On your due date
This post is best read while listening to ‘Pictures of you’ by The Cure.
Today is the 1st of November, and your due date. I have made it here, without you, at the end of the roughest and most emotional year of my life. I will try to explain how this is making me feel, and how much I miss you and hate the fact that we had to part. I am sitting in what was meant to be your room – it’s very small but very cosy, there’s a huge Bruce Springsteen poster on the wall (to protect you from the evil monsters, you know), a few of the watercolours I painted for you, and your gorgeous memory box. This is the most peaceful part of our home, and I like to sit here and think. Today, more than ever, I think about you and our journey together.
I remember very vividly taking a series of (super early, I must admit) pregnancy tests way before my period was even due, back in mid-February of this year. When, finally, they showed positive, I cried tears of pure joy, hugging your dad who was heating up croissants in the oven and making tea. We had already had one, huge heartache and were subconsciously, and naively, certain that this time would be the right time – our time to finally become a little family. We told quite a few people, aside from our families – we just felt like we needed all the love and support that we could get.
One of the first things I did, when I found out I was expecting you, was calculate my due date: please, don’t get offended when I say I was a bit upset to discover that it would fall on the 1st of November! In many parts of the world (including Italy), today is All Saints Day: I spent countless 1st of November mornings being driven by my parents from one cemetery to another, and then another, and then another, to finally come home in the late-afternoon drizzle and fog and lock myself in my bedroom listening to some emo music. Not the most joyful day of the year, you know! Today, as it almost always happens on the 1st of November, the rain is falling and the sky feels bleak and heavy.
I remember telling Daniel about my due date disappointment – with a laugh, of course – and he was prompt to reply that it was, in fact, a good thing that you would be born around this time: you would have turned a normally dull, gloomy day into the best day of our lives. I hugged him and said he was right. He is (almost) always right, and always so positive and hopeful. Oh, Luca, you would have loved your dad so much.
When they discovered your heart condition, the doctors mentioned that they wouldn’t let me go to full term. I would need to deliver you a couple of weeks earlier, in order for them to perform surgery on you as quickly as possible. To give you the best chance, you know. For just a second, though, can we imagine that you were a healthy baby? I’ve always loved to daydream, but life hasn’t allowed me any of that in the past year. I want to picture a joyful, straight-forward pregnancy. No fetal medicine units, just one hospital instead of a series of different clinics, only a bunch of scans, happy doctors and relaxed appointments, going to prenatal yoga and pilates classes, meeting other mums-to-be for coffee, buying you lots of cute clothes, books, toys, painting the walls of your nursery, throwing a baby shower and excitedly preparing for your arrival.
My mum and dad were planning to stay with us in London for a few weeks to help and spend some time with their precious, beautiful, first grandson. You would have loved our trips to Piacenza, my sleepy but gorgeous hometown, there was so much love there waiting for you: my brother and his girlfriend (and their two awesome dogs!), my cousins, aunts, uncles, and a very long list of fantastic friends. My best friends Paola, Ilaria, and Giulia couldn’t wait to cuddle you. My brother-from-another-mother, Roberto, was already calling himself your uncle. My amazing friend (and a sort of little brother to me) Andrea and his partner Giuseppe would have bought you the sweetest and funniest presents. I genuinely can’t mention everyone because there are just too many people who were so, so eager for you to arrive safe and sound! Even the very few friends I have in London were over the moon when I told them about you. You would have been such a loved and lucky little boy, and you know what? You would have learnt a bit of Spanish too, on playdates with my gorgeous Spanish friend Elena and Argentinian friend Abi, where we chat for hours in their native language. Maybe you would have been a tiny bit confused: English, Italian, Spanish… I was really hoping you would have loved languages, just like your mum, but who knows! Dad would have probably been pleased with you supporting Arsenal and listening to hip hop, I guess, whilst I would have been frantically trying to steer you towards rock and punk music (only kidding!). I couldn't wait for you to be old enough to take you to an Idles concert and meet Joe, the singer, and a friend to me now.
Instead, there will be no playdates in Spanish, no Arsenal games, no hip hop or rock concerts, no trips to Piacenza, no cuddles with our family and friends. Nothing. Instead, I am here now with the biggest and most overwhelming feeling of emptiness and powerlessness, trying to mend my broken heart, to navigate this impossible maternity leave without you, and to be hopeful for the future.
I promise you I’ll take it easy and be gentle with myself today. I am already receiving so much love from both old and new friends, from my family and from your dad. We are treating ourselves to a lovely dinner out tonight, and we’ll raise a glass to you and talk about you incessantly. Also, I will stop listening to The Cure now, because it is definitely not helping my mood and these tears will never stop if I keep hearing Robert Smith’s voice!
I love you, Luca.