I’m so so sorry mummy couldn’t save you

I don’t ever know where to start sweetheart. It’s been three years. Three whole years that we’ve had to live without each other. Three whole years since I last held your warm, squishy, strawberry scented little self in my arms. Three whole years since I got to whisper ‘I love you’ in your ear. Three whole years. How is that even possible, how have I managed? Simply, I don’t know.

The first year without you was complete and utter turmoil, total and complete devastation. My mind was like living inside a tornado, I was picked up and thrown around at the mercy of my thoughts. It was relentless. Last year I begun to find my feet. Sometimes I was able to put my feet on the ground and feel stable, sometimes I was able to communicate, willingly. I was learning. Learning how to live with your daddy, as two. Not three anymore. We didn’t choose that, we didn’t want that. A complete and total loss of control. I don’t like having no control. Last year I learned to go with the flow. Knowing that I was not able to swim against the riptide of grief, I had to close my eyes, turn on my back and wait for it to set me down again. This year has been strange; ‘living’ has been slightly easier, perhaps because your little brother has given us an injection of life again. He has given us hope, a future, he was one of the greatest gifts you ever gave us. But missing you has got so much harder. I find myself crying more often, I am often sad, not just for myself but for you. I often think about giving up and retreating, I think more often about the injustice of your death, your treatment and how cruelly your life was taken away. I’m struggling quite a bit at the minute, but I know that for every step I take, it is one step closer to you. I think that because the better days have become easier to bear, it makes the bad days even worse. It is like being on an awful roller-coaster that sometimes gets stuck, I have no choice but to ride it out.

I can’t remember what life was like before you were born. It seems like it was a different life. It was a life that I thought I was happy in, content with my lot. I couldn’t have imagined how wrong I was. When you were born you showed me what really mattered. I can remember watching you sleep, feeling utterly in love. A feeling that is difficult to articulate. You were part of me, I was you and you were me. You taught me a love that I didn’t know existed. You are woven into the fabric of my soul. When you died, I didn’t know what to do. How would I love again? How would I ever smile again, laugh, be happy? Life was constantly referred to as ‘before William was born’ and ‘after William died’ like our life had somehow been truncated and completely fractured.

 

Then you gave us Arthur. I was worried, more than worried. What would happen if I didn’t love him like I love you? What happened if I resented him, because he wasn’t you? But you knew. You knew I could be a mummy to two little people, you knew just what mummy needed, like your little brother, you heal my broken heart. I feel incredibly sad that I will never feel complete again, that wholesome feeling that cannot be bought.

You have taught me so much William. You have taught me complete kindness, you have taught me to be compassionate always, to be patient, to love fiercely, you have taught me that no matter where I go, you are with me always, I know that you are mine, and death cannot take that away from me. I cannot even begin to describe how proud I am of you. You graced this Earth for just 382 days, but you changed everything so profoundly. Your love feeds my determination, enables me to live, helps me to put one foot in front of the other,  gives me the strength to somehow fight to try to stop others from meeting your fate. Your love has changed so much, changed so many people, saved so many lives. I know you live on in the hearts of the many thousands of lives you have saved.

But you are not here and I just want you. I want nothing more than to hold you one last time. Forever is a long time. I know that you are just one breath away, one heartbeat, but I don’t know when I will take that breath and wake up with you. I wish I did. I wish I could put a big cross through every day, knowing that I was counting down. What I would give to make eye contact with you once more, to rub my cheek on yours, to feel you in my arms once more. My arms ache for you. They are heavy, my heart is heavy, my head is heavy. The living might get easier but the longing gets so much harder.

I remember the last time I ever held you, before I placed you in your forever bed and closed the lid, I kissed your forehead, I ran my fingers through your hair, I kissed your lips and I rubbed my cheek on yours, and I said “I’m so so sorry mummy couldn’t save you.” This hurts me, physically hurts me. I would do anything for you, and Arthur, give you both all you need, physically, emotionally and mentally, but the one thing I couldn’t do was make you better. I tried so hard to get you the help you needed, despite the apologies for your care, you’re still my responsibility and your life is in my hands. I failed you in the worst way possible. I let you down when you so desperately needed me the most. I tried so so hard.

I love you darling boy. You know. I told you always, I showed you always, they were the last words you ever heard me whisper, “Goodnight sweetheart, I love you.” You knew only love but three years on, the words that still sting me every single day “I’m so so sorry mummy couldn’t save you.”


www.justgiving.com/williamoscarmead

Advertisements

Dearest William…

I hope you are ok? Mummy is missing you so much. Mummy is finding it so hard at the moment, it’s so hard to live without you. It has been 15 short months since you went to live in your new home. 15 months is longer than you lived for. 15 months isn’t very long in the context of a lifetime, well not mine at least. 15 months is long enough, what is 15 years going to feel like, or 50. I hope by then I’m with you. I hate this sweetheart I really do. I can’t remember the last time I was happy. The last time I really laughed so hard. I can’t remember the last time that I didn’t have a care in the world.

Losing you is the hardest fight that I will ever have to face, and it is a fight. The constant urge of wanting and needing to give in is prevalent. I am but one breath from being with you, but that feels like a lifetime away, well it is a lifetime. It is probably a good job that we don’t have on/off switches. I would have flicked that switch a long time ago, to end this part of my life in purgatory, and to spend the rest of my time, with you. Only with you. Well not just with you, but the two other little children, who sadly, mummy didn’t get to give birth to. See, you were so special, the little one that made it. I was honoured to share my birthday with you. You couldn’t get a more perfect gift than you.

You changed my life, you changed me as a person, you see I don’t think people realise quite how much. Before you arrived I had resigned myself to a life with no children. Growing up I was fiercely independent, I knew my mind and where I wanted to be. I grew up very quickly and left my childhood behind. Nanny and grandad worked so much, every day in fact, so I spent a lot of time with your great nanny, and auntie Joyce. But I learnt how to look after myself, I worked hard as soon as I was old enough, I did well at school, but I always did my own thing. I was the only one who really exerted control over me. When I was told at 11 years old that it was unlikely I would have my own children, I planned around it, I never grew up playing with dolls or talking about children. Even nanny and grandad didn’t think I was maternal at all, throughout my pregnancy I worried I wouldn’t be good enough, I worried that I wouldn’t know what to do, and I worried that I wouldn’t be a good mum. I remember being in labour and I said to daddy “what happens if I don’t love him, what happens if he doesn’t love me?” Daddy assured me that would never happen. Daddy was right (don’t tell him I said that), for once I have no problem standing on the tallest building and shouting, your daddy was right. My goodness I have never loved anyone or anything as much as I love you, and you loved me.

I knew how special you were, I knew then. I know now. I will always know. You were the one that allowed me to lessen the grip I held on myself, you allowed me to live with more freedom, allowing myself breathing space. You taught me there was more to life than working 24/7, you taught me that it didn’t matter if filing wasn’t done the moment the bills came through the door, you taught me that it didn’t matter if the washing didn’t get done, if the dinner wasn’t on the table at 6. I had spent the day encapsulated in our bubble of love. That is the power of love. A total force of nature. You taught me to be selfless, to be patient, to be compassionate, to love with no expectations. You taught me how to live. I owe my life to you. I owe everything to you. I gave you everything I have.

Being separated from you has ignited sheer desperation, a yearning and need that I cannot fulfill, manifesting itself as pain. The price I will pay for the rest of my life for loving you so much. That pain will only increase as the love intensifies and the ache in my arms becomes heavier. At the moment I’m not living peacefully, you probably know. You can probably see my struggle. The tears, the sleepless nights, the nightmares, flashbacks and hallucinations. You probably know that I’m not working. The visions of your broken little body now not just thoughts but tricks of my mind. I don’t like it. I can’t help it, your broken little body can appear on the windowsill as I’m sat in the office working, reflections in the mirror as I look at myself, or like the other night, I woke screaming, sweating, having had your little hand drop on mine, but not your plump, dimpled little hand that I used to hold but your stiff, cold hand, the entirely different hand that I saw after you had died. Why do I experience this, I don’t know. As much as I have experienced your waking moments, I also experienced your dying ones too. I experienced your death, and as much as your little life made the biggest impact on my life, your death did to. Your life happened, but so did your death.

What am I supposed to do without you? How am I supposed to live without you? All I want to do is come home, but I am ‘home’ but I’m not, my home is with you. We should have been making memories today, you would have been making me a card at nursery, you should have been here to see me open it, and help me eat my breakfast in bed that you and daddy made. We should have gone out and filled our day with more of those infectious smiles and laughed until our cheeks hurt, making memories. I should have heard you say ‘mummy I love you’ I should have been able to say, thank you sweetheart, I love you too. But I can’t, instead I’m sat in bed looking out of the window. I can see white smoke from the chimney across the road, make its way into the dark dusky sky, wishing I was a free spirit like the smoke, making its way into the atmosphere. I just want to be free again, but until we are together again, I know I never will be. I live everyday with the guilt, guilt that I couldn’t protect you, that somehow I didn’t do enough to save you. I hope you don’t blame mummy as much as she blames herself. The thought of letting you down, leaves me barely able to live with myself, but Daddy is doing his best to look after mummy’s broken soul.

William you allowed me to see life through different eyes, you allowed me to open my eyes and experience LIFE. William, you gave me love, a love that I didn’t know existed, you gave me love that was beyond my imagination. William, you made me a mummy, you made me your mummy, thank you. Thank you for picking me. It will always be you.

As another day draws to a close without you, another mother’s day without you, one more day closer to you. I look up to the night sky and like every other evening I say to you, goodnight sweetheart, I love you. Your mummy xxx


www.justgiving.com/williamoscarmead

 

 

 

Grief is like riding a bike

Can you remember when you first rode a bike? If you were young, the little bike probably had stabilisers, along with a little bell, maybe a basket, but definitely stabilisers. We gently ease ourselves in, wearing a helmet, going slowly, with mummy trailing behind. After we fall off the first time, mummy picks you up, dusts you off, encourages you to overcome your fear. You jump back on and you fly down the path escaping the grabbing hands of mummy, squealing as you go, her stomach in her throat, you’re okay until you realise you don’t know how to stop. It was fun until that wall jumped in your way. We’ll give it another go tomorrow.

As we get older, we shed the basket and the bell, the bike gets bigger, the stabilisers long gone. You become comfortable, confident and at the drop of a hat you can change the direction you are headed. Grief is like riding a bike. Except I didn’t get to ease myself in, I don’t get to learn, there is no helmet, no-one that can melt away that fear. Free-wheeling down a hill at an uncontrollable pace. Wobbling, trying desperately to stay in control, to hold on, not to fall off, but inevitably I do. I always fall off, I always fall hard, my body always aches, my emotions bruised, my body battered. Lying there knowing that my only choice is to get up and get back on the worst ride of my life, something I do not want to do. It takes strength I do not know I have to stand up and climb back on.

Some days as I’m riding along, its slower, my peripheral vision registering the background noise, blurred life slightly more in focus, the world through sad eyes is discouraging, it is a world that is different, it has changed, everything has changed, I have changed. Nothing is the same, everything has very little purpose, very little meaning. I have lost sight of life, the only life I knew, the life where I was mummy. Although I know I am a mummy, William is not here to help me grow as a mummy, William is not here for me to love, to teach, to watch grow, to help him learn how to ride a bike. I won’t ever get that chance. I won’t ever get to put his little helmet on, I won’t be able to implore him to be careful so many times I have a panic attack. I won’t be able to run after him squealing at the top of his lungs and mine. I won’t be able to pick him up and put a plaster on his cut knee and soothe him and encourage him to have another go. You see the moments you take for granted I will never experience, and William will never get to experience.

I am struggling at the moment, struggling to hold my emotions in. I do let my emotions out, always, but at the moment I can’t control my thoughts, my feelings. On the way to work, I pull the car over, my body heaving with the sobs. Coping at the minute is a goal I am finding hard to achieve. The honest truth is I can’t live without William. I can’t face a lifetime without him, without his beauty, without everything he gave me, without his spell-binding love. I go into his room, I sit by his cot, my head resting on the bars, my body racking, love pouring from my eyes, desperately wishing he was there, right there in front of me, so I could reach out and touch him, to watch him gently suck his thumb, to hear his gentle snoring, in tune with every breath I take. To see the peace on his face, the comfort, knowing he was safe, knowing he was loved, knowing his mummy was right there, always, knowing my baby was right there. But now he’s not, as my head pushes hard on the wooden bars, William isn’t there, my baby is gone. Forever. I will never see him again, I will never hold him again, never hear his delicate little voice, never to look in his deep brown eyes and fall in love over and over again.

Every time I look at his photos my breath is instantly taken away, my eyes well up, my body aching to reach into that image, to pluck him out and to never let him go. The first time that I ever held William after he had been born, I had him wrapped on my chest, his warm, red skin tightly held against my skin. I could feel his little heart beating, I could feel his warmth, I could already feel his love resonating through me and igniting my bones. How much I wish I could have one more moment with him, but one moment would never be enough. William is owed so much more, William deserves so much more, Paul and I gave William the right to life. That has been taken away and that is so unbearably cruel. It is something I cannot live with. Something I don’t want to live with. How can I?

My bike was the best bike you could ever buy, the bike that would take pride of place in every shop window. The bike that everyone wanted, the bike of envy, the bike that would take you to the farthest corners of the Earth. Someone took my bike, it’s replacement, a rusty bike with intermittent brakes, no bell, and sometimes it feels like square wheels. I don’t want it, I can’t get back on, when I am forced to, I struggle so hard to pedal, but it never goes the way I want it too. I am not in control.

If you have a life, that resembles the best ride of your life, treasure it, keep it safe, share it, take it on the most incredible journeys. Love with compassion, do not allow bumps in the road to get you down, drop back a gear, pedal easier, carry on, feel the wind in your hair, choose the direction you want to take and take it. Enjoy it, feel it, live it, and most of all always love with conviction.

 

 

 

 

 

Life is a path: death is a destination

Can you imagine what it actually feels like to not be able to live with yourself. I don’t mean that figuratively but literally. All my life I have been very independent, and when I was told the chances of conceiving my own baby were slim to none, I focused on the practical side of life. Buying a house, studying for a job that wasn’t just a job but a career. I am a very black and white person, the most dominant part being logical, the part of me that has been my core survival. The emotional me has always only had a very small role in my life. That was until William was born. Wow, the intensity of love was frightening, I didn’t know love like that existed and it was all mine. There was nothing that could change it, I didn’t know how I had lived without it for so long. I had finally been born, I was finally alive.

My life it seemed had always been a journey of survival, a survival that relied upon my logical, practical side, a side that had never let me down. When William was sick, I did what I was supposed to do, I took him to the doctors. When I wasn’t satisfied I took him to another doctor, when he didn’t improve I took him back, again and again. In the hours leading up to William’s death I knew something was wrong, and I took him to those that we trust, I walked away reassured I was doing the right thing. The day before William died the niggling feeling, my mother’s instinct was telling me, he’s just not right, so I called for help and advice. Twice that day. Following advice, I was apparently doing the right thing. But it wasn’t the right thing. This I could tell you until I’m blue in the face that William’s death was out of my control, I would trade my life for his, but I still blame myself, I let myself down and I let my boy down.

With hindsight, there’s that word again, a curse word and knowing what we know now that William’s death was avoidable only reinforces that blame is warranted. I know every fine detail of the weeks, months, and those last few hours of William’s life. It doesn’t matter how many people tell me over and over that it’s not my fault, I shouldn’t feel guilty, I wasn’t to know, I did everything I could, the reasoning, but regardless the guilt remains. The guilt is born from what any mother would feel as her normal sense of responsibility for her baby, and the inherent belief that we have ultimate control over what happens to us, what happens to our loved ones and our built-in desire to protect. The despair only magnifies the deep-rooted guilt and makes me feel like a complete failure as a human being, and most importantly as a mother. Existing through each day, resisting the urge to end my life is potentially the hardest fight. A fight I know I’ll lose.

These feelings of guilt creep into every aspect of my day, every thought, intensified by my love for William, my need to close my eyes, go back to those moments and take away his suffering. This is something I have no control over, I can’t go back, I can’t change it but guilt allows me to control the situation I find myself in during every waking moment. I know that the decisions I made at the time were always in William’s best interests. The guilt I know is unfounded, feeling guilty is not the same as being guilty, this is so hard for people to understand. Guilt is all-consuming, made up of despair, regret, incompetence, failure, sadness, and these all form the worst feeling of all, blame.

I feel vulnerable, I am constantly anxious, I am worried, about what I don’t know, I no longer have anything to worry about. I have very little control over any of my feelings, the realisation of the horror that is my life is racked with guilt. My whole body aches with love, now I share my love for William with the world as my only witness. Guilt is the most painful companion to death.

William my sweetheart, you saw me take my first breath as you took yours, I saw you take your last breath, and when I take my last, we will be together. Forever.

Silence is the most powerful scream

As each day passes I recognise that I scream more on the inside than on the outside. It’s just as loud, but just because you can’t hear it doesn’t mean it’s not there. I would rather be anywhere else than in my head right now. It’s like a constant merry-go-round of questions, the same questions, just worded differently.

As a person I’m very black and white, I like things to be just so, I don’t like uncertainty and I like to be in control of myself and what I’m doing. This is the first time I have never been in control, I can’t change what’s happened and I have no control over how I’m feeling. It’s frightening to not know how I’m going to be feeling from one minute to the next.

I don’t have control over anything that I think or what goes through my mind. Especially anything that relates to the situation, and that is all that goes through my mind. Not having control over what I think is really scary, it’s a constant headache, constant questioning, questioning of life, questioning my belief’s, questioning my own ability as a mother. It seems to be the only way I can have any control at the moment, by questioning. Why has this happened? Why has this happened to William?

I know how William died, but why is something I have to try to somehow find peace with sometime. I have never been what I would call a particularly ‘religious’ person but I have always been open. I suppose I’ve always believed in ‘something’. I like to believe, and I do believe that William is in heaven. I like to believe and I hope that heaven is close, close enough that William can reach out and touch me so he knows I’m here, close enough so that he can hear me say ‘Goodnight sweetheart, I love you.’