Grieving for my little boy (Part 3)

Grief never goes away but it constantly changes – without warning. I had never experienced true grief until three months ago when my little boy died. Losing a child is the worst possible grief to experience. It’s all consuming. The pain I feel is unbearable. Some days it’s hard to stay upright. The pain is both physical and mental. It’s endless.

I started craving some form of release from this crippling pain, even if just for a few minutes, because it’s there, from the second I wake up to the second I pass out at night due to medication.

The first time I managed to feel a little release was unexpected, unplanned. I was sat next to my little boy’s grave crying and saying ‘sorry’ over and over again. As I held onto the grass I picked up a sharp-edged stone. Before I even knew what I was doing, I was scratching Ned’s name into my leg. I felt nothing. I paused. The anxiety wasn’t there. I actually felt nothing – for the first time in weeks I was numb. So I carried on. The scratching got deeper. Blood started to trickle. Still nothing and it was bliss.

Once Ned’s name was clear on my leg, smiling, I hid the stone under the little plaque of his name. It was our secret. Just Ned and me. As I walked home, the pain and anxiety hit me once again, but I clung onto that tiny glimmer that I had found a way to relieve the pain just for a few minutes.

So that’s what I did, as I sat next to Ned every night. I scratched away – always Ned’s name. My wrist, my ankles, my knees. But then it stopped. It stopped numbing my pain. It was making me angry. Angry that I was sitting there making a mess of myself. It was never going to bring Ned back. And that realisation stopped it from working. It no longer numbed my raw pain, it was adding to it. I had to stop. But I desperately needed something else, anything that would stop the awfulness for a few seconds.

Sadly, I found a new form of release in taking tablets. The first time it was just a handful more than I should. The second time, a few more. I ended up in A&E having overdosed six times in the space of three weeks. My intention was never to end my life. I have two other sons who I love with all my being and would never do anything to harm them in any form. But I was taking enough to knock me out because then I didn’t feel.

The last episode was only last week, but I’ve turned a corner since then which is why I am able to write about this. I lay awake all night and thought, ‘No, I have to stop this. I have to try and live some form of life, for my two boys and for Ned. I have to keep his memory alive.’ I cried and cried, but I felt something; something other than crippling pain. It’s a tiny glimmer, this something. It’s right at the back of my head and some days I can’t find it. But there have been days in the last week when I have.

One of these days was last Friday when the cover for my debut book was released. A book with my name on it. My dream come true. A book that I will dedicate to my beautiful little Ned. Yes, it’s bittersweet because he’s not here to share in it, but it’s for him and his name will be in the book, just like he wanted.

The support I received on Twitter following the release of the cover was overwhelming and I thank every single person who sent me messages. They really do keep me going. Because after all, ‘Grace-Ella: Spells for Beginners’ is the first in a series, so I have more books to write. And on those days when I can find that tiny glimmer in my head, I truly believe that I will be able to live and write and be me. Not the old me. A new me. A new me who has words to put on the page. A new me who has two little boys physically in my life, and a very special little boy who lives in my heart.

It won’t be easy, I know that. There will be cripplingly bad days when that glimmer doesn’t exist (yesterday was one). But there will be ok days, never good any more, but ok. And when you’ve lived for three months in a dark pain-filled hole, ok is good.


Grieving for my little boy – (Part 2)

My first blog piece on my journey through grief spoke of the first two weeks following the death of my 5 year old little boy. It has now been 12 weeks since that horrific day that changed my life. My grief still clings to me like a suffocating black cloud.

The first few weeks of life without Ned are nothing but a blur. Other than the day of my little boy’s funeral, I can barely remember those weeks. I was having daily support from the Mental Health Crisis Team and it’s one Saturday that sticks in my mind, when I can actually remember a nurse being there. On this particular Saturday, the doctor had come with her and as I sat on my sofa listening to her telling me about the new medication that they were putting me on and about how she was going to be there to help me, I can remember thinking, maybe, just maybe, this person can help me. I knew that the medication would be numbing and would realistically be delaying the inevitable, but at that moment in time, I knew I couldn’t survive without it.

Even on a cocktail of strong medication, I’m still trapped in a living hell. I wake up every morning with a heavy sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It never goes. Because of this, I struggle to eat. Food sticks in my throat and I have to force it down. It can take 30 minutes to eat one piece of toast.

My anxiety has worsened to the point where I’m having at least one attack every day. I feel it coming – a pain in my chest, my heart starts to race, I start to hyperventilate. I can’t stay still so I pace round the house usually clawing at my hair wanting to tear myself out of my body. Sometimes it can pass. Sometimes with extra medication it will pass. Sometimes it leaves me in a crumpled heap in Ned’s bedroom breathing into a paper bag. That’s what I carry in my handbag these days – not a make-up bag, but a paper bag.

I visit Ned’s grave daily. I can’t stomach seeing any dead or wilting flowers there. I have nothing left to give my little boy other than tending to his grave with as much love and care as I can. And that’s where I cry. Endless tears. Day after day. I have a shattered heart. I feel the pain of it as I sit next to my little lost boy.

Then I go home, wipe away the traces of tears and act as normal as possible for my two other sons. I was told very early on that I would become a great actress. And I have. Oscar deserving so. I sit and do homework, I read with them, I bath them, I feed them, I smile, I laugh at my eldest’s stories, I laugh at my toddler’s antics. Some days I manage the school run. Yet inside, I’m nothing but a gaping big hole of darkness. Empty.

I have become terrified of leaving the house. I can’t bear the thought of being too far away from Ned (his grave is a 5 minute walk from my house). I have become terrified of people. I see my closest friends and family members, but the thought of going into town or into a shop brings on a panic attack. Home is safe. Nothing bad will happen if I sit at home and just breathe and wait for Tomi to come home from school. The days are long, endlessly so. I focus on getting through each hour. But each hour feels like a mountain to climb. On the hour, I can release my breath and say to myself, ‘That’s it, you’ve done it. Now, the next one.’ And on it goes.

I will the hours away so that it’s nighttime. I put the boys to bed. I take my meds. I crawl under my duvet and let the tears come again. I started writing poetry as I lay awake in the long night. I have never written poetry (other than at school) but I let my feelings pour out of me as raw as they were onto the page and they ended up as poems … of sorts. I’m not a poet, but they certainly seem more like poems than prose so I’ll call them poems. I started to post them on this blog, maybe to help those who know me and who read my blog understand my living hell a little better.

Writing them certainly helped for a while. It eased the nighttime anxiety. It felt like some form of release … for a while. Then the words stopped. I’d vomited my pain onto the page and had nothing left.

But it’s still there – the crippling pain, the aching anxiety, the dark cloud smothering me. Daily I have to concentrate on remembering to breathe. The cloud has darkened and I found a new form of release – the next stage of my journey through grief.



Here I Wait

As night creeps in and takes away day

I search for a way

To learn to live

And try to forgive.

Life moves at a racing rate,

But here I wait.


Morning comes with birdsong

And days so long.

When did the garden bloom?

And dappled sunlight fill each room?

The clock’s hands rotate,

But here I wait.


The anger numbs, the pain grips tight.

Tears fall throughout the night.

Waiting for tomorrow,

Days of grief and saddened sorrow.

A change of date,

But here I wait.


A year will pass and all I see

Are six birthday candles burning endlessly.

My little boy lost who can’t be found.

My tears seep deep into the ground

As I sit and it gets late,

But here I wait.