I opened that drawer.

I will love you until the moment I pass from this existence to the next, and then I will find you again and love you some more.

‘Wyatt’

I opened ‘that’ drawer last night Henry well there’s more than one of ‘those’ drawers in our house this drawer is in the kitchen it’s one of our large pot drawers, I absent-mindedly went to look for something in there that used to be there, forgetting that before I had you in those last couple of weeks I’d cleaned it out. I cleaned it out to create a space in the kitchen for your things.. I opened that drawer without thinking Henry and there staring back at me, more reminders of the plans, the life we thought we’d have but don’t, the one where you’d be here. A drawer with bottles, a breast pump, breast milk bags to freeze milk I was going to feed you with, bottle cleaners, containers planning ahead for when I would make purée food for you, the one special bottle I had included in your dad’s gift basket I had put together for him, with items for you and him, with the tag I’d attached saying ‘so we can be drinking buddies’.

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I’d known how much he’d wanted to be involved and be able to feed you too, so I had the plan if it worked out to pump and freeze, so he’d be able to give you a bottle here and there I know that plan may not have worked but we were so keen to try. I opened that drawer Henry I saw all of that stuff and my heart ached, I froze stopped in time I saw that one tag on that bottle I’d got and put in the basket for your dad and I broke, closing the draw I broke down right there, falling and sitting on the kitchen floor in tears.

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There’s other drawers in our house Henry… they are there, there’s one in the loungeroom which contains precious things like your tags from the hospital the card which says how much you weighed the hand and footprint stamps, the cards we got from people sending love and condolences instead of congratulations, photos of you we have that drawer too. Then there’s the drawers in your room with all those tiny clothes we lovingly washed before you arrived I’d sorted the drawers too, the first two had 0-3 months clothes the third contained the 3-6 months and I’d put the few 6-12 month items we had in a container aside planning to change and rotate the drawers as needed.. We were prepared so prepared for you. Who knew we’d only need one draw would hold all we had left of you, who knew the other drawers wouldn’t be needed. Who knew those plans would never happen not us.

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Yesterday Henry, the casts we had organised to get done of your hands and feet arrived, we had organised this within days of leaving the hospital and over 5 months later they arrived, we had forgotten they would be coming, it was so bittersweet. As I stared down at those precious casts of your hands and feet, as I stared down they were in exactly the same position as we had left them that day, exactly as I remember them. I looked at the hands and feet in the frame so incredibly perfect, so beautiful, so heartbreaking tears streamed down my face so very quickly I couldn’t stop them “I’m sorry” I apologised for crying to the lady who had done the casts and handed them to me, “It’s ok” she said sitting next to me. She handed me a little wooden box with your name on it, she handed it to me underneath your name the words, ‘Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart’ I saw those words and more tears its true, you have all of my heart Henry always.

Inside that little box she explained were the original casts she took “So you can hold them” she said to me and she had done replicas for the frame, I ever so carefully unwrapped the tissue paper from one of them holding the little hand in mine, it’s exactly the size I remember your hands to be, I remember holding your hands in mine, I remember looking at your long fingers in awe, I remember the feel of your soft soft skin in my hands, it took me back to a place I wish I could still be those moments with you. I was taken right back to those moments I got to hold, cuddle, kiss and take you in. Tears just kept pouring out “thank you” I said “Thank you so very much you have no idea how grateful we are and how much these mean to us” I said between tears “and thank you for delivering them” … “It’s my absolute honour to be able to do these and I can not even begin to imagine” she said back to me. As she stood to leave “can I hug you?” I asked “Yes she said I gave her the biggest thankful hug I could. Amber has a Facebook page for her casting business and has done some beautiful work. Cast a memory Shoalhaven 

After she left Henry I realised your Dad had disappeared ‘where are you?’ I messaged him, he reappeared minutes later tears streaming down his face his eyes red, we sat on the lounge hugging each other and just crying and crying together “they are really special” he said to me rubbing my back “They are” we just sat looking and crying. So damn hard Henry as I wish you were here, I wish with everything you were here and we didn’t need casts of your hands and feet but you are not and these little casts mean so very much.

Last night Henry, last night I couldn’t sleep, your Dad snored beside me, I tried reading, I tried all sorts of things, the first ultrasound we had with you came to my mind, I remember we had an early one as I had, had some bleeding and was so sick, The first ultrasound “We may need to do an internal if we can’t see with this one” she had said but no that wasn’t needed she put the gel on my stomach and then started moving the wand around and there you were, there you were to me you looked like the shape of a frog at that stage. “There’s your baby” she had said “all looking good” , “there’s only one in there?” I asked her as I had been so sick already I wondered if maybe there were two “only one” she confirmed your Dad and I looked at each other and we smiled. We got ready she printed a picture for us and we left to go home. I remember all those moments Henry, the milestones, moments we saw you on-screen, all of it sticks so vividly in my mind.

Thoughts of you swirled in my head and I couldn’t sleep at all, I decided to get up, I walked to the bathroom after this I went to sit down on the lounge your Dad woke up “Where are you?” he called out “I can’t sleep” I said to him “come back” he said I instantly got frustrated and upset “but I can’t sleep” I replied “whats the use”.. “come lay down with me” he replied as I made my way to do so Henry I could hear Snikkers wag her tail it making a noise against her bed I bent down to pat her, she is my follower Henry and it that moment I started to cry as I pet her because I knew, I knew that if you were here she would have been by my feet any time I would’ve gotten up to feed you, she would have moved with us and stayed with us and I know she would’ve been protective of you. I held on to her and cried and cried until moving to the bed with your Dad as I got in he pulled me close I put my head in to his chest and broke even more “I don’t want to do this anymore” I said to him as I sobbed “We can do this together” he said to me, but the hurt Henry the pain I don’t want to do it anymore.

As we lay there and I couldn’t stop the tears that feel so fast and so furiously down my face your Dad tried to calm me, trying to get me to breathe “Follow my breath” he said breathing deeply in and out “I’ll be your app” he said as I have been trying to listen to a sleep app lately to help with sleep. Your Dad breathed in and out slowly then all of a sudden he said “Allen’s lollies eat redskins special 2 for $5” I slightly laughed “pay for premium access without the ads” he then said “I am being the app” I laughed a little more he then continued to breathe for a few more moments “berry donut van delicious donuts eat responsibly” I laughed a little bit more and hugged your Dad tighter “I’m tired and I am tired of fighting with myself day after day after day” .. “We will get there” he said to me “We will do it together picking up each others pieces”

We talked some more until your Dad fell back asleep and I lay there for some time still awake, until finally somewhere in the early hours of the morning my exhaustion allowed me to fall asleep.

This past week I have struggled with some days Henry, I have fought hard with myself on the days where I haven’t felt like doing much at all, I’ve had a change basket arrive this week I ordered it before you were born and it got put on back order, I had forgotten and it arrived, and that was hard, seeing it opening it and then putting it in your room, where it just looked perfect, it went perfectly and I felt all the emotions at once, so fucking sad that I didn’t get to be using it with you, angry I was placing it in there and you aren’t here, pain as I wondered will we ever get to use it for siblings with you and just that complete and utter love that I have for you.

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That change basket arrived on Friday and Friday night your Dad was at work, while he was at work I received a phone call regarding some things we have been looking at and doing the phone call was a really difficult one, after I finally held it together on the phone afterwards I put my head in to my hands and cried, Snikkers looked up at me concern in her eyes and I placed my had down to pet her head and I continued to let tears fall. I sat wondering whether things were worth it, was everything we were trying to do is it worth the hurt, pain everything. Sometimes I wonder, in fact I always wonder how?

We continue to work on your garden, I picked up some rocks for that this week, I continue to go to psychologist appointments to talk and help navigate my grief, I do all I can to keep going through each and everyday. Theres moments of laughter still lots of tears hurt and pain. I say to your Dad often I need direction, I feel so lost, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how I return to a job that demands travel, being away from home so often, its hard enough when your Dad is on shift work let alone being hundreds of miles away from him especially when those big waves of grief hit. Let alone being out in childcare centres all day, being around other babies all day, being reminded of what I am missing so much with you. But these are all decisions I face Henry, things I have to think about and will have to do, we need our income.

Today Henry we have taken it easy, today I have tried to rest. its been raining lightly but consistently. Today your Dad talked with me about how this day two years ago he went to watch the Bathurst race with friends at the pub and he spent the afternoon writing his wedding vows on coasters. I smile at that memory, I smile at the memory of him pulling them out that day we had eloped to Hawaii and married on the north shore. I remember his heartfelt words ‘I promise to create and support a family with you in a household filled with laughter’ some of his words, which is what we had longed to do with you ‘I will love you faithfully through the difficultly and the easy’ he has certainly proven that Henry, through this most difficult time ever your Dad has done nothing but show me love. I think about how he said those words how much we used to laugh and it just makes me sad we have lost that laughter that fun, the spark we used to have and it feels like we will never find it.

We talked about how this time last year your Dad had stayed home with me to watch the race as I was so sick with HG I had been vomiting most of the morning and was on the lounge, he stayed with me to support me through it, get me anything I needed to care for me as he always has. This time last year I was 11 weeks going on 12 weeks pregnant with you we were looking forward to our 12 week scan in the upcoming week.

So many anniversaries still happening still coming up, so many moments I remember, I want to celebrate them but at the same time they bring the pain of all we thought would be, I want to celebrate you but at the same time it brings all of the overwhelming feelings of how we have lost you, how we never get to watch the milestones we should be, how we never get to hold and watch you grow.

I look at your room and as the months pass of siblings not arriving I wonder should we keep it set up as it is or do we pack it away, I can’t bring myself to pack it up and I feel close to you in there and sometimes I have so much hope that it may one day be filled with your siblings, yet other days just seeing it, just walking past it hurts I break down. I walked past the other day and the pain, that ache it hit me hard like a hard punch to abdomen it took my breath away, taking me by complete surprise I was reminded, about how much I long for you, I just had this urge to be in your room doing something, yet there’s no point, there’s nothing to do in there, as you are not here. I can’t look after you so your room remains untouched, it remains in immaculate condition, untouched, clothes, bedding, toys, books, shoes all unused. All I can do in there is dust, vacuum and water the plant or sit and reflect on what is, how I feel and what could have been.

I was recently talking to a friend Henry and her mum reads my letters to you, she had said to my friend “Kristy much just feel like a cicada, when I met her she was lovely, so nice and smiling and at the party had a lot of fun, chirpy like a cicada, now she must just feel like the shell of herself, just like the cicada leaves a shell behind” It was one of the best ways I have heard it put Henry, I do feel like a shell of my former self no longer the happy person I was just who I am now after that one moment that changed my life.

I miss the me that laughed so much, I miss the me that would want to get out and try something new, the me that was constantly on the go and busy, the me that would plan and plan and get things done, I miss the me that would make a decision and go ok I am going to make this happen… Go back to that, do that people might say what they don’t realise is I can’t, I cant be that person as I am changed, it’s not to say that some of it wont return, but at the moment some days just getting out of bed is all I can do.

Another week almost over, another about to begin.

Another week further away from you, another week in.

Another month slowly passing, yet months have disappeared before my eyes.

Another day, hour, minute, second without you.

Henry, I love you.

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Author: Letters to Henry

My husband and I live on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia. We are currently learning to rebuild and navigate through life after the loss of our son Henry to stillbirth due to medical negligence in April of this year.

One thought on “I opened that drawer.”

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