Birthdays after the loss of a child 

Today is Millie and Leo’s  daddy’s birthday, he hates them. He doesn’t like birthdays anymore and hasn’t done since we lost Millie, it’s just one of those things that don’t seem not to mean much anymore. 

This year I arranged for us to go away for the night. A few months ago, just before I had Leo, I visited one of the kind venues that provide a room for our Millie’s Trust courses in Chester. Whilst I was there visiting, I absolutely loved it – it’s such a beautiful place , I loved it that much that I knew I wanted to bring Dan to see it, hence why I booked a night for his birthday here. 

Inglewood Manor is this amazing place ( not only because they provide a permanent venue for us ) but because it is such a beautiful relaxing place to stay.

I booked the night away because we have to try and be as “normal” as possible for Leo’s sake and celebrating daddy’s birthday is a normal thing to do. The way I think about it, is that we do birthday’s now when Leo is so small he can’t remember, these will be the hardest and by the time he understands Daddy and I will feel a little better and celebrate with a little more enthusiasm than we have done since we lost our Mills. 

Inglewood Manor have made it extra special for Dan too this year,  we had chocolate strawberries and Prosecco waiting for us and an extra special present for Leo waiting for him, with his own little note! ( see photo below )

 
Leo loves his little penguin it was such a kind  gesture from Fiona and team there. 

Something else made this little present even more special, whilst Dan and I were eating our birthday dinner , Leo was playing with his penguin and HE PICKED IT UP IN HIS HAND!!! 

 
This is the first time that we have ever seen him grab something and pick it up!! (See photo above ) I got a little bit excited in the restaurant ( which by the way has lovely Goat’s Cheese Mousse and does a very tasty ham hock starter ) and took this fab smiley photo 😁

Whilst we were waiting for our meal to arrive, Leo couldn’t decide whether he wanted to be awake or asleep – to be honest, I think he is just like his big sister, loves to be nosey. Before he fell asleep though, we managed to get a lovely family photo thanks to a lovely staff member at the hotel. 


We headed up to the room as we needed to get Leo settled into his travel cot and we were playing with Leo on the bed before his bedtime bottle, I’m not quite sure how we didn’t end up sleeping on the floor as Leo seemed to like the bed too much!   

  

We’d already planned a trip to Chester Zoo on Dan’s birthday, this was also Leo’s first time visiting. For those of you that don’t know, there is a gorgeous giraffe at Chester Zoo named after our daughter Millie and we try and pop along and see her as often as we can.  Without knowing, today was actually extra special in the giraffe house because a couple of days a go , a new giraffe had been born. We saw the new giraffe today and it’s extremely cute , I can’t believe Millie ( Giraffe Millie ) was ever this small as a baby giraffe as she is now very tall and elegant.

 
The photo above is Millie the giraffe when she was only days old in March 2013. ( photo credited Peter Byrne/Press Association) – taken from Chester Zoo Website .

Millie the giraffe and all her friends and family at Chester Zoo are extra special because they are rare Rothschild Giraffes and there are currently less than 700 of this breed left in the wild.

You can learn more about Rothschild giraffes by clicking here

Anyway, so even though Dan hates birthdays nowadays, I think we made his day bearable and kept him busy enough so that he didn’t overthink things.

I’ve even just managed to get him to blow some candles out on his little birthday cake and he’s now sat on the sofa having a beer; happy that his birthday is nearly over. 

  
The thing is, it’s not just our birthdays that we aren’t fans of. Since Millie passed, we have struggled with everyone’s birthdays and Christmas’ – in fact we haven’t actually “done” Christmas since we lost her because we haven’t been able to cope with the whole big event. We didn’t do anything the first year, volunteered at an elderly people’s event the year after, kept ourselves to ourselves last year as I was heavily pregnant with Leo but this year we know that we want to change because Leo is here and he deserves a Christmas. We aren’t sure how much of Christmas we will do this year, we know that we only want it to be small, we don’t want to make it a huge deal but we do want Leo to have his first Christmas because Millie never had hers and we never had one as a family. 

We know we are going to see tons and tons of birthdays and Christmas’ with Leo and we know that we will make every one of them extra special. 

Sometimes when you lose someone so special, nothing else in the world matters and special occasions don’t seem that special anymore until someone else comes along to make it special again – Leo has done this for us 😀

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Don’t forget you can still enter our virtual run that is taking place alongside our “Millie Madness” month in October. 

Click here for full details and enter soon as there aren’t many places left.

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