5 Years

5 Years Later

"Hi EJ,

It’s hard to be standing here today. 
To just think, that 5 Years ago at nearly this very time
I was putting you down for your sleep,
for the very last time.
5 years EJ, but it all still feels like yesterday.
 I hurt beyond what words could ever say,
I miss you so much each and every day.
I always said you were my long negotiation EJ,
Another little baby and a MCFC season ticket for life for your dad,
Since that 3rd of March
I’ve tried so very hard,
To use the negotiations skills I thought I had,
To argue my point, to make it not be true, to bring you back.
Then all this pain would go, and we would no longer be so sad.
There is so much that my heart wants to say,
So here are a few words I wanted to say today,
Just so you know how much we all still truly love you.
And how you are embedded in our hearts in everything we do.
As I said, you were my ‘long negotiation’ EJ.  Your big brother and sister made me feel so great being a mum, that I was just a bit selfish I guess and I wanted another one.  And so on the 27th May 2010, right on cue – cheeky rascal Elliot John joined the Kerslake family.  Your safe arrival in the world made me remember how lucky I was and that being a mum was just the most amazing thing in the world.  But it is something that no one really can ever prepare you for.  No amount of books, classes or even the experience of others – can ever truly prepare you for impact of the immense love, intensity of emotions and just a deep rooted bond that goes right to the core of you when your kids arrive.  It goes so deep and embeds into everything you do, your thoughts, your emotions, hopes and dreams. 
So 5 years ago when I put you down for your sleep and you never woke up EJ, our hearts just shattered into millions of tiny pieces.  Just as no one can truly prepare you for being a mum – nothing can ever, ever help you to understand how you can put your son for a sleep but that he never wakes up.  It felt that we entered a different world, kept hoping that it was all an horrendous dream and soon we would wake.  And our lives would be as they were.  But as the years have moved on, the reality is starting to seep into my heart, that sadly this isnt a dream, you have really gone. I can’t turn the clocks back, I can’t relive that day and have a different ending, no matter how much I have tried and believe me EJ, I have truly tried.
But standing here today EJ, I can tell you that those deep roots of immense love and emotions have kept growing for you.  Just because we can’t have you here by our side, in our daily lives – it doesn’t mean we don’t carry you with us each and every day in whatever we do.  We are so lucky to have an overflowing bank of memories, experiences and the ‘oh Elliot’ moments that will always be with us.
Do you remember the last time we went swimming?  Your brother and sister went with their friends to the big pool and I took you in the toddler pool.  Did my usual quick Elliot proof scan, some steps leading to a small slide, few toys, very shallow – ok even this should be safe for EJ I thought – what could he possible get up to?  First few minutes yep – up the steps and down the slide – you loved it.  Then you started to try different ways to get up the slide, then totally ignoring the steps and the slide but instead trying to dive head first off the barriers at the top.  I kept following you round, trying to stop you squeezing through the gaps and dangling off the edges.  There was a member of pool staff who just stood watching you – and the hapless me trying to keep up, just smiling and shaking her head.  ‘I’ve never seen a child do anything like that before’ she said – I said ‘you haven’t met Elliot before’.  And that was you – from driving a boat on Lake Windermere (how many people can say they’ve been in a boat driven by a 2 year old), climbing up the bunk beds by standing on a small table, then tiny feet onto the window sill, then the top bunk – and jumping off – again with hapless mum trying to stop you, or sitting on my knee in the car and asking for the car keys – sure I think I’m here, what could go wrong.  How sweet I think as you know where the keys go, less that 5 seconds later, you’ve put the key into the ignition and turned it on and your hand was heading for the handbrake! 
Life was a challenge and to be explored and definitely to be lived to the full by you EJ and that has given us such a richness of priceless memories.
So when you left us 5 years ago today EJ, we knew that your love and spirit would never go away.  We’ve tried to keep it going through your legacy.  Elliot’s Footprint is our way of sharing your love and connection with people.  You had many friends in life, both young and old.   It makes us proud that so many people have come to share in your memorial today EJ.   We have been so thankful for all the support of our amazing friends who have been on our journey with us since that fateful day.  Through your legacy we have also met many new people along the way - some amazing people who I am sure you would have charmed EJ.  Whether they have fundraised in your memory, helped us ensure support is there for others or who have guided us when times have been hard – they are here in your name EJ and that makes us incredibly proud, proud of everything your life was and still is about.
So I know you will be looking down and you’ll be so proud of your big brother, soon be playing for Yorkshire Cricket I reckon EJ, I love how we sometimes the tiny rainbow shafts of light over his cricket cames sometimes, we know you are there cheering him on.  But it also makes us smile as the light looks like you’ve broken a bit of the rainbow – so you EJ.   And I know you’ll be proud of your sister heading off to Uni and learning to drive – and yes she still reminds me of the time I drove into the tree!  And your dad – I know you’re spirit is there everytime he crosses that line of the runs he has done – half marathan next EJ, give him a huge hug from heaven after that one. 
It is amazing what you packed into your short 33 months of life.  You took the ‘cheeky rascal requirement’ to a whole new level.  We have an incredible amount of amazing memories and experiences that we shared with you that help us still to smile, to laugh, to remember, to love and to continue. 
Your love and spirit is still around.  We will always love you more than words can ever say.