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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In one moment my life changed forever

As we slip further away from the 15th March, it marks the anniversary of the first Mother’s Day that I spent without William. Every day until exactly one year since he left us marks a first anniversary. The first mothers day, the first birthday and of course we have already lived through our first Christmas without him. Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call it ‘living’ but more surviving, existing. That’s what every day feels like. I get up in the mornings, sometimes, this morning I couldn’t face getting out of bed until noon, why? why today? today I tread the fine line, the fine line between being left here on Earth with what life I have left and how much I yearn to be in heaven with my William. It is a balancing act. One of great magnitude. The feeling that engulfs my body with sheer despair and dread, weighing me down so heavily, exhausted by the time I get out of bed. Grief is silent, but so powerful.

Every day brings new emotions, some days it’s easier to function through the meaningless tasks, other days the grief hits you like a tidal wave and carries you along, not knowing where you will be discarded along the way.  I function better than I did 13 weeks ago, but with that brings a heightened sense of clarity. I find myself often staring out the window or at my computer screen thinking about William’s lifeless body in the little white coffin. How every day that I visited him, I took him out of the coffin and cradled him in my arms. He was gone, he was cold, he was small, I would wrap him in a blanket but take his arm out. I would entwine his tiny little fingers in mine, warming his little fingers for the hour or so that I would sit and cuddle him. On one of the days that I went to visit him, in the hospital I was able to lay down on the chairs, William on my chest, just like he should be, to feel his skin on mine one last time. To drench his hair with mummy’s tears and for mummy’s tears to land in his eyes, for them to flow down his cheek. To trace my fingers along the small, perfectly formed eyebrows, down the contours of his face, following the curves of his cheeks, drinking in every last detail, never wanting to let go. In this moment, these precious last moments that I was able to hold my son for the last time, I closed my eyes, held William’s hand to my cheek and felt heaven, total peace at one with my little baby.

When I became William’s mum, long before I gave birth to him, the switch in my head carrying those maternal instincts that would allow my body and mind to nurture this little boy, switched on. When I was in labour, I said to Paul ‘what happens if he doesn’t love me? What happens if I don’t love him? What happens if I’m not a good mum’, Paul said ‘he already loves you, you already love him, you’re already a good mum, you’re all he knows’. I was all he knew. All of my senses to nurture, to love, to protect, to feed, to hold, to wrap him in my arms and keep him safe, that rush of love, a mothers love, so powerful, so sacred. Those deep brown eyes so trusting, so loving, held the bond between William and I, no words adequate enough to describe. But now, as I laid there with William on my chest, that look of love, that physical connection, my mind pleading with him to wake up. There was one memory so prominent, racing through my head, fighting for me to analyse it that little bit further. The one memory when I close my eyes I cannot escape from, the memory that I can reach in my mind and touch, feel, smell and relive over and over again. William’s eyes. William’s eyes on the morning that I found him. When I opened the blind that morning and I looked in William’s cot I knew he was gone, his eyes, fallen open. His eyes staring right through me. Cutting me in half. That look shattered my world, I was screaming, but William couldn’t hear me, when I touched him he couldn’t feel me, William no longer knew who I was, those eyes always fixated on a point behind me. No-one should ever see their child’s eyes like that, not knowing, not feeling or recognising me. I longed for those eyes to draw me in, fill me with the unspoken words of his soul, our connection. So, for now as I laid with him on my chest, I closed his eyes for the last time, I closed mine and drifted, begging this moment to last forever.

Coping with anger

Today I had to relive that morning, the lead up, Williams death and his funeral all over again with yet another professional. Although I know it’s necessary to help establish answers, not just for us but for William. It’s so hard.

To begin with I am ok, then I start shaking, first of all on the inside then uncontrollably on the outside. My temperature seems to plummet and I sit there shaking and freezing cold.

The questions run through my head, the what if’s, and especially the hindsight. Hindsight is a wonderful thing if you have the benefit of it before the event, but it is a curse after the fact. We have to endure an inquest, questions need to be answered, the doctors, the specialists, SERCO, everyone that seemed to be involved in William’s care up until he passed away, why did he pass away? We all know now that William shouldn’t have died, that his illness should have been picked up and investigated at one of the 6 appointments we took him to in as many weeks leading to his death.

The feeling when I think about this is beyond anger, it’s very difficult to describe, I know that not one particular person had a hand in his death, I know that the doctor’s didn’t miss, or not diagnose him on purpose, but there were oversight’s, there were failings, simple failings at a general doctor level.

Like we keep getting reminded time and time again, William had wonderful parents, William was so loved and very loving, William was so happy and so content, he was beautiful, intelligent and had so much to give. I know that only we gave him that. I know that we fed off each other, I loved him and he loved me back, pure and unspoken love, a bond that will never be broken.

No matter how many questions are asked, how many questions are answered, how many apologies we receive, none of it brings William back, I will never see him again, touch him, smell him, hear his little voice. Never hear him say ‘mummy, I love you.’ Living with this pain is not anger, it’s a lifetime of torture.

I miss him. So much.

Lonely, amongst a crowd

Today has been really hard, no particular reason that today or this morning was worse than any other morning.  Didn’t sleep well as usual, sat and thought all night about Williams last night before he died, was he in pain?  Did he struggle for breath? Could he cry out? The longer I lay there in the silence during the night the more these questions penetrate. By the time this morning came around I felt total despair.

I sat in Williams room crying as the day started, cuddling his reindeer, blaming myself for him not being here, feeling guilty for not taking him to hospital, thinking if I’d been a better mum would he still be here?  I know all of these things are untrue, I was reassured and advised by doctors we were doing the right thing, and I know that I was the best mum to him, he knew that and I know that from the complete happiness he displayed in everything he did, how he loved,  how he laughed, how he grew and how he learnt.

All of my thoughts and feelings are so overwhelming, completely over powering. I don’t know how other parents may feel after they’ve lost a child so needlessly? But I can’t help but feel feelings of blame or guilt, completely unfounded and misguided but it’s natural instinct to protect your child, and my child died so therefore I feel like I failed.

I feel so alone because no one understands these feelings or the reasoning, perhaps because there is none, but they haven’t experienced this, so how can they know how I feel? They try, but how can they understand it if I don’t?

I feel so alone, amongst a room full of family and friends.