Spring has been knocking on our door for a few weeks now and everyone is very excited to be able to change coats, have longer days and the promise of more sun in our lives. We are a bit confused about our feelings towards the change of seasons in our household. I am clearly excited to have more sun and light as it truly makes a big difference in my mood and how I can tackle a bad day; but I'm also sad to see that time keeps going and we are moving further away from Olivia and closer to one year without her.
This time last year we were supposed to be back home in Venezuela for my Godson Rodrigo's baptism and my mom organised an amazing babyshower for me with all her and my friends and I was going to spend my birthday surrounded by family for the first time since 2007. Annoyingly, Zika arrived in our lives and we had to change our plans and decided to go to Los Angeles for a "babymoon" as it's a cool place that has sun and awesome friends. To be fair, we had an amazing time in LA, Olivia LOVED the food and we got the only existing video of her dancing around to her Papi's voice. This week last year was also the last time I had an amazing night's sleep as I remember waking up on our third night away and I told Pierre: I think we arrived to the uncomfortable sleeping time of pregnancy. We took some amazing pictures together, Olivia danced for her Tía Titi and Pierre took the only artsy picture of my bump. I only smile when I think of how insanely happy I was then, the sun was shining, the three of us were together and healthy, we truly were on top of the world. Fast forward to this year and I still haven't had an amazing night sleep again as my mind now provides the discomfort and my dreams, whilst much much better than the early days after Olivia died, are still quite a horrible copy of our life without our daughter.
The sun is shining again and the days are getting warmer, so wardrobes need to change... I've thrown out three sweaters I used to love that I wore for the most part of Spring last year. The first one to go was the one in my backpack the day Olivia died, I put it this Tuesday as I was getting ready for work and I just felt dirty wearing it. Whilst its not a maternity sweater, I was able to wear it a lot and being bumpless just felt wrong and like the sweater didn't belong. I remember the happiness of having to change my clothes last year and rocking all different maternity outfits and having 7 different "Baby on Board" badges just in case I changed last minute. This year I just stare at those pins, offer them my seat in the tube, wish them luck in my mind and hope that one day I can be them again.
On August 2nd 2016 Olivia was cremated and we held a service that felt like a celebration of her life, the memories of that day make me smile more than they make me cry. So many friends and family came, all dressed in beautiful colours (we asked them not to wear black) and all of them thinking of Olivia and giving us some much needed love, support and smiles. Four of Olivia's Tía's read something on that day: My sister, Pierre's sister and my friends and chosen sisters Bea and Beth. I read a letter from Pierre and I to the world and still I have no clue how I managed to read the entire thing.
Beth saying: "Hold on - the Spring will come." is all I hear when I walk around London and see the flowers blooming and the kids playing outside. I feel a crazy mixture of happiness and dread over the idea that life left me and Olivia behind. I don't want to see kids playing outside, I want to see MY kid playing (or crawling at this stage) outside. I don't want to be surrounded by happiness, hope and life; I want to be happy, feel hopeful and be with Olivia here alive. Spring normally brings amazing things for everyone, myself included, but this year I haven't been able to really feel or truly appreciate any of the good. Then I hear Beth again saying "Be brave - the Spring will come." and for a few minutes I breathe deep try to smile for real and think that Spring will hopefully arrive one day for me, just not today.
I was having a particularly bad week last Tuesday when I walked to work and the weather was truly epic. I left home feeling heavy hearted and decided to walk to shake it off. Sadly, I couldn't cheat my feelings and whilst I was hiding in a quiet corner crying behind a curtain, I was talking to my friend and fellow Awesome Mum Marisa. She is the mum of two beautiful girls, Bebe who she holds in her heart and Adelia who she holds in her arms. Marisa is one of the wisest friends I have and I was telling her how annoyed I felt at people telling me how strong I am because, I don't feel like this is not strength, this is necessity. If I had another option I would take it, but the world keeps moving and I have to survive, so I need to keep walking. Marisa then said: "That's so true, as long as we're alive we're forced to make it through. But you do have control over how you go through it and thats where you shine as you're still full of love, life, laughter, and strength. seriously." and just like that Marisa made me feel truly strong and that Spring might actually come for us, even if its just for a little bit at a time.