This will be my final blog post of the year. And what can I say that I haven’t already said? It has been the most horrific year of my life. Since March the 25th, the day my beautiful, innocent little boy died, I have been living in a dark, dark nightmare from which I have been unable to see any light. I have been to depths that I would never have imagined experiencing.
2016 was going to be a new start for me. I finally made the decision to give up my long-term teaching position because I wanted to get better – I have been suffering with depression and anxiety for the past four years. Posting that resignation letter was the start of the weight lifting. I could breathe a little easier. I had no money but so what. For me, I have always said that before anything else, I am Mam. I chose to have children because I wanted them. So why was I staying in a job that was taking up all my spare time, making me snappy and miserable and absolutely no fun to be around? It was doing nothing but make me ill. It saddens me that it took a complete breakdown for me to realise this.
My debut book was publishing in September. I wanted to write more books and I finally had the time to do that. For the first time in a very long time, with my three boys around me and my book to look forward to, I was happy.
Little did I know that on Good Friday, my whole world would shatter into a million pieces. Little did I know that when my little boy waved at me through the window of his grandmother’s car at 10am, that that would be the last time I would see him alive.
I’ve blogged about my journey through grief so I won’t repeat it here. The only part I will repeat is that the best advice I’ve been given from that tragic day is to simply breathe. I still get frequent panic attacks, but I am slowly learning how to breathe through them. When the pain is unbearable, I try to focus solely on my breathing. Some days, that’s all I can manage. Other days, the technique of ‘distraction’ can work for me.
Having my debut book publish this September has been such a strong focus of distraction for me. I have been able to do a few school visits. I have been able to do a few book signings at shops. And from the very beginning of this terrible journey I have been on, I have been able to write.
I have never found it easy to express myself vocally, but I have always found it easy to write my thoughts on paper. Writing really has been my lifeline over these past nine months. Blogging about my experience has helped to release some of the inner pain and turmoil. I’ve written poems which I have never done before. And for the last few weeks, I have finally been able to get back into writing children’s fiction. This is my release. Yes, I have two counselling sessions a week which I could not manage without and yes, I continue to be on a huge amount of medication, but I am still able to write. This has proved to me that I’m a writer. I still find it hard to believe that I’m a children’s author, but I know from the very depths of my soul, that I am a writer.
So where do I go from here? How do I move on? I have no idea. I can’t plan ahead. I live hour by hour, day by day. But I do know that I have to be here. I have to be Mam to my two precious boys. I have to do everything I can to make sure that they grow up as stable adults who have been able to survive the loss of their brother, and who are able to talk openly about Ned. I have to keep Ned’s memory alive. He was only given to us for five short years, but I will make sure that we talk about him every day for the rest of my life.
I no longer have life goals. I have no resolutions to make. My life is made up of moments. Some are good, some are bad. That is how it is and how it will always be. There is no cure for grief. But with time, living with it becomes a little more bearable.
I’ll never accept my son’s death. I’ll never say a final farewell. I’ll simply wait until the time comes for me to be with my little boy again. And whilst I wait, I’ll cherish each moment I have with my other two sons. So I’ll end this blog on that note:
As Christmas brings its festive cheer,
I’ll cherish those whom I hold dear.
I’ll shed pained tears for my precious Ned,
Asleep deep in his earthen bed.