On Wednesday 15th March, we paid a very fitting tribute to our precious baby that was taken from our lives early due to anencephaly.
Not wishing for his little life to be mourned, nor a constant sad reminder of our loss, we decided to celebrate Arran’s short but much loved and wanted life in a positive and happy way. We also felt this would be the best way for his older brothers to remember Arran and say goodbye peacefully.
We planted a tree in the garden, in a spot chosen by us all, secluded yet constantly exposed to the sunshine, overlooking the hills and horizon, and the fields beside us that would be bursting with sunflowers later this year. The tree we chose was a crab apple, because we had been reassured by good friends that this tree blossoms nearly all year round, and when it is not bearing fruit, it beams with beautiful flowers. A constant symbol of life.
Beside it we placed a gorgeous wooden bench we had bought especially, so that we could all sit by the tree, admire the views and feel close to Arran, and to one another.
We have been spoilt and lavished in the kindness of others recently, including two wonderful women, one of whom had made us two beautiful handmade plaques she had carved from wood, with Arran’s name and date of birth engraved. The other was a beautiful wooden sign with “Arran’s Tree” marked upon it which was attached to a steak which we planted in the ground beside the crab apple. The boys decorated the tree with hanging ornaments such as a bird and the letter “A”. Kerr placed a windmill in the soil next to the tree which gently spun throughout the afternoon.
It was a beautiful day. The sun beamed down and there was not a cloud in the sky. A perfect day for our celebration.
Along with my mum and two sets of very close friends who have supported us unconditionally this past month, we gathered around the tree, and I read my poem, “After the Storm” which I had written for Arran just days before he was born. I found it a lot harder to read than I originally had thought it would. I guess until that moment I had never read the poem aloud, and my voice cracked as I relived the emotion of every word as it left my mouth… and my heart.
There was no time to dwell on my emotions, as my son’s were very excited about the dozen green helium filled balloons tied to the bench which we were to release into the sky. Green being the colour of anencephaly awareness, but also the colour of life and new beginnings. I loved how my sons’ sadness had been transformed into joy with the simple aid of balloons and was pleased that their memories of their brother Arran would be pleasant and uplifting, just like that of the balloons we were about to let go.
As I played Ed Sheeran’s “All of the Stars” we each took a balloon and let them soar into the sky, and we hugged as we watched for what seemed like forever, as they floated higher and higher until we could see them no more.
“Arran will have fun playing with those balloons,” Kerr said to me. His innocence and wonder of life inspires me.
We opened a bottle of champagne and toasted Arran. It was a beautiful send off for our beautiful Angel.
I never wanted our memories of Arran to be of pain, or loss or despair. Arran’s little life has touched us positively in so many ways. It has shown us the deep compassion and love of others, even those we have never met. It has opened our eyes to the wonders of everything around us, including healthcare, fertility, nature, the power of words and music and gratitude for the simplest of things we so often take for granted. It has opened our hearts to love, and has rekindled and ignited flames deep within us which had almost gone out. It has bought us closer as a family.
Arran was a blessing and as such, will be remembered with deep fondness, joy and most of all – love.
Soar high my Angel, and until the day I can once again hold you in my arms, I will hold you deep within my heart xxx