get. Not in this world anyway.
Justice is not what is important here though. The one and only important fact was that this little boy lived. His life was cut horribly short but it was still a life and he deserves to be celebrated even if his death is so very far in the past.

This year is a special year for that baby boy. It was only just over a year ago that I spoke of him for the first time to others. I was so afraid that if I ever mentioned a thing about it that I would fall apart and never recover. The only people who always knew about him were the people that were there at that time in my life and none of them are in my life any longer.
A few months after talking about him to a fantastic and caring nurse, I had the chance to do some grief work and was asked if I’d ever given him a name. I hadn’t. I do remember though that all those years ago, Helper Tilly (who lived most of this time in my life for me and holds many of the memories) had wanted to call him Mark or Marcus so that was the name I gave him. Marcus.

Some time with someone who specializes in grief helped me plan and hold a small memorial for him as well. I was in hospital at the time and they have a special tree there that is for all sorts of memories and wishes. It is right beside a beautiful labyrinth as well so I made a pair of silver “ornaments”. One for Marcus and one for Tilly and I to keep. We walked through the layrynth slowly and we thought of nothing but him. Our sweet little boy. In the very centre is a large stone “alter” and we stayed there until it was time to go back to the tree.
While back at the memorial tree, I read something I had written and then tied his ornament to a tall tree branch. I left my letter under a large stone. Hopefully it is still there.
I found a small stick that had broken off the tree and was laying there on the ground so I picked it up and brought it home so that I could wrap my ornament on the “same” tree. I now have it all displayed on a small shelf dedicated to our baby boy. A beautiful wood block saying from a friend, some bubbles from my nieces wedding (every baby loves bubbles right?), and a “Hope” candle given to me at Homewood adorn his shelf.
If you can see here, The ornament I made has two owls. One larger, one smaller. The larger one has two stones in it and for me that symbolizes both Tilly and I. Sorry it’s a bit fuzzy.
The only detail of his life that I never attended to was choosing a date for it. I was far too young, too confused and often too dissociated to recall exactly which date everything happened and for some reason I just couldn’t choose one. It felt wrong somehow. I finally decided about 6 months ago when I was getting a tattoo that would include a flower for each of my children done in the colour of their birthstone. At this point I had to choose.

So… Marcus was my first child. The 1st is a nice date.
For the month I decided to choose the month of March. My incredible sister-in-law Zita who passed away over a year ago was born in March and I am positive that if there is a world beyond this one, she is taking care of Marcus for me until I get there. I can picture Zita and my sisters all fighting over who gets to hold him next. It’s a comforting picture to hang on to.
So March 1st, 1981 is his birthday and today marks the 34th anniversary of his short life.
TattooI am the red butterfly 🙂 and my 4 children in order starting at the bottom. March, February, September, and December.

I will admit there is a huge upside to all of these decisions. I feel like I have honoured Marcus as a life that mattered.
The downside is what I am facing this year. I’ve never really had a date so the thought of mourning his death on a particular date never happened. My sadness was always there but on “the day” my sisters and my friends have died, they are always a day that I really remember them more than on most other days.
This year is a really hard one because of that. For past two weeks I have felt anxious, sick to my stomach, and have had a sense of foreboding while waiting for this day to arrive.  Now I just feel really, really sad. I wish I could have watched him grow up and see what sort of man he’d be.
Next year won’t be so tough but for today I am sad and that is okay.

So Marcus. You mattered. Your life was important and you will always be remembered. Happy Birthday sweetheart. Until we meet again. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

17 responses to “Love, loss, and learning to live again.

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. Your tattoo is beautiful. Your life, your story, your voice does matter always. I am thinking about Marcus and celebrating his life. Happy Birthday, Marcus. My heart goes out to you today in your sadness.


  2. Thank you for sharing Marcus with us Heather. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you to recall his terrible passing, but am sure it will be healing for you. I too named the babies I lost, and it truly gives me comfort. Thinking of you on his sad but special day my


  3. Once again I am speechless. I will remember you and Marcus always on his March 1 birthday….and yes, of course he mattered. Wishing you peace.


  4. My heart goes out to you for such a painful loss. I think you are honoring his memory beautifully and I am glad to have heard his story. Happy Birthday Marcus ❤


  5. Dancing Butterfly

    A beautiful honouring and remembering Heather. All of it. Everything.

    Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart, your story with us. If I had to guess, Marcus would have grown into a beautiful young man because of the love and care you would have shown to him, as you have with all of your children.

    You have chosen to honour him and his short life in a beautiful way – in a heartfelt touching way.

    I will remember him. I will remember you and honour the difficulty of this moment for you. At the same time, I am, as always, in awe at the strength and courage it takes to go to these profoundly sad places and feel. And feel. And feel.

    I love you my dear friend. Always.


  6. What a lovely way to honor Marcus and his memory. So very heartfelt and so touching he would have been proud. Remembering him and thinking of you during this sad time. Hugs.


  7. Happy birthday baby boy! ♥

    Heather, I am so happy and thankful that you shared this blog.
    I wasn’t aware of most of what was written and my heart swells with sadness, pride and love.
    You are right about mom. She has that beautiful baby coddled, and squished. She is singing to him him in her angelic voice while rocking him to sleep. He is played with, danced with and loved to the moon and back.
    He is a very lucky boy, because not everyone gets to be loved by my mother.

    Luv to you. Always.


    • Thank you Sherry. Until I can be there, your mother is exactly who’d I would want to care for him. She was the best.
      We were so blessed to have her love here on earth. One day we will all get to have that again.
      Love you too my very special niece.


  8. Thank you for sharing this Heather and Tilly. What a beautiful tribute. I am sorry for your loss, but I am so glad you have been able to share his memory and tribute with us.


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