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.