Updated: Jul 16, 2020
So it was Lauren's birthday on Sunday, and, in the morning, I could feel the burden of it. The week had been difficult, for one reason or another, and I had hoped that when we got to her actual birthday it would get easier. I was drawing on my previous experience of events when that had happened. But it wasn't the case this time. I suppose this is the first celebration that had been completely about Lauren. We'd done fathers day, mothers days and other family birthdays, but there was no escaping her absence for this one.
At the start of the day I really felt that I was not going to get through it. It is hard to put into words the feelings as I'm not sure the words exist. I guess despair would be a reasonable description. It's like that feeling. the split second, when you knock over a glass or drop a plate, and in shock and panic you struggle to catch it. But the feeling, that shock and panic, doesn't just last a split second it goes on and on and on.....
My son, Lauren's younger brother, also had a bad morning. He misses her so much and there is nothing anyone can do to help. All we can do is be there for him, be honest and keep Lauren's memory alive. I think that trying to help him brought me out of my despondency somewhat. We all kept busy doing random jobs getting ready for Lauren's birthday BBQ. I feel like I may never be able to sit still again.
About an hour before our friends came round I was regretting inviting them. Our son had now fallen into a fitful sleep in his room, and all I wanted to do was hide away. I didn't feel like I could function. But just to prove that what you think you want is not always what you need, having our friends over was the best thing we could of done.
The sun shone, we BBQ'd, drank, talked about everything form Lauren to childhood sports teams, we cried and we laughed. Lauren sprinkled her love of fun on the event and the kids reverted to childhood games of hide and seek and nerf warfare. My son had appeared from his room with the onset of guests and both of Lauren's siblings were happily involved in all the action. At the end of the day they wrote messages to Lauren on balloons and tied them to the Arbour.
In the early evening when everyone had gone home, we sat round the fire as a family toasting marshmallows to make s'mores. Lauren would have loved the day.
The next day I went for a walk with Chris. The rain had returned and I was wondering if my decision to walk 5k a day for Alderhey was such a wise one. But then at the side of the road we saw a balloon. I knew that Lauren's friends were meeting up to celebrate her birthday. They must of released a balloon for her as there, at the side of the country road, partially hidden in the grass verge, was a balloon written on with messages for Lauren. I carried it with me for the rest of the walk (yes I did get a few strange looks) and added it to the arbour when we got home. With the risk of sounding like crazy cat woman (again) it's hard not to take some divinity from that....