Christmas will never be the same…

Today is a sad day, every day is a sad day, but this time two years ago we announced when William’s funeral would be. Instead of uploading hundreds of photos that all seemed to look identical, William covered in paper and sellotape, playing with the boxes that the toys came in, instead we were inviting people to his funeral.

Christmas, a time of year that over the centuries has evolved from its very religious beginnings, now a commercialised time of year, that we all use as an excuse to down tools and spend time with our loved ones. Who can blame you? No-one needs an excuse to see that joy on their little ones faces, that excitement of knowing Father Christmas is coming, writing a letter to Santa, leaving a mince-pie, carrot and a tipple for Santa on Christmas Eve, visiting any number of events laid on by local attractions for our children to sit on Santa’s knee, and finally that sound of tiny stomping feet and squeals of glee, when they discover Santa has been, a stocking brimming full of toys that will be played with once, a tree that is barely recognisable under the weight of all the gifts.

We have none of that for William. We will never have any of that, not with William. William didn’t get to learn about Father Christmas, William didn’t get to star in his first nativity, William didn’t get to write a letter to Santa, he did sit on Santa’s knee, his bear containing William’s ashes gripped tightly by Santa, but that isn’t what we imagined would be the first time William would sit on Santa’s knee. We didn’t get to track Santa’s sleigh as he visited those in the Far East before he made it to the UK, we didn’t get to buy him a personalised book from Santa. On Christmas morning we awoke to silence, no little feet stomping down the corridor, no squealing, no excited little face, no ‘mummy, daddy, he’s been’. No William.

Our floor was clear of wrapping paper, we didn’t have an obstacle course of toys littered around the house. We didn’t have a little boy to give his first brussel sprout too. We didn’t get to show him a cracker, he didn’t get to wear a party hat or a cute little outfit. We didn’t have the struggle to put him to bed, too high on the simplicity of playing with his toys. We didn’t get to pack him and 500 toys into the car to visit family and friends, where his beautiful smile would make anyone’s Christmas. No, we had nothing.

Last year we went away, we went to stay somewhere completely unfamiliar, needing to get away from the suffocation of William’s absence in our home. But, regardless of where we were, the crushing pain packed itself in our suitcase and followed us. My heart hurts, it physically hurts in my chest, it doesn’t go away when I breathe in or out, whether I lie down or stand up, whether I have a glass of wine or not. My chest is crushed, my heart aching, aching to hold my little boy on Christmas. Two years ago at Christmas William’s fragile and broken body was still with us. I held him for several hours twice on Christmas day. I cried over his beautiful presence, I held him so close, I feared I might squash him. This year, we didn’t even have that. We will never have that again.There are very few that will understand this pain.

Paul and I stayed in a beautiful hideaway in Dartmoor National Park, there were families with children there, but we spoke to lots of couples who like us were ‘hiding’. Christmas not a happy time for them either. Some vastly wealthy couples, but grief does not discriminate, a loss of both parents recently meant one couple needed to be somewhere unfamiliar. At Christmas dinner, we had William’s teddy in a high chair, the chap on the next table ordered his parents favourite wine. Simple things, that somehow bring us closer to those loved ones we so desperately pine for. We met a U.S district judge, a man with a very powerful and influential position in society, reduced to tears by William’s story. For some Christmas isn’t a time of joy or craziness, it has become a time of painful reflection. A time that you look at your watch and hope that another hour has passed.

Every painful aspect a reminder of what should be, William would have loved the Christmas tress in every room, William would have loved splashing in the muddy puddles in his wellies, William would have loved the array of treats littered around the castle to keep the kids entertained, William would have loved afternoon tea, bitesize little sandwiches, perfect for his dinky little fingers, William would have loved to have found the stocking hanging on our door on Christmas morning, William would have loved to decorate the Christmas tree in our room, William would have loved the table magician, William would have loved the owl that sat on the reception desk, William would have loved watching the hunt as the horses and hounds made their way off the estate, William would have loved to sit in front of the grand fire by the most extravagant Christmas tree waiting for Father Christmas to call his name out to go and collect his present, William would have loved to watch the ferret racing, William would have loved the playbarn, William would have loved everything, but William was robbed of all of those things and we were robbed of William. All I want for Christmas is my son. Just one second, just one cuddle, just one stroke of those chubby little cheeks, just one look at that infectious smile, just one smell, just one touch. Just William. This is a wish that will never be answered.

I have felt nothing but guilt, my whole body consumed by Williams last few hours, what must my boy have been feeling, what did he want to say but couldn’t, what sort of mother am I to listen to what I was told to do, what sort of mother am I to listen to people who had no idea what they were doing, not just one person but multiple people, not just once but multiple times. The one thing I wanted to do and prided myself on was protecting my little boy, knowing that no-one could ever protect him and love him like I do. But sepsis does not discriminate, William was not unlucky, William was let down in the most unimaginable way possible. They have taken away our Christmas, our birthdays, every day, our life, our William. No manner of apology or putting right what went wrong will change anything, nothing will bring William back. Nothing can make Christmas bearable. Nothing can take away the fear, the anxiety and the guilt that any mother would feel for not somehow saving her child.

During midnight mass in the local church, William’s teddy was wrapped in my embrace, I struggled to make it through the service, the tears came rolling down my cheeks, choking on the tears, the words the heart cannot speak. As I stood, I went to the vicar and I asked him to please pray with me. He held me and William, and he prayed that his little soul would be in peace and to bless his beautiful soul. He also prayed for me, William’s mummy, to find comfort. I am yet to find any. I know that day will come, I know that day will be when I get to join my son again. In a place where there are no hours, days or years, where it is eternity. Where there is peace from this suffering, where I know that I will never be separated from my darling little boy again. A place where the first thing I will do is find my son, and the second will be to never let him go again. On that day, and that day only I will find peace.

This year, this Christmas we are blessed with William’s brother, Arthur. Something I could never have imagined two years ago, or last year. Something, sometimes I still struggle to comprehend. How can I be so lucky, lucky to have two beautiful children, but for this to be entwined with such pain and loss. As I drink in every movement Arthur makes I am crippled by the movements that William will never make. It is like living in a parallel universe, for every simply euphoric moment with Arthur I am reminded and crushed by the moments that I will never have with William. I feel as though every moment I live I am lost and once again found.

Life doesn’t get easier. Christmas doesn’t get better, torn between love and loss. But what these last two years have taught me is that life is so unbelievably fragile. Life is not promised. We are but one breath, one heart beat from it being over. Savour every moment, every breath, be thankful when you open your eyes in the morning and hug your children close. Make your memories today. Love today. Live today. I will never take one single second with Arthur for granted.

William, wherever you are my darling little boy. For every step I take on Earth, it is one step closer to you. One day we will be forever. Until then, all of my love is being sent to you this Christmas. It is one less that we have to spend without each other.

You would be incredibly proud of your amazing little brother. And for every waking moment, everyday is Christmas day, every day brings with it your greatest gift to daddy and I, Arthur. There is no greater gift, than life itself, and mummy cannot articulate how proud she is of you for giving your life to save others. And mummy wants to say thank you. Thank you for giving me Arthur, thank you for saving my life, and thank you for making me the person that I am today. Without you, I would be a shadow. You have bought me into the light and through Arthur you have once again given me light.

I love you, x


www.justgiving.com/williamoscarmead

Advertisements

Your 3rd birthday

William on his first birthday xx

William on his first birthday xx

When we found out that you were due on the 21st November we thought you might arrive on daddy’s birthday on the 24th, but you didn’t. You wanted to hang around and arrive on mummy’s birthday instead. You made your grand appearance on the 27th November at the same time your daddy was born at 12:21. I didn’t mind, I loved that we would share such a special day. Mummy has never been a person who really celebrates her birthday and when you came along I was more than happy for your to steal all the spotlight. Apart from the day you were born we only ever got to spend one birthday together, your first.

We celebrated your special day with our friends and family, you had a lovely farm animals birthday cake which you spat out, not having eaten any sweet foods before, but we enjoyed it anyway! You didn’t really understand what birthdays were all about yet. You were more interested in playing with the wrapping paper than you were the contents. Pretty standard stuff I think. On this special day daddy captured my favourite video of us together. As you sat with your presents you pushed them away, climbed into mummy’s lap and gave me a big birthday cuddle. I will never forget. I can close my eyes now and feel your little arms around mummy’s neck, the most precious jewels that will ever be around my neck. I can smell your sweet strawberry smell as you nuzzled in, getting as close as you could. Your touch is what mummy misses the most.

I can remember one very specific moment, when you were born I was overcome with a wave of emotion, no other feeling comes even close to how I felt when you were placed on my chest. But you know, when daddy drove us home for the first time, I looked at you and I could barely believe you were mine. As I carried you up the steps to your new home I couldn’t open the door, my mum, your nanny, opened the door and I was stood there in tears, sobbing as I was holding you. Nanny’s face etched with worry, ‘what’s wrong, is everything ok?’. My response, ‘I’m just so happy.’ I cannot even put in to words just how happy I was. I knew at that moment that my life was complete.

So what would you be doing today? You would understand what birthdays meant by now, I expect that you would open your presents in a hurry, the anticipation taking over. Mummy and daddy would obviously be taking lots of photos and videos, just as excited as you. I sit often and wonder when mummy comes up to heaven, will you still be one, or will you be 27 or 43 or however many years have passed before that moment. I hope that you’ll still be one, I hope that I will get to be 28 again, I hope that we can reset the clock so that I don’t miss any of your birthdays, that I can get to watch you grow up, watch you turn from a baby to a toddler and into a little boy and never miss a single moment.

Do you know that after you died mummy took such a long time to change her glasses, I was scared that when I got up to heaven with different glasses that you wouldn’t recognise me. I think the same thing now, I don’t want to cut my hair short, or change the way I look incase you don’t know who I am. After ruminating about it, I think to myself well what happens if many years have passed and you’re no longer one, will I recognise you? I could imagine what a two or a three-year old William might look like, but you were too young to imagine what a teenage William would look like. I am left with only imaginations, not memories. I like to think that whatever age you are when I arrive in heaven that I will recognise you straight away, I’ll know who my little William is, the little boy mummy desperately yearns for every single day. Of course most of these thoughts are completely irrational to a normal person but to me truth lies in there somewhere. These are not things that parents should worry about. I should be worrying about you falling over or making sure you learn how to cross the road properly, not how old you will be when I get to heaven.

How did the most special day of the year become such a sad day. Maybe in time we will ‘celebrate’ your birthday with Arthur, I should imagine as he gets older and understands a little better that he will want to celebrate your birthday and mummy’s birthday, but it’s so hard to be happy on a day that is fraught with so much sadness. I miss you every day, all the time. Somehow Arthur being here makes your missing presence even more profound. You should be here, you should be excited about your birthday, you should be helping mummy and daddy with Arthur, you should be three, you should be ALIVE.

Life sucks here without you, but I know that I have a reason to live. The little 7lb 11oz gift that you sent us gave us a purpose once again. We know that it is you saying ‘it’s ok’. But it doesn’t make missing you any easier. I’m really hoping that heaven gives you the very best party. That you will be happy. That you will be loved and that you will stop, pause, and blow a kiss to mummy here on earth. What I do know for certain though, is that heaven is a very lucky place to have you there. My darling little boy I wish you every happiness in the world on your birthday.

From your ever-loving mummy xxxxxx


www.justgiving.com/williamoscarmead

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.