7 July 12
We buried Elijah Rainbow today.
In a private ceremony at the local cemetery, I watched the small coffin holding my only son be lowered into the ground. I was surrounded by family members from both sides of the family plus one dear friend — Ree — who had been the sole bridesmaid at David’s and my wedding almost fifteen years ago.
I didn’t have anything planned for the burial, and simply asked my dad to MC the short event. He invited anyone to speak, and we heard words of encouragement and some songs, including my lullaby for Elijah and an original composition by my sister-in-law in London. Brioni sang “I can sing a rainbow” along with Aunty Gwenda, and I just stared at the coffin.
I never previously imagined that I would be standing there, saying good-bye to the one I cherished so deeply. It is just so wrong to be watch your child’s body be buried in a small hole.
I thought we had a future together! I have boxes of boys’ clothing in larger sizes waiting now in vain. There’s a train-set in storage that I imagined Elijah playing with. I had already started worrying whether Elijah’s girlfriends would be able to connect with me!
I foresaw the arrival of Elijah in a vision when I was nineteen and yet remained oblivious to his premature death. But if I did know in advance that I would hold my precious baby boy for less than seven months, I wouldn’t have done much different,
I wrote “THE MOST LOVED BABY BOY IN THE WORLD” on Ellijah’s coffin-lid, for that was his reality. He was an extraordinarily smiley baby as he reflected the love and adoration he received from his family — especially his four sisters.
Our parenting style with Elijah was different than with our four daughters. We were attachment parents with Elijah where we had been routine-based with the girls. And this means that I am confident I held him enough, cuddled him when he desired closeness, listened to his breathing next to me at night and responded to his simple demands.
He was uncircumcised, unimmunised and untainted — allowed to simply be. What a pure existence — I just wish I had known him for longer!
Dare I question how such sorrow entered into my life? Yet I know that I must be the calibre of a woman who can withstand this grief and loss, else this experience would not have been given to me.
All those years of separating from my parents as I went to boarding school have taught me how to handle the grief that seems overwhelming. The sorrow I felt as a child has been formative in shaping my parenting ethos, and now I can see that the mental skills I perfected at an early age will serve me well at this time.
For I have a life to live, and four other lives to guide in a path of love and hope. So I buried my only son today, but our lives continue, and as a smaller family unit, we move into the next phase of our sparkling adventures together.