Today is Father’s Day, our fourth without you. Your sister and brother are excited, E to give her dad the card she made in her next-to-last week of grade 1, M running around yelling ‘It Fawvver’s Day! It Fawvver’s Day eveweyone!” I made blueberry pancakes, and poured lots of extra syrup and laughed a lot. After, I stood at the window with my coffee and marvelled at how the trees in the park have grown so tall that over the last few years, we lose our ocean view in the summer. When you were here, we could still see the ocean past the trees.

Yesterday, your Gran and I were texting back and forth as she was sending me pictures of different pitchers wondering which one I wanted her to buy me. Then she wrote, “just heard from G.F. They’re having a baby shower on Saturday, can you make it?” These are old family friends. G’s mother died just after you did. I went to her funeral and cried and cried, for her and also so much for you. It was a release we didn’t allow ourselves after you died: ceremony, ritual, a community to say goodbye and acknowledge your life, the loss of you. I think about whether I have anything on next Saturday afternoon before I think about what it means to go to a baby shower. Another reminder of how long you’ve been gone, that I can even allow myself to consider it. In the end, I doubt I’ll go, but it wasn’t my first thought, this year. (Not going to a baby shower ended a long, important friendship for me last year, so this is a relatively new development.)

Yesterday afternoon, we went to the first birthday party of the little girl who lives across the hall from us. The party was in the park and there were so many babies there, one and two year olds. So many little ones toddling around, sitting sweetly on blankets, chasing bubbles. It didn’t bother me. I had a pang, an ache for you, my daughter who never turned one, never had a birthday party, but I didn’t feel jealous, or angry, or even really bewildered. I missed you, I noticed, I smiled and chatted with other mothers, I watched your sister blow bubbles and your brother chase them.

So, another Father’s Day without you. We will go and help at E’s school this morning where they’re putting in a garden, and we’ll have a picnic later with your grandmother and grandfather, and tonight your dad and I will watch the sun sink behind the mountains and the sky change colours and hold onto a bit of light even until we go to bed, and the sickle moon and the planets and stars will glow in that little bit of light and we will say to each other: imagine if she were here. Imagine if she were tucked into the bottom bunk in E’s room. Imagine if she had ever seen the sun set, the moon, the stars, the trees, the ocean beyond them, the mountains and their twinkling lights. Would she have liked blueberry pancakes? Would she have helped E make their blueberry faces? Would she have loved digging that garden? Would she have been a snuggler like her brother? A boss like her sister? A talker like them both? Who would she have been and what would she have liked and what would our lives be like with her here instead of gone, gone, gone where we miss her every moment even as our lives go on, busily, happily, and at last, almost even gratefully. This is the wonder of our lives: that we can live with so much sorrow and so much happiness all at once, that we had a daughter who we love with all our hearts, and about who we know so little.

But we know you were here, my girl. We know we wanted you. We know we made you part of our family as my belly grew and grew, and we planned a life with you, dreamed so many dreams for you and your sister, for all of us. We know we loved you. We know we love you still. We know we always will.