by MATT SILVESTER
“You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have” – Author Unknown
29 September 2010 is a day we will never forget. Our lives changed forever. Our whole world was turned upside down when our son Samuel was stillborn at 36 weeks term. Samuel’s umbilical cord got tied in a true knot and he had cut off his own oxygen supply. The pregnancy had been completely normal up to this point to with no complications at all. Losing Samuel was devastating to our family and friends and I clearly remember thinking at the time, “If we can get through this we can get through anything.”
Today we will be celebrating Samuel’s second birthday. It’s hard to know how to spend the day. We could hide indoors feeling sorry for ourselves or we could go out and face the world. Should we have birthday cake to celebrate? We couldn’t bring ourselves to buy a cake for his first birthday. Last year we celebrated Samuel’s birthday by releasing balloons from a bridge over a lake at a local park. We went to a party shop and all chose balloons to release.
Our eldest son Oliver (8) chose a balloon with soccer balls all over it “because I would have taught Samuel how to play soccer.” Thomas (6) chose a bright orange balloon with stars “because Samuel is up in heaven near the stars.” My wife Alison and I both chose balloons with butterflies on them. We had released balloons at Samuel’s funeral so it seemed a fitting way to celebrate and butterflies have come to symbolise Samuel. I am sure we will do the same again this year.