Over the past few days, I haven’t felt capable of living without my son physically in my arms. I have struggled to understand why I should have to. To grasp the point of it all. How, why, this terrible thing has happened to our family. This kind of stuff happens to other people. Not us. It isn’t fair.
The thing is, I know that I can live, that I can survive. I know that I need to live in the honour of my son, with his spirit strongly in tow. The moments when I feel able to are increasing in frequency. I can break a smile. I can laugh. I can talk to my little boy, knowing in my heart that he and I are one. If you ask me how I am doing in these moments, I may even say “ok”. Not that I am at peace, or that I understand any of this, but that I am surviving. In that moment, I am surviving.
However, there are times when I do not feel able to survive. To breathe, to live, to understand. To do anything without my son cradled in my arms. These moments are unpredictable. They are harsh. They hurt. They taunt, reminiscent of a childhood bully who feels the need to remind you of your inadequacies, of your pain. When you are down, they are stood, ready with a handful of salt. Sometimes a grain at a time, other times the whole fistful at once. It fucking hurts.
I look at a photo and I ache to reach into the photo and embrace my little boy. To rest my lips on his forehead, embrace, and whisper soothingly that everything will be ok. That, shhh, mummy is there and he can be at peace. I can feel the kiss placed upon his soft furrowed brow. I can hear myself saying the words. It isn’t enough. I want more. I need more. Why can’t I have more.
But, I know that I can’t. I will never be able to hold my son again. I will never get to kiss him again. I will never hear him laugh. I will never hear him cry. A reality that picks me up and throws me to the ground, over and over. And over. Again. Each time, it hurts just the same as the time before. My wounded heart, left battered, in need of care. A moment’s rest until the next realization: your son died.
That is the thing about grief. It is relentless. It is unpredictable. It is cruel. It will always be there, lingering and waiting.