Happy Birthday Toby

Toby photo 2Dear Toby,

Today is your 28th birthday, but to me you are forever frozen at 23. You lived for approximately 86,000 days and I cherished every one. Just recently I realised that it was all the ordinary days I miss so much and I wish I had known how special they were. The other day I drove past a man taking his son to school, they were walking along hand in hand and I looked at them and cried, wondering how many days I walked you to school and held your hand and didn’t realise that I should have cherished every moment.

How many times did I do that, how many times did I read you a bedtime story, how many times did we giggle together over Friends, have silly rows over bedtimes, turning off the computer, eating sweets for breakfast or you pleading for the latest toy? We must have shared thousands of hugs, kisses, goodbyes, I’ll always love yous. I didn’t know I was meant to savour every one and store them up in my memory for when you were gone.

All my photos show you as such a happy, smiling little boy. Pictures of holidays and days out, at Lego land, Alton Towers, at the steam railway and all our happy holidays in Cornwall where I now live. But I don’t have pictures of all the ordinary, humdrum days we shared just the two of us, because most of the time it was just the two of us. Your Dad turned out to be a bit of a dud, a few men came and went but it was just us. We were a team, we had our own special code, we laughed at the same things. We argued fiercely but always laughed and made up. I hope you know that every time we argued it was just because I love you so much and wanted you to be the best you could be, and you were.

When I was talking to some other Mums a couple of weeks ago who have also lost their precious children we were talking about still having all the memories of the life we had, but we also talked about losing your future. What about the future I planned for you? Falling in love, travelling the world, having babies of your own, I lost all that when I lost you, but that was the future I wanted for you, you couldn’t see your future so you went away. But I know you couldn’t live your life to make me happy, you had to try and find it for yourself and I’m so sad you couldn’t find it, but happy we had 86,000 wonderful ordinary days together.

I was reminded of the poem I read at Mum’s funeral, the sentiment being that the one who has left would rather we forgot them than remembered them and felt sad.

So I try my best to cling onto the life we had, the life you had, the happy memories.

Rest in peace my beautiful boy,

I’ll always love you,


Remember me – Christina Rossetti

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land;

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you planned:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you should remember and be sad.



This entry was posted in bereavement, Grief, Healing, Loss, suicide, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Happy Birthday Toby

  1. Lori says:

    Hi Anne- as always your message reaches some of us in the most touching ways. It’s so challenging especially during the holidays without our precious children physically with us. But you have such a great resolve Anne. I admire your strength and courage as you soldier onward without Toby- your beautiful boy, and also your parents. Happy birthday to Toby on his 28th b-day (my Shane missed his 29th b-day Oct 4th) and may all the cherished memories you have together now help hold you tightly. Wishing you peace and continued stamina as this world is awfully difficult but the random, simple acts of kindness that I still see all around me help give me hope, too.

    I was so touched by the gift of an invitation to the home on Christmas Day from a couple who also have lost a precious “child” which was extended to the entire support group, Compassionate Friends, which has a chapter in our town. How kind and compassionate this couple is to welcome these parents knowing the holidays can be so tough on many.

    From one mom to another, the biggest hug I can send across the pond:-) May peace and tranquility
    flood your soul. And thank you for such a meaningful message this week.

    In solidarity with all we have lost but all the beauty in life we still hold onto,
    Lori Robinson


    Very moving Anne – and very helpful to so many. You are still his Mother…somewhere in the universe. When you meet him again – he’ll be SO PROUD of what you BECAME.

  3. Rox.x says:

    Anne, you did cherish those days, special and ordinary, you just didn’t realize it at the time.
    I wish you a peaceful Christmas and thank-you for reaching out and sharing all of this with us. Rox.x

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