The following Thursday was Christian’s Memorial Service. I woke up and had a cool shower. I put on a white summer dress that I had bought whilst I was pregnant with him. I wrapped my wrists in turquoise beads and I placed purple orchids in my hair. I don’t remember much of the drive in to the hospital, in fact I don’t remember any of it, or how we even got there. I remember walking into the chapel with a racing heart. We had arrived there early. I walked into the chapel and saw a tiny little box with a blue butterfly on it. I knew that Christian’s ashes were inside. At that point it hit me that I was attending a memorial service for one of my own children. It was too much for me and I had to get out. I wasn’t going to be able to sit in there and wait for it to start. So I went downstairs with my Mum to give some ‘Thank You’ cards out to a couple of the midwives. When I came back up, most of the family was there and I went in and sat down. I remember looking over at my Mum, Dad and Brother. Mum was rubbing Dad’s knee. He was just staring out the window. His face was full of anger and his eyes held so much sadness. I don’t think he could believe that this had happened, and the thought of his face still breaks my heart. The last thing I wanted him to be was angry. The service was truly gorgeous. Sam was amazing and read out a letter that he had written to Christian earlier that week. I was too consumed by grief to speak and so I asked the Chaplin to read out my words as I was unable to be brave that day. We played some beautiful music including the song by U2 that Sam had sung to Christian when he was born. The Chaplin read a passage from The Prophet titled Joy and Sorrow. It was beyond fitting. During the week Sam and I had bought a piece of jewelry to give to each other in Christian’s memory at the funeral. We exchanged the gifts. Sam gave me a gorgeous gold ring with a stone that reflects all the colors of the rainbow. I gave Sam a crucifix with Christian’s name and date of birth on the back of it. As the service came to an end the Chaplin gave me Christian’s ashes and I walked out of the hospital with my son.
That afternoon Sam’s parents held a wake for Christian in their beautiful garden, it is a magical, enchanting place. I know Christian would have loved playing there just as his sister did. All the family came. Sam and I gave out frames to everyone with Christian’s hand and foot prints in them. We were so blessed to have such a loving family. Everyone’s support was nothing short of a miracle to us.
The following 18 months were difficult. We had to learn how to live again. I lost interest in life. I lost interest in most things. Scarlett was my only reason to get out of bed each day. I owe that little girl my life. She will never know just how much of a gift she is to me.
After 18 months I dreamed of Christian for the first time. I was walking along a beautiful beach. Up ahead of me were three young children, their skin glowed in the warm sunlight. There were two boys and a girl. They were too young to be by themselves, especially by the sea and I worried for them so decided I would go and see where their parents were. As I became closer to them I could see that they were drawing in the sand with pieces of driftwood. They spotted me and before I could do anything they skipped off up into the sand dunes. I could hear them laughing as they disappeared from my sight. Their giggles echoed out to sea. As I got to the point where they had been drawing, I saw that they had written their names in the sand. The names read Noah, Christian and Bella. It was only then that I realized that I had dreamed of him and for the first time since his fatal diagnosis. I felt my blood begin to pump around my weary body again. My soul had returned and my light that had almost burned out had been reignited. He was okay. He was more than okay. He was living a full and amazing life on Heaven’s Beach and he was with his friends who had also left their families too soon. He found me. He revived me. He inspired me.
Christian’s visit sparked an idea in my heart. The next day I went to the beach and wrote Christian’s name in the sand and so on August 19th 2008 Christian’s Beach was born and our lives were changed again forever. Since that day back in the Winter of 2008 over 18,000 children’s names have been written in the sand at sunset on Christian’s Beach.
This experience has brought Sam and I closer together and at times further apart. It has been hard on us as a married couple. We grieve so differently but from the beginning we have allowed each other to grieve however we have needed to. We stand strong together with LOVE in our hearts. We did not want to become a statistic.
Since Christian was born I have learned incredibly intense, beautiful and heart breaking lessons that could only be taught to me through the loss of a child. I often wonder why this had to happen. What was the reason for this? Why did he have to die? I will never know but I will do my best to make sure that he is never forgotten. We will never be able to measure the value of the gifts that Christian has brought into our lives. His life and death has opened our eyes to so many beautiful and amazing friendships and experiences. His spirit is felt by so many.
I have accepted Christian’s death. When I found myself getting angry at the injustice of his short life I could here him speaking to me. “It was my time, Mama. It was just my time.” I do not understand it, but I accept it and I am finally at peace with it.
I thank the universe every day for all 4 of my children. I know that the place that Christian is in is so incredibly amazing. I will miss him every day for the rest of my life. I thank my angels, guides and Mother Mary and God for helping me to rise above my sadness. I thank God for sending Christian into my life even if it was only for the shortest stay.
I miss him, I love him and I will mother him always because he is my son. And he matters.