Life is very busy at the moment, but not busy how I ever imagined it would be. I never imagined that I would be sat here preparing press statements, comments, being interviewed and scrutinising every document I receive in relation to the death of my little William.
I remember so well receiving William’s death certificate and putting it in the folder with his birth certificate. You don’t get a folder with the death certificate, it’s not free either, we had to pay for the privilege. When I opened the folder I thought, do I put it in front of his birth certificate, the OCD inside me needing it to be in date order, but the mother inside of me knew that it always had to be William’s birth certificate that had to be right at the front. William’s birth such a defining moment in my life. A moment that re-defined me as a person. No longer Melissa Mead, personal assistant, friend, sister, girlfriend, but mummy, a title that supersedes any of the former. A title I never thought I would have, a title I took seriously, a title that I did not treat lightly. A title that some are not blessed with, others blessed with children, but perhaps not deserving. Not me, I have the best title. I am William Mead’s mummy. I was born to be William’s mummy, I will always be William’s mummy, but I can no longer look after him like most mothers are able to. As I sat there for half an hour, reading William’s death certificate, I knew what the answer was, that it would be placed at the back, at the bottom, behind everything else that mattered. The world was a richer place when William was born and so much poorer when he died. Simple tasks insignificant to others, but tasks that consume me. Sad isn’t it, that I have to worry about such silly things, I should be worrying that William isn’t putting his fingers in plugs or staying up to late not how to file his death certificate.
The worry never stops. I worry about him now, is he ok? What is he doing? Is he sleeping ok? Is he lonely? Does he have little friends? I hope they’re not feeding him broccoli, he really doesn’t like it. William went to Heaven with no instructions. He wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t prepared, William was never supposed to go. It is not something any parent should ever have to knowingly prepare for, or have to endure. We are all used to death, and what it means. As we grow older, we begin to lose grandparents, eventually parents. It is not something that we invite, or wish to even happen, we hope that it doesn’t happen when we are young. We do hope that our parents, and older generations live a rich life, live their dreams and see younger generations being born. The natural order. The order we don’t like but expect and have come to accept. We have wonderful memories of our grandparents, tales of times gone by, always being able to get that extra packet of sweets because ‘we’re cute’. When we begin to lose loved ones as we age, what we are left with is memories. Memories of them, memories of their life, their achievements, memories we have created together, that we can look back on with happy tears. What I’m left with is imagination. For those who have lost a child in pregnancy, a baby born sleeping, or a child lost like William, we have some memories, but mostly what we are left with are imaginations. Would William enjoy school, what would be his favourite subject, would he prefer to read a book or play sports. Would he want to become a lawyer, a train driver or a professional footballer. I will never know. I will never know whether he would marry, whether he would marry a man or a woman, I will never know what his children would look like, what my grandchildren would be called. I will never get to experience that love, that pride of watching my little boy grow into a perfect young man, watch him create his own life, and have his own family.
Like you, when you share on social media precious moments you have with your children, when they master how to walk, when they swim 25 metres, when they are in their first nativity, when they ask silly little questions that only little children can ask, I need to share William too, but how can I share William? I cannot post that William started school today, I cannot share that William won his first spelling competition. I cannot share William like you are able to share your children. Regardless, I have to share William with the world, to teach you all about the little boy who lived. William did live, he lived for 382 days, and William’s 382 days have made more of an impact on this world than my 29 years ever will. The world needs William, just like I do. When I share William, I share with you little stories, but mostly I share with you William’s legacy. Sharing William’s story enables me to raise awareness of what happened to him, make sure the mistakes in his care do not happen again, and to make sure that anyone I come into contact with, whether that be physically, or online, knows what Sepsis is. That is William’s legacy, to save the lives of other children, and in doing so, for every person I engage with, I get to show them William’s little face. And that is how, a mother who has lost her child is able to feel pride.