Grieving

Suffocating darkness clings to my skin

and fills me inside, there’s no place to hide.

Empty heart

but my head whirrs with whys.

Why? Why? Why?

Silent tears and silent screams

but a smile pasted on

to hide the horror behind my heavy eyes.

 

Time stands still

but life keeps moving

too fast.

Spring turns to Summer

but I’m left behind drowning in a vast ocean,

pain vice-tight and struggling to breathe.

No understanding.

Life can’t move on.

 

Who am I? Do I exist in this place where I no longer feel?

Stone cuts skin to reveal a crimson trickle

and I watch its path bleed into the ground

where you lie

waiting

for me to find my way.

But the path is blurred,

its vision comes and goes.

 

A beating heart and breathing lungs.

A handful of pills

and the certainty,

a momentary clarity that I can find you.

A hand tips,

a palm full.

Swallow.

Stop.

 

Crumpled, crying, confused.

Scared and alone.

But loved by two others

who call out

for Mam.

So here I am.

Still alive.

Grieving.

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Starting to grieve for my little boy …

Grief never stops. It is an endless wave of emotions. I will blog about the various stages of grief as I have experienced them. Grief is a unique experience for everyone, but I truly hope that someone, someday will read my words and think yes, that’s how I feel, I’m not alone. Because believe me, grief leaves you feeling like you’re drifting alone on a tiny island in a vast ocean. Grief is lonely, terribly lonely and isolating.

The days after my little boy, Ned, died, became a living nightmare. People came and went all the time – I was oblivious to them. I cried endless tears. I couldn’t eat. I didn’t understand. Where was he? Where was my beautiful little boy? I wandered the house looking for him. I crawled along the floor barely able to breathe. I was lost, empty. I couldn’t comprehend. It was hell. Every day. I had a constant ache in my stomach for my little boy. I begged to have him back. I was having daily support from the Mental Health Crisis Team and was placed on a lot of medication – day and night.

Being told that he had to have a postmortem was a new horror. I didn’t want him to be hurt any more. I wanted them to leave him alone. He’d suffered enough. That was my reasoning, that’s what a mother does. She protects her children. She keeps them from harm. I felt so agonisingly guilty that I’d let him go on that day out that I had to do everything I could to protect him from further harm. Of course, the postmortem had to be done. It took a week and a half for them to return Ned to his resting place close to us.

Planning Ned’s funeral was almost a distraction. I felt numb. It was like I was planning something for him, after which he would come home. I wanted everything to be what Ned would have wanted. One of his school teachers played the piano (I couldn’t associate an organ to Ned). One of my best friend’s mum was the vicar – she knew Ned well. We sang two of his favourite hymns from his school assembly. His headteacher gave a beautiful speech about how gifted and talented my little boy was and how popular he was with everyone. My husband gave a brave and stunning speech, which is posted on this blog.

For the two days prior to his funeral, I had been able to visit my little boy. I had talked to him, sang to him, given him his favourite teddies. I had clung on to him. Yes, he was dead, but he was there, right in front of me, my little boy. Placing his coffin in the ground was unbearable. I would never again see my Ned. I can’t put into words how painful that was, how utterly gut-wrenching and sickening. Other than the moment of knowing my son was dead, that was the worst.

The day came to its close. Everyone left and we were there, once again, a family of four. It all felt horribly wrong and I couldn’t, just couldn’t, imagine having to live without Ned. And so following the funeral started a new, different, wave of grief.

 

In Sunny Meadows

I’ve tried my best to find you, but I just don’t know the way,

I search and search through endless thoughts that fill me every day.

How do I find that special place, that place where you have gone?

How do I come and find you there? For that’s where I belong.

 

I’ve searched for signs around me, for the path that leads to you,

But my search has shown me nothing, no clue as what to do.

I’ve seen a single feather and your red kite soaring high –

They fill me with an emptiness and silent tears I cry.

 

I close my eyes and will it, just to feel you here with me –

There’s nothing but an empty hole and darkness inside me.

I hear the screech of tyres, see your eyes wide filled with fear,

And from my eyes comes sorry, as a guilty single tear.

 

I’ll never give up searching, ’till I find my way to you,

To have you in my arms again and tell you I love you.

One day I know, I don’t know when, but that’s how it will be,

In sunny meadows running free, my little Ned and me.

 

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Losing a child

This blog post is about the start of my journey through grief – the initial few hours. By writing about my journey, I hope that someone, somewhere may find comfort in my words if they have or are experiencing this hell. It’s also a way of making those who know me understand a little better what I’m going through, even though what I write will simply scratch the surface of the living horror.

On the 25th of March this year, I lost my little boy, Ned. He had just turned five years old and died in a horrific head-on collision. He was in the car with his grandmother, who also lost her life.

Being told that your child has died is the most horrifying and sickening experience anyone could ever face. When the words were said I collapsed onto the pavement and screamed and screamed and clawed at the ground.

Once I had been taken inside, there came a strange numbness, a lack of understanding and acceptance. No, he couldn’t be dead. Not my little boy. Not my little boy who was so happy and absolutely loved life. Not my beautiful little boy who had waved goodbye that morning as he set off on a family day out. Not my little boy who I loved with all my being.

I told the policewoman that she had made a mistake. I told her that they would have revived him in the back of the ambulance on the way to the hospital. She tearfully looked at me and shook her head. She told me that they had tried for an hour and a quarter at the scene to revive him, but they couldn’t. I begged her. I begged her to tell me that he wasn’t dead.

At this time, I was alone with the police. My husband had driven to the scene before knowing who was involved in the crash to try to find Nain and Ned. So it was just waiting and feeling sick and wanting to pull my hair out. I felt like I was suffocating. I paced, I sat down, I paced. It was an awful feeling of being trapped, of being held captive in this room that I didn’t want to be in. It was hot and felt airless and horror clung to my skin and I rubbed at my arms wanting it to go away.

When my husband walked through the door, about 45 minutes later, I rushed at him and said that we had to go and get Ned from the hospital. He just shook his head and I crumpled in his arms.

The next couple of hours are a blur of people coming and going as I lay on Ned’s bed crying. I physically hurt – a tightening in my stomach and chest, wanting to vomit but not able to. There were people coming in and out of the room, holding me, touching me yet I felt nothing. I had no awareness of who was there.

Then it struck me, like a punch in my stomach that took my breath away. I had to see my little boy. He was alone in the hospital and he needed his Mam.

The policewoman took me and my husband to the hospital. As we walked in, fear crept over my body and I couldn’t stop shivering. They took us to the room and said, ‘He’s in here.’ I pushed passed everyone to get to my little boy. And he was there, lying on the bed with a blanket up to his chin, looking like he was sleeping peacefully. My little boy. I clung onto him because he was there and he was my little boy and I never wanted to let go.

When we finally got home, our family left and we were alone and we just stood there. Four of us, not five. We put our other two sons to bed then crawled into bed ourselves and clung onto each other and cried. My husband finally fell asleep, but I was cursed with wakefulness.

I wandered the house all night, from room to room, searching. I lay on Ned’s bed and tried to understand. But I couldn’t. The night dragged painfully on as I sat on Ned’s bed staring at the window as silent tears streamed down my face, waiting for morning to show itself.

Morning did come and with it came the horrific realisation that I had to live without Ned.

 

Empty Spaces

There’s an empty space at the table

Across from where I should be,

But I can no longer sit and face it

Because you should be there smiling at me.

 

There’s an empty space in the car now

A space where your car seat should be,

But I can’t turn my head to look behind

Because you should be there chatting to me.

 

There’s an empty space in your bed too

Where your teddies now sit silently,

I stand there and whisper, ‘Goodnight, Nedi bach.’

But you’re not there listening to me.

 

There’s an empty space inside me

A dark hole with no end I can see,

No matter how hard I try my tears won’t dry

Because you’re not here right next to me.

 

There’s an empty space by your graveside

A space that’s reserved just for me,

And one day that space will be filled up

And together again we will be.

 

 

Please don’t ask me to be me …

Please don’t ask me to be me,

For me I can no longer be.

That person died that fateful day,

When my little boy was taken away.

 

I’ve lost a child, my little Ned,

There’ll be no end to the tears I shed.

I’m grieving and it hurts so bad,

I cannot help but look so sad.

 

Time doesn’t heal like they always say,

The pain it deepens every day.

The anger and guilt burn deep inside,

There is no place to run and hide.

 

This life I live is an empty hole,

I’m but a broken heart and soul.

I wish that I could just die too,

But that I know I cannot do.

 

So please don’t ask me to be me.

For me I can no longer be.

That person died that fateful day,

When my little boy was taken away.

 

 

 

Who Am I?

Who am I? I am not me.

I look in the mirror and see

Sunken eyes that cry

Searching for why.

I don’t understand

How I can still stand

And breathe and live,

When everything I would give

To be with you, just you and I,

So tell me please who am I?

 

Who am I? I am not me.

Without you how can I be?

I’m an empty shell

Trapped in eternal hell.

I do not feel the wind or rain

Nothing but sorrow and crippling pain.

I live a life I want no more,

Of that I’m sure.

But if I can’t crumple up and die,

Then tell me please who am I?

 

 

 

 

The Girl In The Mirror

The girl in the mirror is not me,

It’s only an image that you can see.

I may give a smile, or a wave of my hand

When at the school gates you see me stand.

 

I may be polite, say a word or two,

I may even ask how things are with you.

I’ll say that I’m fine, that’s all I can do

To hide the real horror away from you.

 

For under my skin is the real living me,

A girl filled with pain for eternity.

A girl that is nothing but a shattered heart.

A girl whose whole life has fallen apart.

 

A girl who feels nothing but sadness so deep,

That the only release is when I’m asleep.

A girl whose guilt tears will fall endlessly.

A broken girl who is no longer me.

 

The girl in the mirror is not me,

I’m the girl whose wish is to no longer be.

The girl who wants to curl up on his bed

And lovingly hold onto my sweet little Ned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That Fateful Day …

On the 25th of March, Good Friday, my 5 year old son, Ned, was going out for the day with his family on an Easter egg hunt. Tomi, my eldest, was travelling in a car with their two cousins and Uncle and Aunt, and Ned was to travel alone with his Nain. I was unable to take Ned because my youngest, Cai, who is 22 months old, needed to get to hospital as he had croup and was struggling with his breathing.

I asked Ned if he was happy to go by himself with Nain and he said, ‘Yes, I’m going to play Ben 10 the whole way.’ He grabbed his Ben 10 watch and skipped off to the car. I followed up to make sure he was belted in then stood on the doorstep and waved him off.

That was the last time I would ever see my little boy alive.

I left straight after to the hospital with Cai. There was a long wait but eventually we were seen and he was given steroid treatment. As we were leaving, my husband rang. He said that Ned and Nain had never arrived at the Easter egg hunt and that there had been an accident on the road. He said he was going to travel along the road to find them. I froze. I can’t explain the feeling. It was just an awful coldness clinging to my body and a sick feeling in my stomach.

‘Where’s Ned?’ I whispered.

My husband calmly said that they were likely to be stuck in the traffic or had got lost on the diverted route. He told me to go to Nain’s house to see if they’d arrived back there.

As I drove home, the panic was building. I knew that they were involved in the accident. Again I can’t explain the feeling, but I knew and I knew that my husband knew. Over and over I said to myself, ‘He’ll be badly hurt and the police will take me to him and I’ll stay with him and he’ll get better and everything will be fine.’ It was said like a mantra as the tears streamed down my face.

I turned onto the road where Nain lives and saw two police cars outside, one policeman and one policewoman standing at the entrance talking into their radios. I stopped the car in the middle of the road, got out and left the door open and walked up to the policewoman.

‘Where’s my boy? Where’s Ned?’ I asked.

She was crying and softly asked me to go inside.

Much of the rest I don’t remember, but I’ve spoken to the policewoman since to talk through what happened. She told me that the instant she looked in my eyes that I knew what she had to tell me. I did. I felt it. A chilling emptiness. A blackness that weighed on me. An ache in my heart so strong I clutched at my chest and struggled to breathe. I refused to go in and kept asking, ‘Where’s my boy?’

‘I’m so sorry,’ were the last words I remember her saying as I crumpled to the ground screaming and screaming and clawing at the pavement.

The next couple of hours are just a blur – not understanding and begging to be taken to my little boy.

That evening we were taken to the hospital. They opened the door of the room where he lay. I pushed passed everyone, desperate to get to my little boy. And there he was, lying on the bed, a blanket up to his chin, his eyes closed, sleeping peacefully. I touched his face and it was so cold. I said, ‘Wake up, Nedi, please wake up.’

I held onto his little body and cried and cried and cried. I wanted to make him warm again. I wanted him to open his eyes. I just wanted my little boy back. I couldn’t understand why it had happened. He was such a happy boy. Always smiling, always laughing. Adored by everyone who had ever met him. Why had he been taken? Why Ned?

I will never be able to explain the sadness that overcame my husband and I in that moment. The realisation that our little boy was dead. Gone. Taken from us so suddenly and so cruelly. It was all so senseless. How could I never see my boy again? How would I ever be able to carry on living now that my beautiful little boy was dead?

And that was it. The day that changed me forever. The day that such a big part of me died too. The day that I stopped being me.