Suzanne – Forty Years On

by barbznz

Today is Suzanne’s birthday She would have been forty. wow Forty. I can scarcely believe it. So much has changed,

Forty years ago, I was very frightened , My father and stepmother dropped me off outside the maternity annex at midnight and I walked in alone. I was wearing my stepmothers fur coat and I remember it was cold.

I had no idea what to expect. I knew where babies came from and had seen diagrams of how they came out but I really had no idea how it felt physically. The staff of course knew I was an unmarried woman, with no partner but much to my mother’s disgust they put Mrs on the form. .It was policy to stop people coming in a trying to get new mothers to give their babies up for adoption.

When she was finally born, it was obvious there was something wrong but nobody told me anything. I remember demanding to see her before I would go to sleep. I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had seen.

Now forty years on, there is a hole in my heart. There is song that talks about a hole in my heart that goes all the way to china. It does and i don’t think anyone who has lost a child would disagree with that. But with Suzanne, I lost so much more.

As much as i miss Suzanne as who she became, i also miss what she could have been. I missed the relationship that mothers and daughters build over time, the talks, serious and not, and the future planning that never happened.

Most forty year olds are mothers. She could have given me grandchildren. don’t  get me wrong, I truly love the six wonderful grandchildren I have but i am so aware that none of them belong to Suzanne.

Probably the closest to that is Ivy. Ivy’s mother was pregnant with her when Suzanne died. It was at Suzanne’s 29th birthday lunch that Simon announced we would be  grandparents. There was general shock around the table, They had only known each other for a few weeks. I was thrilled and I looked at Suzanne. She  gave me a knowing smile.   Her eyes twinkled. She was already an auntie, Caleb was four moths old and she has his picture on her wall. But it was almost as though she knew this baby would be special.
She died five months later, while we were visiting Simon in New Plymouth. I believe she choose that time because we were with her brother. Coming home and the tangi that followed was a blur. There just didn’t seem to be enough time to say good bye. But we had no choice.

When Ivy arrived, she was beautiful. I could see Suzanne in her, And when her mother left her and Simon met Cassie, I had a feeling that somehow Suzanne had arranged it. Somehow she was looking out for her niece. She knew that Ivy needed a mother and Cassie would be perfect and she is. Simon and Cassie had two more darling little girls.She would have so loved them. And their cousins..

So here I sit, tears falling thinking of my girl missing her, remembering her and thinking of all we had and all we missed.And though she is not here in body she will always be with me.

Today we are planning a family dinner. Simon and Cassie and their girls, Jenni and Glen and her three and we will remember the person missing from our family today. We will celebrate her life with joy.

I am sure it is what she would want.