Do you have any children?

Mummy and William selfie x

Mummy and William selfie x

The question that I have been dreading since the day that William became forever 12 months old. A very easy question to answer, of course I have a child, I have a little boy, his name is William. But, how can that question be answered without prompting awkward silences? I cannot and would not even imagine saying no, that would be like denying his existence, an intolerable thought that makes me feel sick just saying it in my head. How could I ever say no when all I want to do is shout from the roof tops, that I am a mother, my child may not be here, but he existed, he was part of the same world that you and I exist in today. And that’s exactly it, an existence, an earthly existence. I do not feel part of my life anymore. I feel like I am viewing life from behind a thick glass, I can see, I can hear muffled sounds but none of it is real, none of it is relevant. I can just see people moving from A to B. Getting in their metal cars, driving to work, not really paying attention to what is going on around them, making meaningless conversation about the food you ate and the television you watched the previous evening, undertaking a full day’s work to earn money to pay the bills for the small brick house you drive to at the end of everyday. A brick shell that you pay money for, take ownership of, clean, a place to nurture your family and keep them safe. A place where you make memories, but what is all this worth without those that make these memories so special. As much as I am attached to my home, of course, this is where William grew up, learnt to smile, learnt to laugh and learned to love. But it is also where he died, it feels so empty and desolate without him, but yet it is his home. I no longer feel I belong anywhere, not even in my own life.

It is so easy now to see how life was taken for granted before, since William died I have become incredibly hypersensitive. I am more aware of my surroundings, noticing the tree tops on the way to work, not getting sucked into the monotonous tarmac as the road forges on; were the trees ever that tall? I’m sure I would have noticed that before. There are so many different species of tree on the way to work, I wonder how many? So many different shaped leaves, such a wide palette of colour’s, all merging together to form a sea of ‘green’. Sitting on a cliff top allowing yourself to relax, really relax, allowing your arms to flop down by your sides, the tension to be released from your shoulders, what can you hear? Can you hear the waves? Can you hear the waves bearing down on the cliff? Can you hear the wind? As I sit there and close my eyes and let the darkness gather me up, i am aware of the hair on my arms tingling as they stand to attention. My skin succumbing to the sensation that is goosebumps, a reaction to my surroundings. This is what it is to listen, it’s not simply to hear, but to feel, feel your surroundings. Encouraging your body to let go of your peripheral vision and become part of the world. What does the wind really sound like? What does the wind really feel like?

It sounds relaxing, idyllic, at one with nature. Escapism. Freedom. To me I do not feel free, I cannot escape from my thoughts, my reality, the clarity of mind that keeps reminding me that William is not part of the life I’m viewing. The life that I am forced to be part of. By default I am here. Stuck, trapped. Suffocated. The breath knocked out of my lungs, by the wind that laps at my face as I sit there, no freedom, no escapism, just an annoyance, my long hair hitting my face as the unrelenting wind serves to keep me in the present.

As the date looms closer for William’s inquest. Just a little over 3 weeks. Preparing my impact statement seemingly an impossible task. How can i possibly find words adequate enough to write down, to read, to convey the depth of love for my little boy. Although I sit here and I write now. How can I do him justice. I don’t want people to listen to my words, I want those people to close their eyes and feel my words. I would like for just one solitary moment, for those people in that room to feel a tiny bit of my pain. There are no words for that. I cannot put into words the unfathomable pain that courses through my veins. As each day passes I find myself crying more and more, unable to articulate my pain. My body is tired, weary, the end I know is near.

I have an end date. When I close my eyes at the end of another day I mark off the calendar in my mind with a big black marker. Another day over, another day closer to the time when I can finally close my eyes, and open them with my boy.

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12 thoughts on “Do you have any children?

  1. Melissa, there is so much love and pain in your posts. Your love for William makes me speechless and can not be described to it’s fullness. You’re an amazing mother and your love for William touches us all, reminds us to not take moments for granted. I pray God comforts you and wraps you in his arms. I truly believe that you will see your sweet William again one day. I adore his smile and all of the pictures you post of him. Sending you big hugs.

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  2. i’m sorry to know what you’re going through. William is definitely in a good place now. Make him feel proud of his mama when you meet him again. Do the best you can till you meet him again..

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  3. Dear Melissa,
    I read your latest blog post –which was very moving and explained very well how dreadful you are feeling. I am going to be honest and tell you that I am a bit worried. You describe your grief and depression and suicidal thoughts with great clarity, but I was pretty worried by how you sound. Please don’t be cross with me for mentioning it, I just really want you to be safe.

    I understand at the moment that you are battling on to face the inquest into William’s death and that once that gruelling process is over, then perhaps you may feel that you have no reason to carry on. I really do understand that you are exhausted by misery and that you want all your pain to end . I respect your grief and your pain, but I can’t accept any suggestion of a very permanent solution to a situation which will evolve and change and get easier, just as your strength will return, your mind will become less burdened and you will begin to see the point of living again. You are an extremely brave woman, but please use your courage carefully. Use it to fight on through this awful difficult time. Don’t use it to escape.
    You are and always will be William’s mother, but before you became a mother, you were a daughter, a lover, a friend, maybe a sister or a niece or a cousin or aunty. And most of all you were you, Melissa –the unique person who only you can be.
    Melissa please reconnect with who you are –all sides of yourself. Don’t be tempted to shun the other parts of your life out of loyalty to William, be kind to yourself. If you can’t find it in your own heart to be good to yourself, then be kind to yourself for William’s sake. He loved you very much and would not want to think of you forgetting how many wonderful things you have going for you.
    I suppose what I am trying to say is that you must have had happy moments before you had William. When you met your partner, when you realised you were in love, successes you have had, your friends and family, art, the beautiful world around you (although I understand you feel it is mocking you now with its great power, energy and life, when you are mourning the absence of a life).
    The way you write, I know that you experience the world keenly. And the downside of this extraordinary sensitivity you carry, is that you are experiencing grief very keenly, because you are a wonderful, gentle soul. But this deeper understanding of the world, and of feelings, perhaps you can try to see this as an asset not a burden. When you sit and look at the sea and feel frustrated that your lungs continue to drag in air and your body insists on surviving, even though you feel your spirit is shattered, keep fighting on. Look that grief in the eye and remember every second of it. It is the price you are paying for the most beautiful love of all, the love for your child. It seems extortionate, but would you swap it for never having known your son? After birth many women have stretch marks and changed bodies –proud battle scars which show what they have endured to bring a life into the world. After the death of a loved one, grief is the wound –a painful bleeding which turns into a scar. Every time that scar smarts, it is a physical reminder of the love you have for the person who is not there. It shows you have been incredibly blessed. You may have to say it, and feel it through gritted teeth, but try to be grateful to the grief, crazy as that sounds, for it shows just how much you have loved.
    It really is none of my business, I know, but I can’t keep quiet. I am a meddling old bag, and you are very welcome to tell me to get lost, but I can’t read that beautiful but terribly sad piece and not interfere.
    Please be strong every day, and keep fighting. I think you are an extraordinary woman and you really should stick around. Please be brave and call your GP or go to hospital if you do feel like hurting yourself. I am thinking of you and sending you lots of prayers and positive thoughts. With much love, Lucy xxx

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    • I agree with LucyM – I’m worried for you. Have you ever heard the advice, “When you are going through Hell, keep going”? Please keep going, Melissa. I know it doesn’t seem like or feel like there are reasons for you to keep going after the inquest, because your light has gone out. But I believe your light is still there – you just can’t see it yet because it’s so far away. Please reach out for help. Lots of hugs to you.

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  4. Melissa, Lucy says so well what I want to say to you as well. Please, please, read her words carefully. There are so many who care about you. With concern and caring, Janet

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  5. Take a piece of each on of your blogs, take the hardest parts that you wrote and even harder for you to read back. Compose them into one letter that you address to your sweet William telling him how much you miss and love him and will NEVER leave him behind. Make a copy and put it on his dresser by his crib in your guys sanctuary so he knows it’s there for him. Then take it and read the letter to the people at the inquest. You will get that moment you want for them to feel the pain in you but most of all you will have written your baby boy putting it all down from your broken heart and forever wounded soul and it will always be there for him and you, the LOVE letter from his mummy. This is what I think I would do if I ever was put where you are. Write to him like you write for you in your blogs. Who knows You may find some answers from Grumpus along the way that you’ve been wanting so bad. You guys are always in my thoughts and as always God bless his little heart and soul

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  6. Hi there. I’ve thought about what I might do if I were where you are and I know I would feel the very same way you do in every aspect. I would take the hardest most difficult painstaking words you wrote and even tougher for you to read what you wrote from each of your blogs and put it into one. Address it to your sweet William and write to him like you write for you in your blogs. Tell him how much you miss him and love him and how you will NEVER leave him behind. Write your Grumpus the most important document you will ever have besides his birth and death certificates, write him a love letter, your guys love story. The greatest love stories of all time have the most pain and heartache but that’s what makes it love, true unconditional forever love that nothing will come between not even death. When you done with it put it on his dresser by his crib so he knows it’s his letter from his one and only true love, his mummy. Maybe you will find some of the questions you’ve been asking yourself and your sweet little boy while writing him, maybe they will come in your dreams one day when you are relaxed in the mind and your William can be there too. Maybe!! Make a copy of the letter and take with you to read at the inquest if you think you want to or can share Williams letter. I promise you you will have that moment that you want for all there involved to have of knowing and feeling your pain and angst but above all you will have written your sweet little William the only love letter he will ever need from his one and only true love. I know deep down in my heart that if anything were to happen to my son I would want him to have this from me his only true love and my only true love is him. As always you guys are in my thoughts and as always bless his little heart and soul. Stay how ever you need to be to get where ever you need to be at that moment. Prayers to you and your hubby

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    • Melissa, I’ve been reading your blog since day one and please know that I DO feel your pain. Maybe just a drop but I feel it loud and clear. You are in my prayers.

      Hugs,
      June (HKmoms)

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  7. I have been checking back to your page, looking to see some new words from you. I hope that you are being watched over by your loved ones, and that they can bring you some comfort and keep you safe.

    I read something today that I wanted to share with you. A woman wrote a post about losing her husband, and I thought her words were so wise. Her grief is different than yours but perhaps something she says might speak to you.

    Many hugs, as always.

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    • Hi Jennifer, I’m still here and being looked after. I haven’t written anything in a little while as I’ve been concentrating on writing my impact statement for the inquest next Wednesday. I’ll write something after I hope. Thank you for your continued support, it’s so lovely to think there are such kind people out there xx

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  8. Dearest Melissa…. I am your sister in grief. I lost my oldest child, Kaycee, to suicide almost 2 years ago. She was 22. Since her death, I’ve also been faced with the dreaded question: “How many children do you have?” I am a labor and delivery RN….it’s very understandable that my patients would be curious about my personal experiences with birth and motherhood. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I cannot possibly answer this question and pretend as if my Kaycee never lived. And, if questioned, I will not lie about the circumstances of her death. I’ve sort of adapted to the advice that many “experts” give, regarding young children who ask about the “birds and the bees”….. I directly answer the question at hand, and I don’t elaborate. If the person asking the questions wants to know more, then I provide an honest answers.

    My typical response? “I have 4 children.” Only a very small percentage of those who ask are satisfied with that answer. Usually, the next questions are: “Boys? Girls? How old are they?” And I say, “2 girls, 2 boys. My boys are 22 and 17. I have a 13 year old daughter. My oldest daughter passed away 2 years ago. She would have been 25 this year.” Usually, the questions stop there. However, considering the fact that many of my patients are close in age to my deceased daughter, some do ask, “What happened to her?” I simply say, “Kaycee died from suicide.” That usually ends the questions. Then I try to redirect the conversation toward the impending birth, and how magnificent the entire process is.

    For those who appear to be deeply affected by my honest answers, I often reassure them about how fortunate I am….that I have the privilege of helping to bring new life into the world.

    Although I may seem like a “Debbie Downer,” I’ve found that being open about my loss has opened up some serious dialogue.

    I wanted to give you some feedback as to how I personally handle these difficult questions….and how being open and honest can benefit others…..

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