Contrasting Days

My twins were eight years old yesterday. Eight. I can hardly believe it.

Those eight years have passed so quickly and so slowly. It seems such a short time ago that I held them in my arms for the first time. So short a time since Lanie and I cooed over Patrick as he breathed the open air for the first time. Pat had a slight issue with his breathing for the first few minutes and it sounded like he was saying “ello, ello”. Or as we waited an eternity for Kitty to show signs of life – silent, still, no signs of life for a few seconds. Seconds that seemed an eternity, then she burst into life with a lamb-like cry that had the whole room moved. The struggles of the previous year forgotten as we held our twin babies, our pride and joy. I have never felt as happy as that moment. To see the smile on Lanie’s face, the relief there and the love for our new little family. I shut my eyes right now and picture it. One of life’s most perfect moments.

That was the day we celebrated yesterday. A day very much to celebrate. The day I became a grown up. The day I became a father. A father of twins, no less. I fussed around during the day yesterday. I made them pizzas, I bought a little cake and some other treats. I helped with Lego constructions. I took photos while they opened presents and took in their joy for my own. These children are becoming funny clever people that are wonderful to be around. So today was worthy of celebrating them. I am so very proud of them.

But every year brings that bitter-suite contrast. The hangover. First we have the day of celebration, where I think of those moments when Lanie and I were united in our joy. Then comes the next day. The day of a less happy anniversary. It’s eight years ago today I held a one-day old Patrick in my arms and told the little pink bundle “I’m so sorry Pat, your mummy has just died.” The beginning of an unfolding nightmare of grief and the hardships of solo baby care. I think of Lanie often, I miss her every day. But the anniversary is always a day when I look deeper into the darkness in that direction. I try not to, but one can’t help it.

I’d love to offer some kind of resolution to this. Some kind of lesson here, but it’s hard over the anger that still burns. Hard to offer anything other than “Go fuck yourself Essex NHS”. I miss Lanie. I wish her babies weren’t robbed of her by laziness, negligence and stupidity. I wish a lot of things. Today is my self indulgent day, the day I wallow in it. I’ll be fine tomorrow, back to normal.

Should you be raising a glass today then please think of my twins, raise a glass to them. They are wonderful people. They light up my life. And raise a glass to Lanie, a wonderful woman, my wife, the kindest and funniest person I ever met – and the most wonderful mother that never was. I see her in the twins, I see her smile, her humour, a cheeky twinkle in the eyes. She’s never far from my thoughts. As the years have rolled by I tend to remember the happy over the sad, memories of her bring smiles not tears. Today is the day I allow myself a little self indulgence and wallow in self pity. She was a drama queen too, she’d understand, and allow her grumpy boy a grumpy day.