Do you remember I told you about Star Wars, Hugo? I loved to read to you. We had only a couple of books and I’d read them so many times I’d got a bit bored with them.
So, I told you the story of one of my favourite films. I’d watched them so many times when I was a little girl, and looked forward to watching them with you, too.
Both Luke Skywalker and the baddie, Darth Vader, said they could feel one another’s presence. That’s partly because they are both Jedi knights (or Darth Vader used to be before he turned to the Dark Side, anyway), and they have special powers. But then we find out that Luke is actually Darth Vader’s son.
Being a Jedi is pretty special. The Jedi share a special bond.
But it’s not as special as the bond between you and me, Hugo.
You could sense my presence when I entered the nursery. I had to wash my hands as soon as I came into the nursery, and on a couple of occasions when I paused to chat to a nurse or another mum before coming to your incubator you expressed your displeasure by dinging your alarms. You wanted your Mummy! And I wanted you.
My presence helped calm you. A touch from me, some words either spoken or sung would help make you feel a bit more settled. Skin-to-skin cuddles were even better. You should still have been in my tummy, present with me all the time, and those cuddles were the next best thing.
Daddy and I would say you were like Yoda. Not because you were green with pointy ears, but because very strong and brave you were, just like the Jedi Master.
“Size matters not…Judge me by my size, would you?” said Yoda when Luke doubts he can lift his ship from the swamp. And so it was with you, Hugo. You may have weighed no more than a tin of baked beans, but your size belied your strength and courage.
All the strength and bravery in all the universes were not enough, just like with Yoda. You left us, a year ago.
You are not physically, here, Hugo. But I can still feel your presence. Even though I constantly feel like I have forgotten something, hold a constant sense of loss, there is always a heavy feeling in my heart, there is also a sense you are always with me. Always present.
You are part of the energy of the universe. Or, Yoda would describe it as the Force, of course:
For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.
It’s a funny old world, Hugo. I chose your name from a baby name website. The name leapt out at me, intuitively I knew it was the perfect name for you. ‘Bright in mind and spirit’ it means, and it suits you perfectly.
Daddy and I were not to know how your name would ensure you made your presence be felt after you were gone, though. Your nurses nicknamed you Hugo Boss because of your feisty determination; I’d not considered the reference to the designer but again, it was perfect. That means that seeing Hugo Boss branding has the power to stop me in my tracks. The branding is there anyway, of course, but it now has such a special resonance. The other day a mention of Hugo Boss in a book I was reading took my breath away for a moment. I am trying to see these things as a sign of your presence.
Daddy and I like science fiction. Not just films like Star Wars, but science fiction books, too. Did you know that a prize given for science fiction books is called the Hugo award?
All of this relates to the symbol we have for you, Hugo – the star. The star came about because I sang ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’ to you so often. It’s also because you are our special star. Daddy and I like to think you are having adventures among the stars, getting up to all sorts of mischief no doubt. Playing with all the other babies in the stars, but looking down on us too. We call you our Star Boy.
That’s why I cried when I watched Guardians of the Galaxy. The man’s Mummy had written him a letter saying he was her Star Boy, and that she was sure he was having adventures in the stars.
Your presence is everywhere, Hugo.
I always appreciated nature, but now the birds, the bees, the flowers and the trees are extra special. Your spirit flows through them all, their colours shine brighter because they make me think of you.
We have stars, symbols of you in every room of the house, to mark your presence even though you never physically lived here. Your hand and footprints on the star necklace I wear around my neck.
How much I wish you were present with me, so I could feel your strong grip, feel your warm little body, smell your skin.
All that remains of your physical presence are your little woollen hats (one of them goes with me everywhere). They still carry your smell. So, so precious. A lock of your hair, so rich and dark. Your hand and footprints. Photographs. So few things. But nothing would ever be enough.
It is a year tomorrow since you left us, Hugo. It is a year since the worst day of my entire life. Your physical presence left us. But your spirit will never die.
Your presence remains in your spirit, in your legacy, in how much everyone admires this beautiful little boy.
With all my love always (I love you to the moon and back a million times),