Just imagine…

Why do some days hurt more than others, well after all, today is no different from yesterday, I woke up and William’s big smile still didn’t greet me. Mother’s Day hurt more than the day before it or the day after, because that day is a day that bereaved mother’s like me are full of imaginations not busy making memories. Paul gave me a mother’s day card, a beautiful photo of William and me on the front, lot’s of love from Pickle it reads. But William didn’t give it to me. William didn’t scribble inside. William didn’t make it. As I ate my breakfast in bed, William wasn’t there to help me eat it. William was simply not here, and he never will be.

After having a coffee in town we went into a shop to look at mother’s day charms for my bracelet, all of them lovely, but you know I felt odd, stood there choosing a charm ‘beloved mother’, ‘special mum’, when it should be William choosing it for me, but he’s not. The charms on my bracelet, all memories, a little pram, bought by William’s grandparents when he was born. A heart that breaks in two, to reveal ‘mother’ written on one half and ‘son’ on the other, bought for me by William and his daddy on our first joint birthday. Only 17 days later, William was gone. Shortly after, an angel wing, a little boy, and William’s foot and hand print charms adorned my bracelet. I didn’t buy a charm, I couldn’t. That should be William’s job.

As I sit here writing this, my chest hurts. It really hurts, when you think that you’ve cried all the tears you have, more continue to flow. I remember shortly after William died I was dehydrated, forgetting to drink, crying so much, despite this, the tears would still come. Stinging as they stream down my face, eventually they would dry hard to my cheeks. Too exhausted to cry anymore.

I’ve been quite quiet recently, many of you will have seen William and I on television, heard me on the radio and seen William’s little photo in the newspaper, but what you see is a face. Behind the camera, behind closed doors, I haven’t been well. I’m currently struggling to work, going out is a struggle, getting out of bed is a struggle. Living is a struggle. I feel totally empty. Motivation comes only in the form of continuing the battle to fight for William’s life not to have been in vain. Grief is real, trauma is real, this life sentence is real. You see as much as William lived, he died too, death is so real, and death is so very vivid, especially William’s.

It is not just something that happened, something which you can move on from, it is not something that you can accept and let go of. It is not a choice. My waking hours are spent tormented by William’s last hours, by William’s last moments in his home. No matter where I look, right there in the forefront of my mind is William’s broken little body, his little hand suspended in the air, despite the CPR, it didn’t move. William was truly being held tightly in death’s grip. I remember asking the paramedic why it wouldn’t move. He said very calmly, ‘shortly it will, rigor comes very quickly after a child’s dies, if at all, it will be gone soon’. He was right, by the time I had carried William downstairs I was able to hold his hand once more. You see I don’t get a choice, these ‘moments’ in time can take up days and months of my life, and they do. Paralysed in their grip, they are debilitating.

When you lose a grandparent or a parent, you are sad, people are sad for you, but you are able to talk about the happy life you shared together, the longevity of their life. The great world events they witnessed, like seeing man walk on the moon. Somehow it seems ‘ok’. They’ve had a life, they’ve had a chance, the natural order that we are used to is performing its duty. After all, we are all born to die. But we are not all born to die after 382 days. It is just so wrong, so very wrong, there is nothing that anyone can say, believe me they try, to bring you crumbs of comfort. God doesn’t pick the best. He’s not in a better place. The best place for William is with his mummy and his daddy. God didn’t take William, substandard care and science took William.

People are kind, compassionate and they mean well, and I never turn away from someone who so desperately wants to bring you comfort, but simply doesn’t know how and doesn’t have the words. Simply put, they just don’t know. And I’m glad they don’t know, I’m glad they don’t understand, sadly too many of us do. Sometimes people say, I know how you feel. No, you don’t. Unless you have lost a child, a child you knew, a child with whom you already had an unbreakable bond, a child who died because of others incompetence, no, you don’t know. It’s not comparable. It’s not comparable with the death of your grandparent, it’s not comparable with the death of your dog, or the dissolution of your marriage or a breakup. No, unless you have lost a child, you will never know.

You completely lose sight of the person you once were, the person you had become, the person your much-loved child allowed you to be. That person is not just gone from sight, that person is gone forever. As much as William’s birth defined me as a person, William’s death re-defined me once more. To be forced to live on despite no longer knowing who you are. I just don’t know who I am anymore, I don’t recognise myself. I loved the person that I became when William was born, but she died with William. What’s left is a shell, a shell that is forced to live in the shadow of the person I used to be.

What is every parents greatest fear, is my reality. People cannot imagine what it is like to lose a child, because there is nothing to compare it to. I know what it is like to realise your darkest fears. I know what it is like to go and wake my child in the morning, and for him to have fallen asleep forever. I know what it is like to give my child CPR, already knowing it won’t make any difference. I know what it is like to lay next to the body of my child, cheek to cheek, and beg for him to wake up, knowing he never will. I know what it is like to pick the last outfit my child will ever wear. I know what it is like to cuddle my child knowing that I will NEVER touch him again. I know what it is like to watch the curtains close around his tiny white coffin. I know what it is like to be told, that my child should have survived, had others done their jobs properly. I know what it is like to fold his little clothes away, never to be worn again. I know what it is like to miss my child so desperately, the closest I can get to him, is to smell his little teddy, and be lucky, LUCKY, if it still carries his little strawberry scent. I know what it’s like to want to go home, but knowing that place is with William. I know what it’s like to not belong. I know what the cutting pain feels like, knowing that despite everything I did, I couldn’t protect my child. I know what it’s like to sit and look into the eyes of the doctor that could have saved my child, but didn’t. I know what it’s like to hear his apology, knowing that he would be going home to his children, and I wouldn’t be. I know that HE will never understand the depth of destruction that he had a hand in. And I hope he never has too.

But I know. I really know.


www.justgiving.com/williamoscarmead

 

 

We’re running a 5KM military obstacle course… 

This Saturday 12th March Paul, Williams daddy is running in The Major Series military obstacle course. With friends and family #teamwilliam is raising much needed funds for The UK Sepsis Trust. 

https://www.britmilfit.com/major-series/

Sepsis account for 44,000 deaths in the UK every year. That’s more than bowel cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer put together. This means that a 1 person dies from sepsis every 14 minutes. 

I hope by fundraising we can raise awareness of Sepsis, through innovation, research and the sharing of good practice. Sepsis needs to be recognised as a medical emergency and as a clinical priority for the NHS. We need to ensure that members of the public, patients and their relatives, and health professionals work together to think Sepsis. 

£85 to save a life from sepsis.

£5 provides an information booklet to relatives of ten patients admitted to ITU.

£10 will allow the Sepsis Trust to distribute 200 leaflets to a GP surgery.

£50 a month will train one team of doctors and nurse on a hospital ward.
£999 will provide one hospital with a ‘sepsis pack’ to aid implementation.
So if you’d like to sponsor Paul you can do so via Williams Just Giving page below. If everyone that reads my blog donates just £1 we could raise thousands, so please dig deep xxx

.Www.justgiving.com/williamoscarmead

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

 

 

 

Closure, what is that?

“Closure” – noun

  • a feeling that an emotional or traumatic experience has been resolved.

Amongst other more trivial definitions, this is the word that is commonly used when a non-bereaved person has no idea what to say to you. At least after the funeral you might get some closure, when the inquest has finished it should give you some closure, when you have received an apology from those that failed your son, you will get some closure. Erm, no. As it says above, closure refers to the resolution of an emotional or traumatic experience. Losing a child, losing William will always leave a gaping chasm in my life that can never be resolved, fixed or even emotionally explained away. The only way to resolve my profound hurt, is for William to be alive.

The last few weeks have been a real whirlwind, what you have seen in the news, the news papers, on the internet is a representation of the way my mind is bubbling all the time. It is everything that I have been hoarding in my brain for the last 14 months, and only a small proportion of it came out in one day. It was emotionally charged and overwhelming, something that I knew I had to do. A double-edged sword. I didn’t want to be there, but I did. I didn’t want to see William’s beautiful smiling face on the TV, but I did. The most unusual bittersweet sense of pride one can feel. I didn’t want to talk about what happened to William, there’s no getting round it, and having to revisit the most traumatic day and subsequent days of my life on repeat was a difficult task to endure. But it was a sacrifice. A sacrifice I made to see my pint-sized William make a difference. And what a difference he made.

As I sit here now, finally able to sit and write, the emotions that inhibit my body, from the pit of my stomach, the waves roll through my chest, my jaw clenches as the tears flow. I have barely cried these last few weeks, well, that’s not entirely the truth, I cry everyday, I cry in the morning, some days I am already crying when I wake up. I cry in the shower, in the car, at my desk whilst writing a memo. But, I haven’t cried so loud in the shower when no-one can hear me, I haven’t cried so hard I couldn’t focus and had to stop the car. I haven’t allowed my body to let go, to heave and purge the compressed tension that sits in my soul. Initially after the media frenzy I was simply so exhausted I would just sit and stare, and then I got scared, so scared that I held it in, knowing that when it came I would not be able to control it.

But today was that day, today I opened an attachment on an email, ‘re: William Oscar Mead, Deceased’, deceased. My son is deceased. My son, my only child, my everything is dead. It is so very easy to somehow objectify your actions, to travel to London, to go on the television and talk about the failings in William’s care, so easy to talk about what needs to happen, what needs to change, to educate people and help to raise awareness of sepsis. But I did that, because my little William knows what it’s like to die, my son shouldn’t know that, and no matter how much positivity you harness, how much you empower parents, and how much awareness you raise of the catastrophic condition that took our little boys life, William is still not here. We still came back to an empty home, no mess, no toys strewn on the floor, no laughter and contagious smiles. Nothing. No William.

You get to a point, and I’m at that point where people don’t approach you with caution, people no longer ask you how you are, with a sympathetic look, worried for the answer they’ll receive. No, now, there is an expectation that when people see you that you are okay. They will ask you how your weekend was, they will engage you in conversation, or as I like to put it, small talk. My tolerance levels are no better than they were six months ago. My tolerance levels are worse, I have just become a seasoned pro at wearing the mask. When you ask me how my weekend was, it was shit. Just like every other weekend. It was shit because on Friday after work I didn’t pick William up from nursery, I didn’t flop onto the sofa with a glass of wine when William had finally succumbed to sleep. It was shit because my weekend didn’t involve trips to the park, 25 loads of washing, chasing round after a cheeky two-year old, packing him into the car with ‘plans’. I will tell you it was ‘okay’, because I can no longer be bothered to explain, people no longer really want to hear it, people are busy with their own lives, people’s lives have moved on, albeit tinged with sadness but nonetheless, their lives have evolved.

My mental health has not moved on, it has not evolved. I am no longer preparing for an inquest, I am no longer bracing myself for the next version of the NHSE report, no, I know what happened to William, although I’ve known for months, however, it is not something that I felt able or inclined to speak about publicly. We’ve had every apology we can possibly have, the doctors involved in the failings in William’s care have apologised, face to face, last week. South Western Ambulance Service (111) apologised last year. NHSE have apologised, and now Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, stood in Parliament and apologised on behalf of the NHS and the Government (see video below). But, where is William? It doesn’t bring my little boy back, it doesn’t take away the suffering he endured in those last few months, and in those last 36 hours, it doesn’t take away the guilt I feel, the blame I impose on myself, probably a form of self-harm. Control perhaps. I know it’s not my fault, I did everything I could, I sought help, I listened, I followed advice, I didn’t know what sepsis was, I didn’t know that William’s symptoms were life-threatening. But regardless it was me who took him to the people who failed my son, me. The one person that has ultimate responsibility for my son, he trusted me to protect him, trusted me to make the right decisions for him, he trusted me with his life, and as his mother I wasn’t able to do it. I was let down, let down by people and systems that are designed and are in place to help people, but until I take my last breath, the buck stops with me. No amount of changes, recommendations, lives saved, and sorry’s will ever stop me feeling that.

If you’ve ever faced a tragedy and someone tells you in any way, shape or form that your tragedy was meant to be, that it happened for a reason, that it will make you a better person, or that somehow when responsibility is taken for it, it will fix it. They are lying. Grief in all it’s forms is brutally painful. People encounter grief in many ways, when relationships fall apart, you grieve. When dreams die, you grieve. When illnesses destroy you, you grieve. These are words that I’ve uttered countless times; words that are powerful and honest they remove the foundations of anyone participating in the debasing of the grieving. Some things in life cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.

This video is the link to the apology William received in Parliament, if you would like to watch.

http://videoplayback.parliamentlive.tv/Player/Index/563715bb-a8f2-41fe-9f36-642d670ed991?in=2016-01-26T12%3A37%3A45%2B00%3A00&out=2016-01-26T13%3A15%3A00%2B00%3A00&audioOnly=False&autoStart=False&statsEnabled=True



www.justgiving.com/williamoscarmead

You were only one, but….

…Your smile was the most captivating I have ever seen.
…Your smile made me smile.
…Your eyes came alive when you smiled.
…Your eyes were full of love and trust.
…Your eyes emanated the true depth of beauty.
…Your eyes made mummy’s eyes leak.
…Your little face made mummy’s heart burst under the pressure of love.
…Your presence allowed mummy to feel entirely at ease with the world.
…Mummy is entirely in love with you.
…Giving birth to you defined me.
…When you arrived my soul was purged of any hurt.
…You fixed me and were the glue that held mummy together.
…When I cuddled you, you made everything ok.
…You gave me moments I wanted to freeze in time.
…You gave me ten little fingers and ten little toes that mummy could count.
…You gave mummy a cute button nose that she could ‘beep, beep’.
…You allowed me to sit up to the wee hours and watch you sleep.
…You were that little baby my arms had longed to cradle.
…You always kept your hat and gloves on like a good boy.
…You had already decided you didn’t like broccoli.
…You knew how to be perfectly cheeky.
…You allowed mummy to act silly.
…You were the little person I could make up silly nicknames for.
…I have never giggled so much as when we were together.
…You had mummy wrapped around you chubby little finger.
…Being wrapped round your chubby little finger was the best place to be.
…We had our very own family meal (with no broccoli).
…When you learnt something new, mummy would feel nothing but accomplishment.
…You taught me how to be patient.
…You taught me that the little things are the things that matter.
…You taught mummy not to be selfish.
…You made mummy realise that she is a good mummy.
…You gave mummy the best job.
…You taught me what it is to love unconditionally.
…You showed me what pure and unguarded love is.
…You taught me a kind of love that has no boundaries, that is limitless and endless.
…Mummy knew she would never be alone.
…Mummy has never worried about anything as much as she worried about you.
…You are the beat in my heart and the pulse in my veins.
…Losing you has given me courage that I never thought I had.
…Your life and your existence taught me endurance to continue.
…Losing you has made mummy feel agonising pain and heartache.
…Losing you has made mummy very forgiving and compassionate of others.
…Losing you changed me.
…Losing you has destroyed me.
…You are the reason I love and the reason I’d die.

When mummy looked at YOU she knew that she had got one thing absolutely perfect.

Your death sparked feelings I never knew existed;
and I want YOU; not feelings about you.


www.justgiving.com/williamoscarmead