Not for me, not for us. It's the month I dread, the month that comes all too quickly as a reminder that we are another year in, another year without him.
We are decade without Alexander on the 9th of February, it sounds such a long time, 10 years!
February is the month I live with a knot in my stomach, a kind of nervousness as I relive those days over in my mind. It's not a conscious thing, my mind does it unwillingly, like I'm susceptible and it takes advantage.
I can see those days so clearly at times it feels like it was only a couple of years ago, but then I look at what we've done in that time, I've blinked and they've gone. The boys are all growing up and moving onto new things, that's a challenge in itself, seeing those changes and how amazing they are doing, needing me less and less.
Someone asked me recently how I feel now compared to then and it's hard question to answer. I don't feel quite so raw and the grief isn't all consuming. It's a different kind of pain, a different kind of grief. I suppose I've lived with it so long it's become a part of who I am and I've learned to live with it, learned to laugh with it. I can still be caught unawares though, not because I forget but because I've learned to function with it.
I've become a master at hiding my feelings and creating projects to take my mind off it, hence The Ball. It's a way to channel all that heartache into something so incredible and to step into that space on the night and see it fill up with hundreds of people is overwhelming. They are there for us, they are there to help us remember and keep Alexander alive in our hearts and minds. I'm incredibly sad that this is the last one for a while and I'm already a little scared for February 2018 but Alexander's legacy will live on and who knows what we might get up to next year!
Thank You to every single person who has helped us over the last 10 years, everything you have done has helped shape us as a family, you may think it's a small effort but to us it's the world.
I'd like to ask a favour ...
On the 9th February this year, if you are able, please light a candle for him.
Alexander Robert Richardson 24/09/05 - 09/02/07