Invisible mother


William, 10 months old x

William, 10 months old x

On Sunday I went to the beach with my nephew Rowan, he is 6 months older than William and turns 2 next month. Standing at the water’s edge, with his toes curled up in excitement, he would steal backward glances to his dad to make sure he was safe. When the waves had receded he would throw his ball and run away, stamping his feet from side to side, impatient for his ball to be returned by the tide. William would be walking by now, and I’m certain would be playing with his big cousin, both working each other up, both screaming in glee at what seems a tidal wave to a small person but gentle breaking waves to me and you. The magnitude of William’s absence overwhelming. To watch the way that Rowan would wait for his dad’s words of reassurance, the trust so deep-rooted, Rowan hanging onto his every word.  The bond so inextricably woven into their eyes. I miss that. I miss having a little person being unconditionally dependent on me.

There was not a moment that passed without me thinking about what William would be doing, would William like the water, what would he be thinking. It’s moments on the beach that drive home the loss. Other parents playing with their children, building sandcastles, exploring rockpools, I want to do all of those things with William, but I can’t. To everyone on the beach that day I was a twenty something woman taking pride in observing her nephew overcome his fear of the “bubbles” getting closer. Edging a little bit closer to the waves with every throw of his ball, being careful not to let the “bubbles” roll over his toes. After all, it was a Sunday, the weekend, surely if she had a child they would be with her on the beach. The ‘people watchers’ who’ve decided that Paul and I are a childless, young couple, enjoying our weekend off. I know I am a mummy, but I almost want to broadcast it to the world, a big sign above my head which explains in big bold letters “I am a mummy too, I didn’t choose this, my baby is in heaven, we are a family.”

It is very hard to distinguish between love and grief, because they are one of the same thing. Grief is all the love you want to give but cannot give, the more you love someone the more you grieve. The happiness and joy love brings turns to sadness and despair when unspent. Grief is just love with no place to go. Missing William and grieving for William is not about not moving forwards or living in the past, it’s about me loving him in the present.

The moment those words were spoken “I’m sorry my love, but he’s gone” just like that, it was over. William was gone. In that moment, my soul died too. Leaving behind a broken shell to walk this earth. I feel like I’m stuck in purgatory, somewhere between heaven and hell. Since losing William I have read a vast amount online from similar bereaved parents, not wanting to go on, not knowing how. Finding that their surviving children, the only reason to put one foot in front of the other. Some of us in this club don’t have other children, trying desperately to find another reason amongst the pain to forge on an impossible task. My only drive is to get to the inquest, to be William’s advocate, to be William’s voice, to not just tell people how losing him has impacted our lives but to make them feel it, feel it for just one moment, the enduring pain that we feel, that we will be feeling for a lifetime. Beyond the inquest is a black abyss for me, not wanting to stick around the most desirable choice, to be reunited with my baby again. See, it’s very hard to understand these feelings, unless you’ve felt them. Some may say that taking ones life is selfish, but step back for one second and think; it is selfish to ask me to endure a life sentence, a life of pain with no desire in order to save the heartache of others. What you are asking is ‘please put up with your pain, because if we lost you, our suffering would be unbearable.’ To be there for me, to listen, to love, to help guide me, and sometimes just to know that you love me and that you would miss me is ok. But to say it’s selfish is not something anyone else can judge. You do not feel my pain, you do not feel this pain. You do not have to live through the agonising seconds, minutes, hours and days waiting, waiting for this to all be over.

I’m not asking you to accept it, to like it but just try to understand it. Suicide is the most significant part of my care plan. Knowing that I can do it tomorrow, discourages me from doing it today. My get out clause. My safety net. I know this will sound alarming to you, but try to understand. If you don’t want to know the real answer about how I am, it’s probably best not to ask.

I do not want to hurt, I do not want to die, I did not want William to die. It would be a waste of my life, but it was also a waste of William’s life. I know all of this, but mostly I know that I cannot live without my beautiful little boy. I did not choose this, it has been chosen for me.

10 thoughts on “Invisible mother

  1. Dear Melissa, you’re not an invisible mother, you’re A Mother. I heard from someone else before, “you’re a mother, you know.” And I think it’s true, we all do. Cannot relief your grief, but we know. Cannot bring your baby back for you, but we know. May not be right next to you physically to try to pull you through this, but we know. I can cry soundlessly as I read your blog from a zillion miles away for the first time, because I know. Channeling love and strength to you even though I may not know you. But I know. xxx

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  2. I am so sorry, and I am here reading and crying with you. I can only send along my caring thoughts. I read, “A mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, but by the love

    What I have been finding true is this: “A mother instinctively protects her child. A grieving mother instinctively protects her child’s memory.”
    I found this Kindness Project, and am thinking of doing it in my son’s name:

    Thinking of you.

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  3. Hmmm… that was “A mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, but by the love she has in her heart.” Not that it seems right at this point in time … I am trying to understand how to go on myself.

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  4. I can’t even begin to imagine your pain. The constant reminders must be both a blessing and a curse. I hope with all I’ve got that you will find, one day, some sort of peace amidst the startling bleak unfairness, as impossible as that may seem. My thoughts are with you.

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  5. Dear Melissa, I am so sorry for your loss and very moved by your honesty. Your description of grief is, I think, the most perfectly accurate and most terribly sad paragraph I have ever read. You are an extremely brave person to share this journey, thank you. I don’t want to make you feel guilty for a second, but I would just say that amidst the pain and horror which you are experiencing ,your memories of William, and your sharp recall of moments of his life, and your overwhelming love for him, which you are sharing with us, are things which would vanish, if you could not carry on. You are William’s mother, and as long as you keep going, then so does he. He may be in heaven now, but you are the person who shared that precious time with him on earth, and those moments are yours to keep or share. You have shown enormous strength. Please use that strength to keep going through each day, to share your journey with us. With much love and sending lots of positive thoughts, Lucy xx

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  6. Melissa, I can not fathom your pain. I keep hoping that there is some crazy revelation to happen for everyone who has lost their loved ones. I completely know that this will never take away your grief for William, but you are most certainly a mum and I hope that one day you will have another child to bless your family and be apart of the family you already have (William included). Think about you alot.

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  7. Today is Mother’s Day and I thought it would be a hard day for you. I wanted to come by and say that I’m thinking of you, and that I am so sorry your William isn’t here with you today. On these pages, your words have vividly illustrated how proud of him you are, how much you love him, and his photos show such a dear little boy with a charming, sweet smile. My heart hurts with you. You will always be William’s mother, you will always love him, and on this very hard day, my wish for you is that you will remember something about William that will make you smile. Sending you much peace.

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