Guilt. Blame. Hindsight.
Three things I now have. Two I wish I didn’t. One that I wish I was somehow able to have sooner, but fidget with the knowledge that this is not possible. They plague most of my thoughts these days. I try to get rid of them through my keyboard, but somehow they still manage to get back in for another round. They just cannot get enough. Their hunger, insatiable.
We have established that I overthink everything. That my rational self is unable to convince my irrational grieving mind that the narratives it builds have no foundation. That I could easy topple the structure with fact, triumphantly showing who is in control. However, with grief, you soon realize how little control you are allowed. How even the most irrational thought can be cloaked as truth.
On Monday, we have a meeting with the team that delivered Owen. The people who were present for our son’s birth, an event that due to urgency and circumstance, we were not there for. An event that so suddenly turned from expectation of elation to a traumatic experience for the three of us, Owen included. It did not play out how we had planned, as our responsibility as parents dictated it should. The birth of Owen Benjamin was never celebrated as we had dreamed. We feel robbed.
When Owen died, I was left with questions. A lot of them. Many that I struggle to articulate, but have caused great confusion and despair nonetheless. The thoughts that have led me to those three new companions I mentioned earlier.
I know that I wish I could have changed the outcome. I know that I blame myself for not knowing my son needed me, for not getting him out sooner. I know that I struggle with the knowledge that it was my body that caused Owen harm, the place he was meant to be safe. I know that knowing why will not change the fact that Owen has died. I know that there is nothing that I can do to bring him back. I know that I will always live with the pain of wishing otherwise.
These are some of the things that I know right now. The things that the guilt, blame and hindsight are allowing to fester in my irrational mind. My rational self knows that I would never have willingly caused harm to my little boy. It knows that I did the best that I could. It knows that if I had the slightest inkling of harm, I would have fought to change the outcome. It knows how much I love my son. However, it also recognizes the lack of control. At the moment, it has surrendered.
I worry that the doctors might tell me something that I am unable to forget. That somehow they will manage to change my memory of the time I spent with my son. I also worry that they won’t be able to tell me anything. That the death of our son, a healthy baby boy, may always be a mystery.
However, sometimes I hope. I hope that someday my rational self will be stronger, more able to conquer the irrational thoughts. I hope that some day I will have perspective and some sort of understanding. That somehow I will be able to forgive myself, knowing that we did the best we could have done at the time with the knowledge we had. Knowing that, while much shorter than expected, Owen lived a beautiful life full of love and that his spirit will always live on with us.