• Emma

#4 Letters to Ellis

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

I have never been much of a writer, as a kid I didn’t find any comfort or real need to have a diary. I got bought a few over the years but I just ended up writing crap in them. I much preferred to be out on my bike or playing outside with the other kids in our street. I did, however, have quite a few pen pals, some set up by school and some of my own making when on holiday. One in particular has lasted well over 20 years, we just use Facebook or Whatsapp now instead of writing letters!

When Ellis died I had so many emotions, thoughts, and questions that I didn’t really know what to do with them all, and I knew keeping them inside wasn’t helping me. One afternoon I sat down in the garden and next to me was the notepad I use to write my shopping list, I grabbed the pad and pen and just started to write. I wrote letters to Ellis. There are 15 letters in total, I only know that now because it’s taken me until now to be able to read them again. I thought I had written letters to Ellis right up until the day of his funeral but I was wrong, the last letter is dated Monday 12th August, that’s the day we picked up his ashes from the funeral director - the day he came home. I found it strange to believe I’d forgotten about those last few letters, guilty in fact (shocker!) but I must have pushed them to the back of my mind for some reason. The first letter was written on Wednesday 26th June, so you’ll know that if I only wrote 15 letters, I didn’t write one every day. I knew this at the time, I knew it because like with this entire grieving process for me, I haven’t been able to give it my full 100% attention because I have still had to be mummy to Ruby. I knew I could get away with not being the wife, the daughter, the sister, the friend, and the colleague, but being mummy I knew I couldn’t and that is both amazing but heart-breaking at the same time.

Having read the letters back almost a year on from writing the first one I can definitely see how far I’ve come since then - since those dark early days of grief. But I can also still relate to all of the emotions as well, perhaps maybe now I’m learning to deal with them better? Forgive me for not sharing all of the content in our letters, I feel that they should stay between me and Ellis (my husband hasn’t even read them). However, below I will share some snippets with you as I feel it is important that we do share our thoughts and feelings so that we can all feel a little less alone…

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Wednesday 26th June 2019

Today you should have been 5 days old but instead you are 5 days gone. I find myself missing the silly things, wishing to change your pooey nappy & longing to be covered in milky sick!

I’m sat in the garden on a lovely afternoon waiting for your sister to get home as Daddy has gone to collect her form the childminders. I so wish you’d have been able to meet her, she’s wonderful, noisy and stubborn, but wonderful! I know she would have taken good care of you and I will always make sure she remembers you.

Thursday 27th June 2019

Today has been hard but in a new way, not sure if it is the hot sun or just the way this process goes but somehow today feels easier, which makes it feel hard! I don’t want to feel sad all the time as that isn’t how I want to remember you but somehow feeling happy feels wrong.

Monday 1st July 2019

Today has been hard, I have felt like I have missed you more today than any other day, my arms ache to hold you again and my heart feels like it has broken all over again. I long to have you here, I long to see your face, see your eyes open, hear your cry, your coo!

I know there will be good days and bad, and I’ve been told I’m allowed to wallow & cry when I want to, but all I want is you! Today has been full of the torturous questions “Why me?”, “Why us?”, “What did I do wrong?”, “Why? Just Why?”.

Sunday 7th July 2019

Today was just too normal! We went to watch your cousin play football, went to Nana’s for lunch, and then went to the park. A perfectly normal Sunday to the outside world but to me it was far from what I thought my normal would be. My normal should be walking around proudly pushing your buggy, showing you off to everyone, checking you’re not too cold or too hot, worrying about if I had enough nappies or not! I put on a brave face, as crying in public isn’t Mummy’s style, but inside I feel broken and lost. What did I do wrong to make the universe take you away from us? I know I’m not likely to win any “Mum of the year” awards but surely I didn’t deserve this. I loved you from the minute I knew about you, that random DIY day in late October gave me so much to look forward too, we were so surprised and so pleased and excited. I just don’t understand why?!

Sunday 14th July 2019

So another week gone, another weekend filled with fun activities to keep your sister occupied and my mind busy. At Nana’s today Ruby mentioned you again. A book she likes to read has pictures of a milk bottle, bath toys, a sippy cup, baby toys etc in it, all of which she fondly says “Aw baby Ellis will like these.” Instead of my usual reply when I was still pregnant with you, the “yes, he will”, it was “yes, he would have”. Two new words to the sentence that change its entire meaning. It’s so hard to hear but so lovely to hear your sister say your name. Oh how I long for the day I would have heard you say her name, I wonder if you’d have had a nickname for her…?

Sunday 28th July 2019

Sorry I’ve not written for a while, please don’t think it’s because I’ve forgotten you, never! Daddy & I have been busy planning your funeral, words I never thought I’d say but those are the facts! It’s been an OK week, few ups, mostly downs. I just hope you like the songs we’ve chosen and the poems, and I hope you like the outfit we chose too! Please don’t think of me as heartless if I don’t cry, it’s just my way sometimes, I need you to give me the focus and inner strength to get through the day. That strength and focus may come across as cold and hard-faced but please know that deep down it is tearing me apart, ripping my heart into tiny pieces, knowing it will never be whole again. Daddy thinks there will be lots of people there, I hope he is right. I want you to know how loved you are and how special you are to our family, and that through us you have touched every single person there.

Monday 12th August 2019

You are home! Not in the way I’d hoped or ever thought but you’re home, where you should be. I hope you can see us, I hope you can laugh with us and cry with us. I want you to know you’ll always be with us. Your current “bed” isn’t what I want, I want to be able to hold you when I want to and take you with us if we go away, I think a soft cosy teddy bear would be the perfect “bed” for you, then you can feel our warm embrace too. Life sucks without you and I have twisted guilt every time I say that because of course life doesn’t suck because I have Ruby, but I need you too. I just want you back! I am glad you are home though, in whatever shape or form, you are where you belong.

Forever yours

Mummy x

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PARENTING THROUGH LOSS