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If Only

We are currently in the process of getting a new headstone for the grave where our baby boy and his grandparents are buried. We started the process around March last year and we still haven’t got the new stone erected. It took about 6 months to choose a stone and decide on the wording. Tim and I also decided that we wanted Alexander’s Chinese name in Chinese characters engraved on the stone. This has resulted in more months of searching for the right font and further more months tracing the characters and adjusting these by hand. Each stroke had to be right, each dot had to be in place. Even then, if it didn’t look right, I would start again. “Why are you taking so long on his name”? “I accept that you’re a perfectionist” are some of the comments so far. Yes, I am a perfectionist but that’s not why everything had to be right. That’s not why I can now write a dissertation on Cumbrian green slate. That’s not why I have, to date, done at least 28 tracings of Alexander’s name in Chinese characters. Being a perfectionist also didn’t make me spend hours online looking at quotes and poems.

The headstone isn’t taking such a long time because I am a perfectionist. It’s taking this long because this headstone is, as well as for my parents-in-law, for my son. There isn’t much I can do for Alexander now and this is one of the few things that I can do for him. Being able to do things for your child is such a gift. If only I could change Alexander’s nappies and feed him. If only I could bath him and play with him. If only he could keep me up all night and throw a tantrum……

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