Spring has long been a favourite season. The days get gradually longer, the first flowers start to bud, the birds tweet away more brightly. At last, an end in sight to the cold, short days and long nights of winter.
This spring carries bittersweet feelings.
When I was admitted to hospital in mid-February 2014, it was freezing outside. I was dressed for the weather in a big coat, scarf and hat. When I was discharged just two weeks later, spring was already in full swing. The temperature was much milder, blossom was on the trees. The grounds of the hospital where Hugo and I were cared for are very well-tended with displays of beautiful flowers that I enjoyed looking at. No longer being an inpatient, being able to go outside, feel the sunshine on my skin and see flowers was wonderful. The simple things.
In addition, I had recently become a mum, to the most incredible little boy.
Spring is about new life. I had brought a new life in to the world. Far too early, but we were so hopeful of bringing Hugo home, eventually. Spring 2014 had brought us a different, new kind of life.
Whenever I left Hugo, I would tell him where I was going, and when I returned I would tell him where I had been and what I had seen. I described to him the daffodils, crocuses, tulips and blossom: resplendent in their kaleidoscope of colour. The flowers seemed to me to represent hope.
The daffodil became another symbol for Hugo: bright, vibrant, loved by everyone – and when seen from behind, they can look like stars.
It is common, I understand, for the bereaved to find symbolism in every day things. We returned home the day after Hugo died, and in the garden we found three daffodils: two tall flowers, flourishing and in front a shorter one, wilted. It represented our situation perfectly.
Time was spent sprucing up our garden, filling it with an array of brightly-coloured flowers in tribute to Hugo.
Our floral tribute at Hugo’s funeral was a magnificent star comprised of yellow crystanthemums. I always make sure Hugo’s grave garden has flowers on it, whether they are fresh flowers or flowering plants. Bright, colourful flowers are a way of showing our love for our son, and representing his personality.
This spring, I have seen the daffodils, crocuses and tulips growing with mixed feelings. Part of my mind relishes the range of beautiful colours, wants to stop and admire the flowers. And I do, I admire them, enjoy them, photograph them.
But it’s not the same.
Another part of my mind is reminded with the arrival of spring of the hope we had last spring. The flowers I described to my little boy, and was looking forward to showing him in real life. This spring is a reminder that we have only grief, no new little life.
When passing daffodils, though, I try to let them make me smile.
A cluster of bright yellow stars.
Hugo saying hello.