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.