Happy Birthday, Daniel

Just another day

It’s the 1st of February. Not much is happening for me today, Wednesday’s are pretty uneventful.  The world outside is just the same, I can see Tesco from my flat, people sweat as they stumble along the street having overestimated the amount of shopping they can carry. Cars are rushing along in a hurried fashion. The university’s infamously erratic bus service has just pulled away leaving a few students running desperately behind it.You know how it is.  However, there is something a little about today for me, for my family.

About Daniel

17 years ago today a gorgeous baby boy was born in the Valleys of South Wales. Can I tell you a little about him? Daniel (affectionately known as Danny) was blonde, had bright blue eyes and looked a little like myself and Kate I guess, Jolly through and through. Danny wasn’t your average baby though, he had Downs syndrome. Aside from this and not linked to his condition he was also extremely ill, his tiny body full of a myriad of problems including a heart condition. Honestly, I don’t really think of these things when I recall Danny though, I mostly remember how much 3 yr old me loved him unconditionally with his little crinkled pink face.

What might have been

Danny might have been a fine football player. He might have had a Welsh accent, a really nice one and I might have phoned him up just to hear its melodious ring. Danny might have been tall and broad, he might have been devilishly handsome with a ravishing smile and sparkly blue eyes. Danny might have been (although this is probably certain) sarcastic, just like the rest of our family.I also have this incline that he might have been the biggest comedian of us all. Danny might have been blunt and put me in my place whenever I was out of line, which I’d be grateful of. Danny might have been very sweet and kind hearted, selfless and loving. Danny might have been completely different to anything I’ve imagined him to be.

What would have been

For all these things that might have been, I can say with absolute certainty that Danny and Joe would have had that inseverable brotherly bond and Joe would have been his protector. I also know that Danny would have been the person to fill the extra seat in our people carrier, another hand to help with dishes; another body to squeeze into our rare family photos; another place to set at the table and another bedroom to consider when purchasing a house. Furthermore, he would have certainly been so very ill, in an insurmountable amount of pain, spent many hours in the hospital and the longevity of his life might not have stretched to merely 17 years. However, Danny never was a fine footballer, a kind-hearted boy or an extra hand for the dishes because he never got a chance to be. One-day-old Danny couldn’t fight it anymore, closed his eyes to rest and would never open them again.

The longing

Please understand me when I say I am so thankful that Danny is now at peace, in eternal rest. I know one day I will be reunited with him and I know that he is without pain but…there will always be that earthly, human longing of “Lord I know he’s safe in your arms but that doesn’t take away the painful longing of wishing he were safe here in my arms”. There is a void, especially in my parent’s hearts and lives where they wish their little boy could be.

I love the way C.S. Lewis so sensitively describes the process of grief:

For in grief nothing “stays put.” One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral?

But if a spiral, am I going up or down it?

How often — will it be for always? — how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, “I never realized my loss till this moment”? The same leg is cut off time after time.”
C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Grief’s a strange thing

So ostensibly today is just another Wednesday. I will do the tasks I have to do, think the thoughts I so often do but every now and again…I will stop and wonder. I will wonder what flavour birthday cake would have been his favourite; if he’d have had a crazy party; would Dad have taken him out to have a whirl in the car? Would he have liked my present? Would I have been able to see him in person, or would it have been a Skype job? I’ll never know.

It’s never been a question of whether our family might have loved Danny because even today our love still grows for him. It’s more a question of what life might have been like had Danny been with us. We continue to trust in a sovereign God and his divine providence, we humans may never be able to comprehend His plans whilst here on earth.

Thank you, Danny, for making such an impact with your one cherished day on earth. I do wish I could give you the biggest of hugs…one day I will.

Happy Birthday precious baby brother!

‘I thank my God in all my remembrance of you’ Philippians 1 v 3.

From your big sis, Abigail



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