The Fourth Day of Summer

Kooky (adjective): Strange or eccentric

I should have written this blog immediately after Summer’s birthday, but life – it’s busy. Which pretty much sums up how Summer’s 4th birthday felt this year actually. There wasn’t a lot of time to sit around and think, feel or indeed, feel sad.

It was still the usual mixed bag of emotions (not least because Summer’s birthday immediately preceded Mother’s Day this year – weird weekend), but it was finally a year where it all felt a lot lighter – a welcome change – no doubt due to the fact that we have a one year old to literally chase around. She never sits still.

Some things never change though, and in particular: the signs. It’s not that I’m perpetually on the lookout, rather that I’m open to seeing them. Where others would call the “signs” coincidences, I just FEEL that it’s something more than that. I know that sounds kooky, but I don’t mind. Kooky, spooky – call it what you will.

Someone once asked me if I think Summer’s soul has come back to us, via Ellissa. It’s not an offensive question; I know lots of people who believe this could happen and I was somewhat open to it, but my answer is no. I don’t know how to explain this in a non-kooky way, but when I look into Ellissa’s eyes, she is not Summer. My soul contract with my two daughters, differs –  and that’s the best way I can explain it.

Since Ellissa’s been born however, I have repeatedly had the distinct feeling that Summer has been telling me that it’s okay to let go and to let another in (in fact, I felt this throughout my pregnancy with Ellissa – the case of the perpetually disappearing bookmark, is a tale for another day!).

People see their babies in many differing ways, but I feel Summer particularly speaks to me via my books. Since Ellissa has been born, Summer has consistently included Ellissa in this. The first example was that the first book I read after she was born had a section called Elle (Ellissa’s early nickname), followed later by a section entitled This Summer. Later that year, the first book I read without Summer’s name featuring (rare!), contained an Elissa instead. Prior to Ellissa’s birth, her name never featured in my books at all. Some may say this is a coincidence, meaningless, or that I’m now on the lookout for Ellissa – but that’s not true. I’ve been on the lookout for Ellissa’s name and variations of it for 18 years – yet I didn’t see them until I was pregnant with her, until it was mine and Summer’s thing.

I know it doesn’t sound like much, but when this stuff happens, it’s accompanied by a feeling of both awe and peace. And so, kooky as it sounds, it reinforces my beliefs about where Summer is now, the role she plays and where Ellissa fits in to all this too (AKA my spiritual “mumbo jumbo” belief system).

Given all this, I wasn’t surprised that it was Ellissa that pointed out the majority of signs of Summer on her birthday, highlighting her presence, just as Summer so frequently does for her (this is the first time I’ve made that connection – this is why I LOVE writing. It’s the best way for me to think).

So here were my kooky/spooky signs:

  1. In the days leading up to Summer’s birthday, Ellissa formed a new favourite habit – picking up a framed photo we have of Summer and another of my Dad (also deceased) and walking around with them both, clutched to her chest (often resulting in James sternly saying “put your sister back!” with me trying not to chuckle too much) – it’s like she knew it was a special time.
  2. On Summer’s fourth birthday I only managed to read 4 pages of my book. On one of them, Summer’s name appeared
  3. I had some time to myself on the morning of Summer’s birthday, while James took Ellissa out to her football class. I had just finished a little cry from flicking through my photos and videos of Summer, when they got home. The night before, I had unknowingly put on my “hello Summer” tshirt as a pyjama top. When Ellissa came so say hello to me, though she’s seen it many times before, she couldn’t help but admire my tshirt. She kept stroking the letters of Summer’s name, before eventually giving the “Summer” a kiss. She then started fiddling with my Summer necklace (again, something I wear regularly), it was such an overt display on such a poignant day, it felt like an obvious message from both my daughters, showing me their agreed manner of coexistence.
  4. Now this is the weirdest one: Ellissa is a good sleeper and has been sleeping through since she was 3-4 months old. She does wake in the night, but before 4am is rare. On the night of Summer’s birthday, Ellissa woke me at precisely 12.45am in need of comfort. Granted this was technically the next day – but it was still the exact time that I believe Summer was born (as I mentioned in this blog here, Summer’s birth time was never officially recorded, but a sign on her 2nd birthday made me re-evaluate it). I count this as the best Mother’s day present ever.

4th birthday, 4 signs.

I do realise that these might not actually be signs of anything, other than the fact that I still think of and remember my first born. And if that’s the case, I welcome that too. As you can probably imagine, there’s a lot of guilt that comes alongside a day like a birth-death/day feeling lighter this year. I don’t want it to always feel light, but it can’t always be so heavy either.

So as always, a HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed to the day. I never know if anyone will remember Summer’s birthday alongside us, but as has become the tradition, birthday wishes and photos flooded in for Summer, from all over the world. We unexpectedly now have enough for a fourth standalone scrapbook – so thank you for that, it’s not something I take for granted. These photos really are the kindest gift on a difficult day.

The whole selection of photographs can be found on Instagram here, but if that link fails, you can access them by clicking on this icon from my home page too:

Fourth Day of Summer photos

Another year has passed. Another blog. Another sunny “First day of Summer“.

And so this store of memory grows.

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