You can’t fix this kind of broken

Facing the world without you is a daily uphill climb. I have been finding it increasingly harder to manage to get through each day, but you probably know that, you can probably see me, I just wish I could see you. The reality of you never coming home is starting to sink in, you’re not coming home.

I’m never going to be woken up by you gently babbling to your reindeer. I’m never going to watch you struggle to pick up the pieces of peach that were too slippy for you to grab. I miss my little companion who used to help me post the balls from your ball pool through the stair gate into the kitchen, some of those balls still sit by the dishwasher. Touched last by you, posted so meticulously through the stair gate, and picked so carefully from the box of balls.

Your toothbrush and toothpaste still takes pride of place in the cup under the sink. We didn’t even get through your first tube of toothpaste. Your bath toys still hang in the basket on the side of the bath, although really you preferred the shower. When you knew it was that time in the evening, you’d crawl to the bottom of the stairs and wait. Daddy would follow you as you climbed each step, every movement an achievement, watching you learn to become independent. You’d wait patiently by the shower, waiting to be undressed, and that was it, you’d climb in and sit right under the shower head, clenching your little fists with excitement. The first time you climbed into the shower with mummy, she was watching you, observing your big brown eyes taking everything in, your facial expression changing, mummy could see you making your decision, slowly you turned to look at me ‘it’s ok sweetheart’ I encouraged you, you understood in your own little way, your fear subsiding and your curiosity taking over, you climbed straight in and sat right by my feet. Your new discovery became part of you bedtime routine. You were making your own choices. Learning by discovering.

Your little coat still hangs on your peg. Untouched. So small and dwarfed by mummy and daddy’s coats but so prominent. Your little coat hanging there holds so much meaning, it is still YOUR peg, you are still part of this family, our refusal to move it a constant reminder of what was, we didn’t choose this. Your bibs are still in the drawer, your cereal boxes still on the shelf. Your toys are all still lined up in the lounge where you left them, mummy has had to dust them occasionally, imagine that, dusty toys, that wouldn’t happen if you were around. Nothing staying still long enough to become dusty. Some of the DVD’s on the shelf are still upside down, although you know mummy likes to have things just so, she’s left them, the way you left them, a constant reminder that you touched them.

Spring is upon us and Summer seems to be just around the corner. The world seems to be waking from the cold winter. Flowers are starting to blossom, filling the garden with their fragrance and beauty.  The birds singing as they enjoy the leafy trees that were bare only a few weeks ago. Somehow it seemed apt that it was cold, bleak, and gloomy outside. It doesn’t seem right that the rest of the world is warming up and soaking up the joys of what Spring brings, new life, new baby lambs, the gardens awakening under the heat of the sun and you are not here to enjoy it with us. To know that you’ll never hear the birds singing, never sit in your paddling pool in the garden splashing in the water, never sit on the beach and eat the sand. All of those plans are gone, our whole future that we planned with you is gone. I was sitting on the bed the other day looking out the window and as my eyes focused they noticed your hand print. Mummy used to hold you whilst you stood on the windowsill looking at the cars and the birds. ‘wassat’ you’d say as you pointed eagerly at the birds. Putting your tiny little hand print on mummy’s windows. It’s still there. Mummy looks at it everyday, a reminder that you were once here. You touched that glass. You left your mark.

On your last day at nursery,  you made us a Christmas tree, and when you came home you had glitter in your hair and your ear. Then just 36 hours later it didn’t seem possible that mummy was sat cradling your tiny little body, when just a few short days earlier you had been busying yourself making that Christmas tree.  There is a fleck of glitter that remains in your cot, sometimes it catches the sun and I imagine you sitting in nursery with your hands covered in glitter, enjoying yourself, discovering new textures and shapes.  Mummy used to love sitting and watching you play, watch you thinking, watch you figuring out a shape and making a decision, then you’d catch my eye, mummy couldn’t help but smile and you would crawl over for a cuddle. How can you be gone?

The last thing you ever touched, your blue sippy cup still lays in exactly the same position, in your cot, right where you left it, after you had your last drink at 5am. Mummy has picked it up a couple of times, wrapping my fingers around the handles, mimicking your tiny little fingers around those exact same handles. Mummy misses you, but you probably know that. Do you watch me every night standing at your window? I talk to you, do you hear me? Missing you isn’t the problem, it’s knowing you’re never coming back that’s destroying me. Sometimes people tell me that you’re in a better place, but we both know that a better place would be right here with me. The simple fact is I don’t know how to live without you, and I just don’t want to.

100 days without you

Yesterday was 100 days since William died. That’s 2,400 hours, 144,000 minutes or 864,000 seconds. People say to me take one day at a time, hour by hour, but even that seems too unbearable. The next hour seems to far away, part of a future that I’m trying so hard to resist, a reality that I don’t want to be part of.

There is no glossing over the hard facts of William’s post-mortem report and the care leading up to his death. I find myself once again in shock, physical shock. The tremors taking hold of me, my hands clammy, my pulse racing, the adrenalin surging through my body, in a constant state of fight or flight. The medication no longer touching the sides. I am exhausted, physically, mentally and emotionally. My mind feels scrambled, whirring round and around like a washing machine, trying desperately to process the devastating fact that William’s death was avoidable. So utterly avoidable.

Getting through each day, each hour is just too much to comprehend. This morning I rocked up to my appointment with my care coordinator in a mess. Immediately she was able to notice the difference in my demeanor, agitated, perched on the edge of my seat. My eyes darting round the room unable to focus on anything, our conversation flitting from one thing to the next until she asked me ‘how do you feel, right now, in this moment?’ When she asked this question I was busy thinking how the view from the window was very much like the view from the relatives room in the hospital the day William died. How the sky was the same colour, grey, but not just any grey, that grey, the grey that depresses your mood the instant you look at it, it was dull, sullen, with no break in the clouds for as far as the eye could see. That’s what my mind felt like, cloudy, no light seeping in, laden down with darkness. My mind left the relatives room that day and I was trying to focus, how do I respond to that question? How do I feel in this moment?

I pondered for a while, the silence in the room being broken only by the sound of scratching, I realised it was me, scratching aggressively at the palm of my hand. The skin hard and broken yet again, anxiety was destroying me. I could imagine William holding on to the table in front of us, walking round it and removing all the items, discarding them on the floor, ready to play with when he’d finished. I could hear his little voice, babbling to himself as he kept busy, the sounds almost becoming recognisable as words, the pitch in his voice changing as he progressed through each sentence. My goodness how much I miss him, the despair and grief the price I so willingly pay to love William so much. How did I feel in this moment? I could think of many things, I am feeling a mixture of emotions, but right now in this moment I just can’t comprehend how I will live without William here.

And that was it, it occurred to me, how do you feel in this moment? A single moment. Lunchtime seemed like a lifetime away, let alone tomorrow or what lay beyond. With every fixed period of time an unbearable prospect to live with, perhaps I could just live with this moment. Survive just this moment in time. I could just get to the end of this appointment. I could just walk back to the office. I could just turn my computer on. Getting through to the end of each day an impossible task to comprehend, but maybe I could just get through this moment.

Time has been standing still for me since William took his last breath. Many moments have passed, each bringing with them a fear of the unknown. Grief so underestimated. Like the septicemia that silently took my William, grief silently ravages you from the inside, destroying you, debilitating and relentless. To feel so much pain is to feel so much love.

So, how do I feel in this moment? In this very moment I feel tortured.

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.

Will power – so unpredictable and finite

“Will”noun

  • the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action.
  • control deliberately exerted to do something or to restrain one’s own impulses.

Will power, this is something very different to desire, or wanting something. There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you have had enough. I don’t feel any further along this journey other than the fact that the passage of time is something completely out of my control so therefore I continue to exist through the fog. I have no desire nor do I want to live the life I have been left. I haven’t written a blog for a while, I haven’t had the strength or energy but also this is similar to a diary or journal of my inner most thoughts, and they’re so negative. I cannot help the way I feel or what I think, it is what it is.

I feel totally trapped, like William is in heaven in the sky, what I have left of life is down here on Earth, but I am somewhere in between, floating in limbo. All I want is to be with William. Not wanting to be here to exist through what life is only leads to the fact that I’ve had enough; and the cold harsh reality of that is taking my own life. There is such stigma around suicide, that it is a cold, blunt act, with such finality. This is not what I want, I don’t want to ‘die’ I just want to be with William, but he is never going to be here again, he is gone. For me the acceptance of this fact only means one thing, that if I want to be with William I would have to make the ultimate choice of life, to take my own. It is very hard for me to write this, I know so many people who read this will not like to hear it, mostly because it is a subject that is not often talked about, but that is the truth, my thoughts and feelings haven’t changed; I have felt this way for a long time. I don’t feel ashamed of the way I feel, and I don’t want to hide behind the stock answers to ‘how are you?’ “well, you know up and down”. I can’t hide it. I’m terrified, terrified of being here, I fear tomorrow, knowing that tomorrow will not feel any better than today but worse, the pain intensifying alongside the bond between William and I strengthening. If it wasn’t for suicide, I would have killed myself by now. This may be a hard concept for you to understand but because I know I have that choice tomorrow, it is my safety net today.

Taking your own life, whether it is a choice or an impulsive action is not cowardly but takes sheer will power and guts. It is not a nice place to be, a place that is so dark, so isolating. I am scared, scared because I no longer feel like myself, will power is so unpredictable and absolutely finite when it takes hold. The thoughts and feelings are involuntary, overwhelming and all consuming.

This is where will power comes into play. I can never say that I ‘want’ the life I have been left after losing William or have any desire for it, but you must have will power to allow the passage of time to make living with it a little easier.  How can this happen knowing that life will never be better. It can only ever be different. From the day that I found out I was pregnant everyday surpassed my expectations, I never knew that a love so intense existed. And with every day that passed I fell more and more in love. Losing William so suddenly and unexpectedly completely cut off my lifeline, my outlet for that physical love gone, when William died, so did I. My heart and soul went with William that day, I feel like an empty shell with a tortured soul. Everyday is total torment. I wish I could sit here and type that I ‘hope’ it will get easier, but I almost don’t want it to. I don’t want to live without William. I’m just going through the motions.

I just want my baby.

Losing William is an indescribable journey of survival

The cruel reality of losing William is not just a daily struggle of grief, but the overwhelming burden of guilt of getting to live whilst William doesn’t. Why should I go out for a coffee, when William can’t come with me? Why should I go and breathe the sea air in, when William can’t come and sift the sand through his hands with me? My days are filled with ‘necessary’ trips, to the doctors, to CBT trauma therapy, to the hospital etc. However, I then found myself stood in Dunelm Mill on Wednesday. My therapist asked me to keep a diary, I didn’t have one, or a notepad. This would mean I would have to buy one by myself. So, after picking up the DVD of William’s service I pulled up outside Dunelm, got out the car, walked in and stood there. Taking in the people who were going about their browsing, not knowing the true pain of the person stood in front of them, trying my best to smile if people looked at me, and making sure I remembered to acknowledge people when they let me pass. I felt like I was pretending, and I was, just a performance.

It was a start however, going somewhere I didn’t have to go, or get asked to go, but chose to go. I wasn’t brave enough to go in the supermarket today, the supermarket where we’d take Grumpus down the toy aisle and marvel over his captivating laugh at Tickle Me Elmo. Doing all these things I know would not have even been an option 5 weeks ago, or even a week ago.

People say to me about acceptance or coming to terms with it, but these are 2 things that I will never do, how can you ever accept your child dying, especially so needlessly or come to terms with knowing that I will no longer wake up to Grumpus anymore. No, I will not do either of these things, and that is something I am certain of and I have made that decision, and I’m pleased that I have, because it is something I no longer need to fight to achieve. I am however, trying to live with it, and I know the fact I’m writing this now, shows I’m ‘living with it’. I am prepared for people to tell me that in time living with it should become easier. I hope so.

When I had my first assessment at therapy they asked me whether I felt suicidal. Did I, do I? My answer was and still is, no. I don’t want to take my own life, I wish I could go to sleep and not wake up, I don’t want what life has to offer me now, because it feels empty and so painful. However, the way I seem to work this through is that Grumpus didn’t get a choice, the one thing he wanted and I want for him the most is life, breath, a physical existence. However much physical pain I feel and however much I feel that life is not worth living, it would be totally selfish of me to take away the one thing that he needs and wants the most, and that is life.

So that is what I’m doing, surviving.