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A year has now passed since we lost our little Alfie.

Now, more than ever before I remember him with a smile on my face. I think of the times I spent fighting him to keep his feet inside my stomach when he was trying to kick his way through. I remember how ill he made me for seven months, but for that I can forgive him, and think of it as his only chance to be mischievous.

I still have days where for no reason at all, it all comes flooding back and the tears come and don't leave for days at a time, maybe that will always happen now, I can't say, but I know I don't mind. To cry now and again reminds me how much I loved him and how much I still love and miss him every day. I can't cry every single day but I can let the times that I do remind me how precious he was.

The weeks leading up to his one year anniversary and his birthday were the worst I had known since we lost him. I dreaded every minute of it, every day I could feel myself getting more and more depressed and I just wanted to cry the whole time.

As the days drew nearer I knew that I couldn't avoid them so started making the plans for what we would do for him on those days. Nothing special, nothing fancy, just spend time with him at his graveside and do what little bits we could for his grave.

As I knew that it would be, the anniversary of his death was the worst one for me. It started the night before, in bed, thinking of everything that was happening at that time the year before, he was still alive then and kicking around inside of me. The morning was the same thing, it was awful, retracing the actions of that time the year before, the getting up after playing with Alfie's feet sticking lumps out of my stomach, making dinner, feeling ill, going to the hospital and at 20 past 5, the doctor telling us that our baby had died. It was horrendous. I hated every minute of that day.

I cried more than I had in months, felt wretched the whole day and wanted it so badly to be over. I just hoped the day after wouldn't feel the same.

Much to my surprise, Alfie's birthday turned out to be totally different to the day before. Even from the moment I woke up, I didn't have that same sense of dread or misery or whatever you'd call it, I felt quite elated and much happier. It was as if some natural reaction had kicked in to making your child's birthday the best you possibly can.

We went to collect a big box of flowers that we had ordered him, took him those, some cards and some birthday balloons and went to sit with him for a while. There's not much you can do but within myself I felt much, much better than I had done the previous day. I was happier, felt at ease and seemed to take everything in my stride.

The day passed without a hitch, I didn't break down and cry or feel any of the things I had done before, I felt calm and obviously sad that we weren't spending it together but I was ok with the fact that this was how it had to be.

Things now feel different. Since the anniversary and birthday have passed, I feel much more settled. I think it's the fact that I'm no longer doing the *this time last year* things any more. There are no more one year markers, I have passed all of those so there's nothing niggling at me every day reminding me of the bad times.

I try, as I said, to think of Alfie now with a smile. He's my 4th baby, always will be whether he's here or not. He has a family here who love and miss him and that will never change. The only difference is that I will have to wait a little longer to spend my time looking after him. I look forward to that day and know that it will be perfect when it comes. I hope that Alfie has made an impact on everybody who has seen or heard of him, through his website and his little appearance on local TV his tiny face has been around a bit. It makes me proud to know that he has touched so many people's hearts, hopefully this will continue.

     

Two Years On


This year was quite different from the first for me at least, I can only speak for myself.
The anniversary day itself, the day we lost Alfie was still a very emotional day, I think I will always find this day difficult but we did get through it. We took a single rose up to the grave and spent a little time there with him but it seems very sombre and there are only the bad and sad things to think about.

The day after, his actual birthday was his second birthday, bought him a balloon and set off to spend a little birthday time with our little boy.

The time we spent there on this day seemed totally different from the day before. Even though we were in the same place for the same reason, the atmosphere was altogether a lighter one. I suppose it felt lighter and happier because no matter where your child is, you will always try and make their birthday one that they would enjoy and celebrate the day that they came into the world.

We did this and did our best to create a happy feeling about the whole day, it worked well, as the day ended I realised that I hadn't felt down or miserable or unhappy at all that day, I was content that maybe headway was being made within the healing process, if I can remember him in this was all the time then that is alright with me.

Alfie's 2nd Birthday

The Third Year


Well, this year's anniversary has just passed, Alfie's birthday was yesterday as I write this and I am still putting together the pieces and trying to work out how this year affected me.
Thursday was the 3rd anniversary of the day that Alfie died. This for me so far has always been the worst day, I dread it's arrival and I usually feel so much the worse for wear when it does finally come around. Because of this, after the week's run up with both myself and J having some really down moments in anticipation of this day, we decided to attack it from a different angle this year.

We decided early on in the week, after discussing how we both had been feeling that we didn't want the day to get the better of us again. We didn't want to stand at a graveside thinking of all the heartbreak over again and feel that same way yet again, for another year. We decided to spend the day doing things that reminded us of Alfie in a happier sense.

When I was pregnant, whenever we had to go to the hospital for ante-natal appointments or anything to do with Alfie, we used to stop off and have dinner at a pub in town on the way home and after so many visits, we used to joke that he loved their food and had chosen his favourite meals from there, he always used to show his approval by kicking chunks out of my sides and ribs while we were there anyway! This is one of the ways we decided to remember him this week, we went on Thursday and we had his favourite meal in his favourite place and joked about all the funny things we used to laugh about at that particular time. It was a nice time and felt much more peaceful and a much more relaxed way to remember him on this day in contrast to the miserable, upsetting days we have spent at the cemetery thinking about every single thing that happened to us on that day.

Friday came and so did our Alfie's third birthday. I have been feeling extra down and extra anxious about this time this year as I have been thinking during the time coming up to this birthday that this week would have been the week that he would have started nursery. I should have been proudly taking him off for his first day and watching him play with the other kids and then upon leaving him for the first time, wondering whether he was having a good time and if he missed me but I knew there was none of that to come and that has had a big effect on me.

Looking back, it was a strange day, nothing spectacular happened in the things that we did. We went and picked him up some flowers, we didn't order anything special this year as we have ordered him a headstone which will be coming around soon and didn't want to leave anything special on there which would have to be removed should the time come sooner rather than later and also, the weather here has been absolutely freezing this last two weeks and anything delicate would have been instantly ruined leaving it out in these temperatures. I took with me the picture that I made for his birthday the one I have inserted into his special days page on this site and put that on his cross to be with him.

The weather that afternoon was really weird. We went for the flowers and walked to the cemetery, it was really bright and sunny, when the wind wasn't blowing the sun was really hot and blindingly bright. We got to Alfie's grave and tidied up any leaves and stray bits that had blown around him since we were last there, cut up his flowers and put them in his vase, pinned on his cross his birthday picture and sat his little sheep down with the rest of his ornaments so that it wouldn't move easily if the weather turned nasty on the top of the little hill where he is laid. It was so warm, I sat on the tarmac for a while as I sorted out his flowers, it was peaceful and nice with the sun shining down from directly above us. After we had been there ten minutes or so the wind really picked up and it would have been impossible to have stayed there for too much longer as there had been a total turnaround in the weather and it was so chillingly cold and windy that we decided we had better leave before we turned to ice.

We walked to the cemetery exit and decided to stop at the supermarket on our way back which was only around the corner from the cemetery, it takes only about five minutes to walk from Alfie's grave, out through the cemetery and over into the supermarket itself and as we walked through the car park to the entrance of the supermarket, big white flakes started to fall, I wasn't sure if there was a fire nearby and ashes were floating through the air or if it actually was snow. We spent about fifteen minutes in the store and when we came out it was like a blizzard, there were huge snow flakes blowing right down the car park, the change was unbelievable. It carried on for the next twenty minutes and then stopped, it stopped and started on and off for the next couple of hours but each time it stopped the sun came out and cleared away what had just fallen. At half past three it started again and came down with a vengeance, it was hard and thick and settled straight away and within an hour it was really thick and crisp. I took a couple of pictures at the graveside where you can see the gorgeous bright sun and then more after we got home and the snow was in full effect, you can see the times on the pictures from the camera and to look at them you wouldn't believe that it was the same day let alone just a couple of hours difference.

I look back today and I think that a change of approach worked for us a little bit, we didn't sit around and get depressed, the thoughts are with you all the time, they will never go away but in myself I feel that this year wasn't too bad for me. It doesn't stop all the feelings that are bound to be in your head at a time like this but it gave me a different focus, a more positive one maybe and whatever the reasons, I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will continue to feel this way and that the whole thing won't sneak up and hit me in the face in a few days like these things have a habit of doing, it was worth a try anyway, I will have to wait and see I suppose.

  

Four Years Gone By

Alfie's 4th Birthday

Now four years have passed. I am writing this on the second, the anniversary of the day we lost Alfie so the days have not passed yet for me to fully know how it's going to feel this year. I am posting the image I have just made for his birthday just for now and then I will come back and let you know how it felt this year.

Update : The time went by quite easily this year.  We made sure we did something to remember Alfie but also made plans again, went out and about and kept ourselves busy so that we weren't sitting dwelling on every hour that passed.  This seemed to work well.  Of course there were the inevitable moments and the odd tear here and there but on the whole, I think we managed the period quite well.

Alfie's Fifth

2008

Well, this year has been very odd.  For two reasons.
The first is that the way the dates have fallen this year means that the days are happening exactly as they did on the year that it all happened.  The 2nd, the day we lost him was a Sunday and is again and the 3rd, his birthday was the Monday, and obviously is again.

This seems to be bringing out a lot more of the memories, more of the the, this was the time that this or that happened, than any time in the last few years.

Also because this year, Mother's Day has fallen on the Sunday, the anniversary of losing him.

J seemed quite worried about this when we realised that this was going to be the case.  He kept asking me whether I was going to be alright with that.  What could I do, there's no point me stressing myself out about it in any way because nothing can change the time, nothing can change what happened.  Worrying about it and wondering how I was going to feel wasn't going to change anything.  With this attitude in mind I decided that I would just take everything as it came, see how I felt on the day, nothing more than that you can actually do is there?

We didn't go out, we stayed in and J and the kids bought takeaway food in so that I didn't have to cook or clean as it was Mother's Day so we kinda lounged about and watched TV together and normal weekendy stuff, the day passed ok, we talked about the date a few times but no major upsets.

The Monday, we kept busy.  We were walking through the cemetery to visit Alfie at half past eight in the morning after dropping the kids off at school because the weather was so bad, through a blizzard!
We went back home to dry off, waited until lunch time and then picked up my Mum, we were going to take her out for dinner to make up for not doing anything with her the day before.  We dropped our pet dog off at the groomers for a wash and brush up, left her there and then went off for our meal.

It was late afternoon when we picked the dog up and went back home, dropping Mum off on the way.  We carried on as usual once the kids were home from school and so yet again, this seems to be proving the best way to get through for us.  If we still think about Alfie and have our moments, visit him and make a bit of something about his birthday but don't sit around and dwell on what we have lost, then keep busy, we don't seem to get by too badly at all.  This will be the way we carry on now I think, it has done us well up until now.

Until the next one rolls by, that's all I really have to say about the whole period this time.
We love him and we miss him and we wish every day that he was here with us but we know that this will never be, until we get to meet up somewhere, sometime, we are happy living with the memories we have of our short time together.  We celebrate the short life he had instead of mourning his death.
As long as we keep his memory alive inside of us, he will always be with us, as long as we are alive.

Alfie's Sixth

2009

Another odd one.

This year we decided that as everything in our lives was different, we would try to approach the whole time differently.
J is not working this year as he has been previously, he is now studying at University and has had a lot of changes within himself so wasn't sure how this year's anniversary would affect him.  As usual, the run up to the actual time was a long one.  Always aware that it is coming up and wondering how it will feel this time.

J had always taken the days off of work that marked Alfie's anniversary and birthday.  There was no way that he would have been able to deal with the feelings brought about by those days in the environment that he has been in for the last 6 years.  The days always hit him really hard and work wasn't the place to deal with that.

This year, J has made remarkable progress within himself with certain issues that he had struggled with for all of his life.  He now attends University and a new freedom seems to have taken over his personality which had always held him back in many situations throughout his life.  He knew that the days would still be hard but thought that maybe with the things he needed to be in Uni for on Alfie's birthday being so important to his whole year's studies, that this may help him find the strength to make a change and actually go out and do something different on that day.  this then also brought about feelings of guilt that he wouldn't be doing the same as he always had and he felt like it was a mark or respect to be, thinking about him on his special day.  Even the night before, he hadn't decided what he was going to do or how he felt about it all, he had to wait until he woke up on that day to see how it felt at the time.

We decided that whatever we were going to do on those days this year, we knew that it was going to be with us.  It will always be Alfie's anniversary or Alfie's birthday no matter what we did or where we were on those days.

We talked about things and visited Alfie a couple of days before his anniversary.  As we sat with him and spoke about the feelings that arise this time every year, we understood that the feelings would be there no matter whether we were at the grave or somewhere completely different.  We knew that going to the grave on the anniversary just made those feelings of sadness stronger as we had stopped going there on that day a couple of years before as it became too much for everyone, brought back all of the memories of the day that we lost him.

The question was about his birthday.  We have always tried in recent years to think of this as a happy day, a day to celebrate the little life that he had inside of me and for the time that we got to spend with him in the hospital after his birth.  This meant that J had to make a decision about whether he was to break the pattern that he had built up over the years of not going to work or Uni as it now was on that day.

All I could suggest was that he thought about how much he would miss and how far he would get behind if he didn't attend his lectures on that day. To think about how it would affect him if he did go out and do something different.  Would it be that it took his mind off of all the sadness for a little while, would that be good for him, would it be healthier than sitting around thinking of the little boy that should have been with us right now but wasn't?  Should we be wanting to NOT think about those things on that day?  No matter how you try to look at it, there is always two sides.  It's very difficult to weigh up sense and logic and the way that things are and your own feelings of guilt or whatever it may be that you feel when you think about not going to the grave or marking the day in some way out of respect.

Eventually the time came around.  The Monday, this year, was Alfie's Anniversary.  he was with us all.  We all had moments of sadness and sat quietly in reflection, thinking about our own feelings of loss from that day 6 years ago.  We all helped each other out the best way that we could when we could see that it was needed but we carried on the day as normally as we could.  I immersed myself in catching up with things on the internet, doing whatever needed doing round the house etc and everyone just did their own thing the best way they could.

The morning after was a mixed one.  Gemma decided that this time, this day had hit her the hardest and decided that it wouldn't be a good idea for her to go into college.  She had a big presentation to do and didn't think that she would get through it feeling the way that she did so she stayed at home and saw the day out there.  J however, made a brave decision.  He made a big leap and decided that no matter where he was, it was still Alfie's birthday and he till loved him and thought about him as much as he ever did, if he went into Uni for the morning, nothing could ever change that.  Besides, he is 30 years old and will be expected to do things on these days for the next 40 years, he has to start accepting that fact at some point so why should it not be now if everything else is different this year?  Get it over and done with for the first time ad see how it felt.  He wasn't sure it was the right thing to do but he wouldn't know until it was done.

He went in and did it and survived.  I got a bit of a lift by knowing that people had remembered and shown an interest after all this time, usually people forget after so long but I heard from my friends, Helen, Trisha and Bob all either visiting the grave or showing concern and just remembering, it made a whole lot of difference to me.

The day passed and we are all still here and managing.  The sad feelings I think will linger around for a while yet and we will be back to visit him in the next couple of days.  I think we just have to keep in mind the advice that we give to the kids ourselves, It doesn't matter what you do on those days, visit the grave, go to work, go to school, or what you do, mope about, get on with things, just get through the day the best you can!  No matter what we choose to do, Alfie will be with us all the time.  He is in our hearts and in our minds whether we consciously make an effort to show it or mark it, he is here and is going nowhere.  He knows we are thinking of him and doing our best.  he wouldn't want us all sat in black crying over a graveside would he?  He would want us to get on and live our lives in the best and most painless way that we can and we should do that for him as much as we should for ourselves.

So, another year!  Let's get trough this one and see what happens next time x

 

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