I have written down what I want to say so many times but none of it seems right and I’m sure there’ll be things I don’t say but wish I had, the truth is, there are no words adequate enough to describe the intensity of loving William and no words sufficient enough to capture the pain that we feel. William is loved beyond words and missed beyond measure. A pain that we shouldn’t be feeling, a cruel life sentence that should never have happened, today is day 178 of that life sentence. It doesn’t get easier, time doesn’t heal but only serves to widen the gap from when we last held our dear little boy.
We cannot cope missing William, knowing that we are never going to see William again is crippling. All I want is to be with my baby again, and there is only one way that is possible. I do not feel free, I cannot escape from my thoughts, what is now my reality. The clarity of mind that keeps reminding me that William is not part of the world I exist in today. The life that I am forced to be part of, I feel stuck, trapped and suffocated. The cruel joke of the world is that we are still here and William isn’t. It just feels like we are viewing life through a window, seeing it, hearing it but not actually in it. I no longer feel I belong anywhere without William, not even in my own life.
The magnitude of William’s absence is overwhelming and felt by all, even those who did not know him. From the moment we lost William, life has been split into the forever proverbial “before” and “after” William died. I don’t want to escape from this unbearable pain, I know that to feel this much pain is to know this much love. We are exhausted, physically, emotionally, and mentally, the anxiety and flashbacks are debilitating. Losing William has destroyed us, to lose him was to lose myself. In that moment, my soul died too and what’s left behind is a broken shell. We feel like we’re stuck in purgatory, somewhere between heaven and hell. Trying desperately to find another reason to forge through this intolerable pain, an impossible task. Paralysed by our love for William.
At 8:47am on the 14th December, the paramedic turned to me and said “I’m sorry my love, but he’s gone”, I didn’t understand why they couldn’t make him better and I didn’t understand why they stopped trying. William was gone, my little boy was gone. His lifeless body laid on the floor where we had given him CPR. He looked uncomfortable, he looked vulnerable, and he was stiff, I scooped him up and cradled him so close and I begged him to wake up, I pleaded with him to wake up, but he didn’t, he was gone. I knew he was gone, the moment I opened the curtains, William’s eyes staring straight through me, they cut me in half, it was with those eyes that William loved, I ached to hear the words “mummy, I love you” but he never got the chance. William expressed his love in everything he did, but his eyes said it all. Eyes that were so trusting. William trusted me, trusted me to feed him, trusted me to love him, trusted me to put him first, trusted me to be his everything as he is mine, trusted that he was safe with his mummy. The only thing I couldn’t do was make him better, If I could have, I would. That job I had no choice but to rely on the professionals, those that are trained to do so. As William’s mum it was my job to take him to the doctors when he was poorly, and I did, multiple times. I trusted that the examination and diagnosis at each visit was correct. Like William trusted me to look after him, I trusted them. We feel William was let down in the cruelest way possible, and William has paid the ultimate price. There were multiple opportunities to treat him, but we were always assured “it’s just a cough” “it’s just a cough” how can anyone be so wrong? Within 12 hours of speaking to a doctor, our little boy was dead. We were told not to worry, assured “it’s nothing grisly”, I don’t think you can get any more profoundly grisly than sepsis, how was this allowed to manifest, that is what makes this reality so hard to believe. Every morning we get up to the realisation that William is gone. He suffered so unnecessarily, he died in his bed, on his own with his little reindeer, in the place that he should have been safe. those last precious moments he was on his own, what was he thinking, my little baby, he knows what it feels like to die, how is that even possible. I so desperately want my little boy back, I need him back, I want what I can’t have, what has been taken away and that is wholly unacceptable.
In the 382 days that we were blessed with William he made more of an impact than most would in a lifetime.
William was born on my birthday, the most precious gift. After getting used to the idea that we wouldn’t be able to have our own children, William was just meant to be. We were like any first time parents, nervous and apprehensive but it soon became obvious we had nothing to worry about. William made it easy. Our little Grumpus defined me as a person, as his mother, he defined us. He was and always will remain the foundation of our family.
William was his own little person, such a happy, secure and most of all loving little boy. I would often sit and watch him in disbelief that he was actually mine. He was perfect, I can close my eyes and feel his delicate touch, to embrace him and feel his soft skin against my own, feel the weight of him in my arms and to breathe in his beautifully sweet smell when he would bury his head into our neck. When we put William to bed we couldn’t wait to be woken by his sweet little babbling, he would be all sleepy, not quite awake and wanting to snuggle. He’d grab his little reindeer, not wanting to leave him behind, he’d pop his thumb in his mouth, nuzzle into our neck and come into our bed for cuddles. We are crushed that we will never have this again.
You see, William was a clam, patient and content little boy. To sit with William and teach him shapes and colours, to then sit back and watch him learn, to watch him think, to watch him concentrating, to watch him working things out for himself, was a pleasure. Nothing was more fulfilling than to watch his confused little face turn to joy when he mastered something new, so pleased with himself. He would immediately turn to find you, his face lit up as it met yours, the happiness reciprocated, our pride encouraging him further. His infectious smile that would never fail to make you smile right back, a smile that injected happiness into any room. We were in awe of him. These treasured moments were priceless, memories that are irreplaceable. William filled us with a sense of freedom, taught us love with no boundaries, that’s limitless and endless. He was my one constant, we never knew love like this existed. William was our future, to hear his first words, to pick him up and dust him off when he fell over, to teach him to ride a bike, to watch his first nativity, to watch him fall in love, to be whatever he wanted to be, as long as he was happy, all of this is gone, William robbed of his future and us robbed of ours.
William’s death was so needless and unnecessary, nearly 26 weeks on, almost half his lifetime, we remain a family torn apart by grief, struggling to comprehend life in William’s absence. No-one knows a child better than his parents, no-one knew William better than us, a parents instinct should be listened to, we should have been listened to. We can only hope that no other family has to suffer the unrelenting agony of losing a child in these circumstances and that changes bought about by today’s outcome can prevent further deaths and improve the practice of all GP’s, 111 and out of hours services.
There is no outcome that can ease our pain, we have to live the rest of our lives knowing William’s life was taken from him, knowing that he should be with us and knowing that he won’t be coming back. William was a blessing and we are forever thankful that we can call him our son.