it is your birthday, little one, and you are not here.

i made cupcakes last night anyway, and when your father and your little brother come home later we will go out into the back yard where your trees are budding, just barely, and have a little picnic and talk about you and celebrate you.  because it is your birthday, and you would be three today.

but you are not here.

i know the cupcakes are not for you.   these cupcakes are for the living.  they are an offering, i guess, a ritual, a way of honouring what we do not know how to touch.  they are a way for your father and i to tell your brother about you, now that he is getting old enough.  i do not really expect him to understand…i’m still not sure i understand, myself.  but he likes cupcakes, knows they are only for special occasions.   you liked cupcakes, too, back when you and i were a world unto ourselves: i will tell him, someday, that you two had that in common.  your little feet used to dance inside me, tapping out your sugar rush, making me laugh.  i used to tap my fingers back, in response, the two of us symbiotic and easy in our cupcake afterglow.

there is another little one there inside now, Finn, in that same fragile sanctuary, another brother or sister.  s/he too will have cupcakes tonight.  for you, for this special occasion, even though you are not here.  and s/he may dance or kick, just like you did.  and those cupcakes will be bittersweet.

there was so much i wanted to show you.  when you first died, i couldn’t look at things without showing them to you in my mind…these are clouds, little one, that’s a kitty and they’re soft, these are berries i don’t know the name of…aren’t they pretty?  i don’t know if i thought you could hear me, see through me somehow…i just…needed to tell you.  i still want to.  i want to show you the tulips that are coming up in the front yard, and the worms in the earth, and tell you how your mother loves you and just…be your parent, Finn.  because you are my child, you were my firstborn, my baby.  but you are not here.

what i can tell you is that we are not so broken, anymore, by your going.  that we are healing.  i didn’t want sheer bitterness to be your legacy, i didn’t want to honour you by becoming something less.  and yet it feels like such betrayal, for me to let go…to accept and say, it’s okay.  it was time when you went; i told you that then and i meant it, with my whole soul.  you were hurt, and hurting, and i could not help you.  you did nothing wrong.  i do not know if it will ever be quite okay that you’re gone…i doubt it…but it is easier, now.  do you understand?  and if i say, i am okay now, will you forgive me?  because even after three years, i am still afraid of losing you…wherever you may be.  i am still afraid of failing you.

i am still your mama, and proud of you.

i  love you, little one.  and down here with the tulips and the trees, we’re having cupcakes and remembering.  happy birthday.