A life so precious …

I’m not an extrovert and am certainly not an outspoken person. In fact, I am the complete opposite. But following an incident that happened yesterday which left me terrified and angry, I feel like I need to write it out of me, to help ease these feelings. This has been one of my coping mechanisms since losing my little boy, Ned, last year.

For many of you who know me personally, you were there yesterday, at Aberystwyth rugby club, for a special day in memory of Eifion Gwynne. For those who don’t know me personally, but who read my blog, I’ll briefly fill in some facts.

A charity rugby match was played between ex-Aberystwyth players (my husband being one of them) and ex-Wales players in memory of Eifion, who died tragically last year, leaving behind a young wife and family.

At half-time, the children’s local rugby team were to play a game of tag rugby. As parents of those children who were going to play, we handed them over to the care of the coaches before the game began. I have a very busy 2 year old child and was unable to keep an eye on my eldest son, Tomi, 9 years old, who I knew was safe with the coaches.

No one could foresee what was to happen, but a tackle resulted in two of these huge rugby playing men falling onto two of the children, because they were sitting on the touchline, not safely behind the barrier. I didn’t see it happening, but my friend told me that Tomi was one of the ones who had been hurt. I will say here, before going any further, that Tomi is thankfully ok.

Going back to that moment, my heart stopped. I went into a severe anxiety attack as I ran to where he was. My boy. My vision of him lying under the weight of two huge men.

Tomi was drained of colour from shock when I got to him. He had a stud mark on his shoulder, grazing down his neck and face and bruising already forming on his upper arms. But he was ok. Another young boy was taken to hospital by his mum, due to a cut on his head.

There were whisperings later when the incident was flippantly tossed aside by many that I had over-reacted. I was told that some had been saying they didn’t understand my reaction. This is why I’m writing this post. This is why I still have anger burning away inside me. I did not over-react. I have a mental illness and one of its symptoms is suffering with severe anxiety attacks.

I have lost my 5-year old son and I try so hard to keep my fear of any harm coming to my other sons hidden. But in that instance, in that second when I heard Tomi’s name, I couldn’t hide my fear.

I haven’t written this post as a judgement of those who were in charge of the children. No one could foresee that anything would happen – thankfully a lesson can be learned without there being a serious outcome. We all know now that the children should have been sitting behind the barrier.

Today, due to my existing PTSD, I am ‘re-living’ that moment over and over – but the outcome is different. I see my son lying motionless, chest crushed, his breathing laboured. This is what PTSD does to your brain.

This I know some of you will think as being overly-dramatic, and an over-reaction to the incident. For those who do think this and are reading this, please, just for a few seconds, imagine you were me. The pain and ever-lasting effect of losing a child is beyond words.  So please don’t judge me for the need to write this post, or for the way I panicked yesterday. Like I stated, I am not judging anyone or pointing blame, as I know that a lesson has been learnt for any such event in the future.

A child’s body is fragile, their internal organs can be so easily crushed.

This I know.

A child’s life is so very precious.

This I know.

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Mirror, mirror

Mirror, mirror you tell no lies,

I see the sadness in her eyes.

I see the emptiness deep inside

which she no longer tries to hide.

With trembling fingers I gently trace

the tears that glisten on her face.

 

Mirror, mirror please make her stay

for I feel her slowly fade away.

I see the darkness, I feel her pain,

I beg to bring her back again.

The girl who smiled cos she didn’t know

of pain so deep it tears the soul.

 

Mirror, mirror you tell no lies,

I see the guilt deep in her eyes.

I see the anguish in every pore,

I know that she can take no more.

My hand breaks glass and she falls apart

like the million fragments of her heart.

Living with PTSD

As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I’ve decided to write briefly about one of the conditions I suffer with. I have written about Psychotic Depression, which I also suffer from, and have blogged openly about my journey through grief; sometimes in prose, sometimes through poetry.

Depression and anxiety have been a part of me, my life for the past few years. I have developed PTSD since losing my 5 year old son, Ned, in a car crash last year.

I was aware of the term PTSD before. I had read a little about it, heard it discussed, primarily with regards to soldiers returning from war. I never really understood it, not until it grabbed hold of me and has been eating away at me for the past year.

The diagnosis was made by my psychiatrist a couple of months after the horrific crash that shattered my whole world. I have suffered a massive trauma and am unable to ‘recover’ from this. I have counselling and medication to help, and am due to start psychology next month.

But what does it mean? What is it like to live with this disorder?

For me, it means re-living the car crash over and over and over. Even though I wasn’t there, I can visualise the accident so clearly and can’t get the horrific images out of my head. I see my little boy thrown forward with such force in his seat that he died from catastrophic liver damage. I wake in the night wailing for my little boy.

When I’m driving, I ‘see’ the car in front of me veer over the white line and crash head-on. My heart races, my stomach clenches with fear, I start to sweat and tears fall.

Day after day after day I relive this horror.

I search for answers to the relentless battering of questions in my head. Why? Why did it happen? Why couldn’t they save him? What have I done that’s so bad that I’ve had my little boy taken from me? Why did I let him go? Why wasn’t I there for my little boy? Why wasn’t I there to hush and soothe and hold his little hand? Why? Why? Why? It’s like an angry swarm of wasps buzzing in my head. I pull at my hair, I bang my head against the wall but they won’t stop. It’s torture.

I’ve been told that I have ritualised certain behaviours in order to cause myself more pain. I visit the roadside every month to place flowers. I visit Ned’s grave every night to tell him how sorry I am. I can’t not do these things. They’re all I can do for my son now; the only care that I can show him.

I’ve been asked if I believe that I should suffer? Yes, yes I do believe that I should. I let my little boy die. I failed him in the worst possible way. He didn’t get to live beyond 5 years of age because of me – that’s what PTSD tells me.

It is, quite simply, a living hell. I’ve tried self-harming behaviours to relieve the pain, but they don’t work. They numb me for a short while, nothing more.

Perhaps psychology will help me better come to terms with what has happened to us. I don’t know. The only certainty that I do have is that my heart has been shattered; an explosion of fragments like the stars in the night sky that happened when I was told that my little boy had died. And I know that my heart won’t be fixed until the day I am with my little Ned again. When that will be, I don’t know. But the day will come when I have my precious angel back in the safety of my arms, and when that day comes, I will never let go of him again.

 

 

Dad

Although you have been taken, too soon to say goodbye,

I’ll remember all the happy days despite the tears I’ll cry.

You’ve always been right here, to lead and guide the way,

To help us find our place in life in your quiet, gentle way.

 

Your heart was filled with kindness, your soul a soul of gold,

I’m filled with treasured memories that I’ll forever hold.

And though my heart is broken, sorrowed tears I’ll always shed,

Deep inside my tortured soul I know you’re with my Ned.

 

Ned loved his taid so dearly, for his visits he would wait,

To pounce upon and play with him – taid’s special little mate.

Not really into football, performing more Ned’s style,

His ‘awesome moves’ and made-up songs would always make you smile.

 

My place for now is here, with Tomi and with Cai,

Battling cruel anguish and that pain-filled question why.

But I know you’ll hold Ned near and keep him safe for me,

Until my final breath I’ll take and together we will be.