One Year Ago Today...

Amelia Iris Forster 31/10/12 to 26/01/13
It is a year ago today that we had the funeral for our daughter, Millie. It was about three weeks after she died, due to the necessity of an autopsy, and it was on the Friday of my first week at work in my new job.

It was a strange and emotional day. We went to view the body in the morning, which I wish we had avoided, as seeing her lying there in her coffin... well, it wasn't our daughter. I could barely look at the body, and my tears flowed freely. I had thought it would give us closure, but all it did was remind us of what we had lost, and with hindsight I would've preferred to remember her as we saw her at the hospital.

The funeral itself was full of people and relatives we hadn't seen in an age. My childhood friend Phil managed to attend, and I hadn't seen him in years. It felt good to see so many faces, and the support they lent us was beyond anything I could've wished for.

I carried the coffin in. I didn't want anyone else to do it. I had to fight back the tears as I did, because I knew that if I lost control then, that was it, I'd be a hopeless wreck for the rest of the day. I kept my tears for later, when we were alone.

The funeral itself was as good as these things can be. My dad gave an excellent and moving eulogy, as there was no way that I was going to be able to say anything. I just didn't have the words; Lorraine wrote a lovely passage, but she too wasn't able to stand up there and say them out loud; it was just too painful.

Then came the wake, in a pub/restaurant in Ruislip. That was an oddly cheerful afternoon. We both did our best to be attentive hosts; I have no idea how you are meant to be at these things, nor does anything prepare you for holding the wake of your own daughter, but we talked to just about everyone, made sure they were ok, chatted to friends we hadn't seen for ages.

Afterwards people told us it felt more like a wedding reception than a wake, because we were such good hosts, and put a smile on our faces. Inside, of course, we were both devastated, but sometimes you need to put on a brave face in order to make it through the days.

There are days when it feels like it only happened yesterday. We moved house recently and last weekend, as I relocated our daughter's ashes, I broke down into tears, great sobs that I haven't had since she died. Whether it was the emotions built up from moving to a new place to start afresh, or the accumulation of anniversaries, I don't know, but I cried my little heart out. Guess I needed it.

And there are some days when it seems like such a long time ago. Days when it feels like it never happened at all, or that it was just some horrible nightmare and any minute now I'll wake up and it will all be perfect and Millie will be there all healthy and strong and alive. Other days I feel like life will never turn out the way we wished, or that we're just plopping along until it is all over.

Some days suck more than others. Today is one of them.


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