As I imagine what you would be doing today sweetheart. I ponder not just what you would be doing today, but tomorrow, and in your future, a future that has been snatched away. I try to explain to people that I will never know what you would have been like when you were a young child, a teenager, or when you were a man.
I knew only the baby and toddler that I was blessed with for 382 days. I will never get to hear you say ‘mummy I love you’, ‘mummy can I have a biscuit’, ‘mummy please can I stay up 5 minutes longer’. All the conversations I dreamt of having, the conversations I had already played out in my head. I couldn’t wait for the ‘why?’ conversations. Don’t touch that, why? Please sit still, why? Please put your shoes and socks on, why? Vegetables are good for you, why? And so the conversation’s would go round in one very long, repetitive circle, but I couldn’t wait. The anticipation of your first day at school and taking the first photo of you in your school uniform. I couldn’t wait to sit up into the small hours making an outfit for your first Nativity play, to watch you from the audience in your big shepherd debut or maybe even Joseph. I often wondered whether you would enjoy sports, would you prefer to get muddy playing football, or would you prefer to sit and spend your hours playing the guitar or reading a book. Can you remember our little conversations in the car as we would drive past the rugby club, I would say to you, that’ll be mummy in a few years, standing in the freezing cold in the rain on the sideline, cheering you on. I imagined myself having to collect you down the road from the cinema, because I would embarrass you on your first date with your first girlfriend if I picked you up right outside. I couldn’t wait to see you blossom.
When I came to collect you from nursery I would sneak in the front door, without you noticing me. I would watch you, watch you interacting with the other children. Watch you give your toy to the curly-haired girl next to you, babbling something as you did it. To be a witness to you becoming your own little person filled me with so much pride. I just wanted to shout to everyone, ‘that’s my little boy’. This was one of many times in a day that I would pay a penny for your thoughts. The nursery told me that you would sit and observe the other children playing patiently, and when you were ready you would crawl over and join in. Pick up the toys and ‘talk’ to the other kiddies. Then when you were finished you would put your toy down, crawl away and resume your watching. I marveled at your innocence, your intelligence, I was overwhelmed that you were mine. Overwhelmed that I was the lucky mummy collecting you from nursery. The most fortunate person to have had you all to myself for 9 months to then feel the exhilaration of what giving birth to you felt like, to give you life, to feed you, to watch you fall asleep in my arms, knowing that I was living the dream. I would pinch myself daily, thinking it was a dream, the most magical dream. I always thought you were too good to be true.
Every day I look for signs that you are here, signs that you are letting me know that you’re okay, signs that you’re comforting me to let me know ‘it’s’ okay; but the truth is sweetheart, I don’t. ‘It’s’ not okay, none of it is, it never will be. I don’t hear, see or feel signs, perhaps because I won’t allow myself to be receptive to them, maybe they are there but I don’t interpret them. I have an enormous sense that acknowledging signs is accepting that you are gone, accepting that the only way we will be together in this life is the feeling I get from seeing a falling feather, hearing a song on the radio or a rainbow when I’m crying on the way to work.
There is only one time in the 262 days you have been gone, that I felt you with me. I had just been admitted to hospital, your daddy had gone home, he wasn’t allowed onto the wards. I was waiting in the communal area, I wasn’t allowed to go in to my room because the nurses had to check my things first. I was totally alone, loneliness had come knocking a long time ago. As I sat and waited I had never felt so afraid, afraid of this place, afraid of the way I was feeling and afraid of life without you. As I sat there, as clear as anything I heard someone say ‘It’s okay mummy, it’s okay.’ It was so clear, I spun around to see who said it, but there was no-one there, only the little old lady talking to herself in front of me. Was that you? Was that you letting your mummy know that you were watching over me? I like to believe it was.
I spend every day living life perpetually on the edge. Hanging over, feeling the rush of energy surging through my body, the wind taking my breath away, the desire so strong to let go and fall, tumbling through the air, I can feel the relief as I sit here and write this. Why don’t I let go? The weakest of links hold me in place as I seek to find answers for you. I must see that through. For now I am holding on with my fingertips, teetering on the edge, my voice the only outlet I have, my love totally consumed by grief. In the meantime I am without meaning, I am without you, signs or no signs. I am homesick.