It seems to have become an annual tradition now, writing you a letter on your birthday every year. This year you would be 27 in earth years. It is hard to believe that 27 years ago I was in Good Samaritan hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, cuddling my beautiful little baby boy. Twenty seven years, half a lifetime. As always I wonder what you might be doing if you were still here, and as always I know you would not want a fuss or a party. You were always a low key kind of person. I’m sure you’d being going out for a beer or two with your mates though.
You were born at 4.35 in the morning, and arrived quickly and without any drama. Whenever I hear the song ‘Have yourself a merry little Christmas’ by Judy Garland I always shed a tear, as I was watching this in bed during the day, the day I went into labour. I phoned the hospital about 10 pm and told them I thought I was having contractions every 3 minutes and they told me not to come in until I couldn’t talk on the phone, but I went anyway and refused to go home until you were born. You were due on the 29th but conveniently arrived a week early and I was back home by Christmas Eve. You always missed out a bit on the birthday presents being born so close to Christmas, but I always tried to make sure you got two lots of presents with a birthday party the weekend before your birthday so there was a bit of a gap in between.
I suppose writing to you gives me a chance to reflect on what I am doing and makes me feel connected to you. I know you can’t read this letter but I hope you are out there somewhere hearing my thoughts. I know your life here on earth was cut short but I do always try to feel grateful on your birthday and look on it as a day of celebration, a celebration of your birth and a reminder of all the happy times and the love we shared.
Even when we were cross we always told each other ‘I’ll always love you’ and now I am so grateful for that. My life has changed drastically in the last year. I quit my job and started a degree course at University. I wonder what you think of that? Me a student…. I know it’s kind of amazing. I don’t think anything I do would surprise you though. I remember once when my friend phoned the house and you answered the phone. When she asked where I was you told her ‘Oh, she’s off walking on red hot coals again’ very nonchalantly as if it was an everyday occurrence. We always laughed about that.
Of course we had rows sometimes, although ironically when you dropped out of Uni, we got to spend more quality time together in that last year of your life than we ever had before, and I am always grateful for that. When I look back at all the childhood photos I know you had a happy childhood and I am grateful for that.
I know you found life challenging at times and ultimately just too much, but my biggest hope in all the world is that you knew how proud I am of you. I am proud of you for fighting your demons for as long as you did, and I am proud you were a sensitive, kind, funny young man who was loved by many.
I miss you more than words can ever say, in some ways the missing gets worse, but as I go through my life, now at University, I feel sure you would be supporting me all the way and I still chat to you and in tough times I think ‘What would Toby say’ and I hear your words of wisdom whispering in my ear.
So today I celebrate your birthday, Happy Birthday my beautiful boy, I’ll always love you. I went up to your memorial place and hung a heart on your tree and a lovely Owl ornament that Aunty Sue sent. You will be remembered, loved and missed forever.
IALY, Mom xxxx