Was that you in the hospital?

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.

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7 thoughts on “Was that you in the hospital?

  1. Sweetheart, I’m so sorry.

    What a beautiful child William was, and so very clearly loved and cherished. Comfort can be hard to come by for the mother whose child has died, but this is one thought that does comfort me in my own grief–that not a day of my precious child’s life went by without my telling her that she was loved. And it is so still.

    So too you love your William. Your child is loved.

    When you love someone completely, just for themselves, in all their wonderful vividness, then nothing, not even death, will take that away. You will love William forever, and you will be connected to him forever.

    The pain seems unendurable, but you will endure it, because at some point you realise you must, because you are the one person on this entire planet who loves your child as you do, who knows your child as you do, who remembers your child as you do…and thus every breath you take becomes an affirmation that your child’s life mattered, every day you grittily go on is another day the thought of them is alive in you.

    It doesn’t matter what other people do or say (and people can be clumsy sometimes), it only matters that your love for your child will burn as an inextinguishable light inside you.

    I think often of the little Emily Dickinson poem that says:
    “That Love is all there is,
    Is all we know of love;
    It is enough, the freight should be
    Proportioned to the groove.”

    “It is enough”…sometimes when I have been exhausted by sorrow, these words come to me…as a weary sigh perhaps, but unbowed.

    This kind of love doesn’t have a use-by date, it doesn’t give up, it doesn’t give in. Your life is broken, not your love. Nothing can touch that, nothing can destroy it, nothing can take it away.

    Every day, you will live out your love for your child, for your William, as only you can.

    You are his mother. Your love for him is forever.

    Wishing you kindness, always,
    R

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    • Wow, I am truly touched by your words, spoken from someone who knows the pain. Somehow your words penetrate further because they are said from experience.

      You are right, love does last forever, and if anything continues to grow with everyday that passes. There is nothing, not even death that can break that bond and enduring love we have for our lost angel’s. I am so sorry that you too are on this journey.

      I have learnt that I can only live day by day, tomorrow for me is full of fear, but tomorrow isn’t here yet, so I just deal with the moment. Thank you for taking the time to write to me xx

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      • Yes, it does grow, because after the months of panic and trauma exhaustedly recede (and they will, slowly and painfully, but they will), you realise that you are seeing the world with new eyes, with piercing clarity.

        You know that sensation one has when one stands on a plain under an enormous sky, where you feel as if you can see to eternity…living with the death of one’s darling child is like that. Everything inessential, everything trivial, everything small is stripped away.

        As Emily Dickinson says in her little poem, love is all there is. Over the months of grief, this is what you realise, but you also realise that love is never lost.

        Lives are lost, love is not. And this is love at its purest. It asks for nothing, it expects nothing, it is just given. You love your precious child.

        And there is a kind of strength in that, because it is something only you can do, only you can give. Only you are William’s mother.

        Live in that space, in the love you feel for your William. This is where the truth lies.

        And yes, do what you need to do to maintain your equilibrium. Keep disturbing people or situations away from you, so you can get closer to that quiet space inside you. Even small moments of the calm it offers will provide nourishment and solace…a place of beauty within you which will always hold your child.

        You remain in my thoughts, my dear.
        R

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    • ” Wow “!! I’m so moved by this post. Having read all of your most personal, deepest, heartbreaking thoughts and moments surrounding you and your sweet baby boy and reading what others have said to help you somehow thru this unimaginable, impassible path that a mother should never have to trek down, I think this grieving mom just gave you breath. A “resuscitation” breath, a breath to get you to the next one with a little help. Keep doing whatever it is that keeps you where you are in each moment and when you feel like you can’t breathe read her post again to help with the next breath and keep Williams love alive within you and breathe. Xoxo to you and your sweet Grumpus

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  2. This is a most beautiful and heartbreaking post. After our son died I really struggled with well wishers telling me the first of everything is the hardest. Only parents who have lost a child recognise that we are faced with a lifetime of firsts (words, steps, school etc). You describe this so well. I hope you find some comfort in sharing your thoughts. Thank you for sharing William.
    X

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