Bazil’s Day is the day I delivered our full term baby boy, Bazil – March 24, 2009. It is the one full day a year that we take together to honor and remember his life. It is a day full of love, joy, celebration and being fully present. We don’t sit inside and cry all day. We celebrate life – his life and our life. We laugh. We bake a cake in his honor (and we gobble it up in his honor). We spend the morning in the ROM (when the Spirit House room was active it was a big hit). We have an afternoon tea party in the cemetery – snow, sunshine or freezing rain (like today!). We write him letters after dinner. And when tears come for me, they are felt and welcomed just as much as the laughter.
A few days ago, I said to my 11 yr old (who doesn’t like missing school yet has already missed more than normal this past winter for Friday ski race training), that she didn’t need to feel she had to miss school for Bazil’s day this year. She quickly, gently and firmly confirmed that she would be missing school for Bazil’s day. I could tell that ‘not missing school’ wasn’t an option in her mind.
I find the week leading up to Bazil’s Day a bit heavier. It always takes me back to 2009 and to how my life changed, forever, in the blink of an eye. Though, I’ve learned to welcome that weight – those strong feelings and emotions, because it makes me feel closer to him. If you think about how some believe thinking of those who have died brings their soul to wherever we are, then feeling closer to him at these times makes sense. Yes the pain has lessened, but it will never fully go away. Grief doesn’t end, it changes. You don’t ‘move on’ from losing someone or ‘get over it’, you move forward. How you move forward is what’s important. There will always be a little hole in my heart and that’s ok. Because the hole belongs to Bazil. It’s his. I don’t want to fill it. I worked hard with my grief work after 2009 to fill the rest, and it’s full of love, a deep joy and gratitude. (Perhaps it’s comforting, to think that he literally owns a piece of my heart.)
On holidays or Bazil’s Day we often get something for him, just to have around the house. In 2013, Ella suggested we hang his silk in a hammock on Bazil’s wall (an area we have to honour him in our house with photos, things the kids make, sea shells, etc..) so that “his spirit can come rest in it at night, whenever it wants”. I loved her suggestion. We hung it in the shape of a hammock on Bazil’s Day that year. Here is part of the letter she wrote that day:
March 24, 2013
You turned four today. Your little red mark is one thing that makes you special. “Daza” is Jemima’s special name for you. Come lie in your hammock, and you will be warm, because your hammock is made of silk… Little Bazie, you are cute.
Love: Ella (AGE 8)
Celebrating Bazil’s day every year teaches the kids that it’s ok to talk about someone who has died. How important it is to always feel what they are feeling and to express themselves. Some of what we do in the day, like writing letters, provides the kids with an outlet for any sadness or grief they may be feeling. It teaches them to honor and remember the dead, and to feel joy while doing this; and to accept death and not fear death. To keep an open mind and heart as to ways a person is always with us after he or she dies. Being present in this way, one full day a year, helps us to be grateful for all that we have in life. How lucky we are to have each other. How good life is. How fragile life is. Bazil’s Day reminds us to step out of our minds and our busy lives and to remember, and cherish all that life gives us. It is an example of how Bazil is always a part of our family and all that his little life gives us every day; all the lessons he has taught us and all the love he has brought us. I know that he was sent to us to teach us more than we can ever teach him. And now – seeing the way my kids embrace life and death – comforts me, knowing they’ll be well equipped and prepared to handle other losses. That is a wonderful gift. Life is good.
The first year we celebrated Bazil’s Day, 2010, we were at the cemetery for our tea party and August (3.5) was wanting to hug Bazil; and Ella (5.5) was saying she wanted to kiss Bazil. So I told her to blow him a kiss, and about 10 min later as we walked the woods around our plot in the cemetery a butterfly flew into her cheek. She was frozen she couldn’t believe it, the butterfly “kissed her”. The kids loved the thought that he must have heard Ella say she wanted to kiss him and he sent the butterfly down to kiss her. It fluttered around us playfully, following us, for about 10 min and then flew away. Ella a few weeks later said “I can still feel the kiss”, and also would ask ‘Why didn’t the butterfly kiss you?”. I told her Bazil kissed me in other ways.