whatiwastryingtosaywas

There's something wrong in the state of Denmark… and I think I may be it.

The sads are strange…

Every few days, lately, and today is one of them, I wake up fine. I grump to the kitchen and start preparing coffee. Somewhere between bed and there, I start crying.

Today, I vividly remembered us walking out of the hospital, seeing the funeral parlour’s van outside with the little Moses basket that at the time contained my son’s body. The driver was inside filling in forms and I remember saying: How could they leave him out here all alone? to Nick. Then a voice to one side said, He’s not alone, I’m here.

Those words brought the tears this morning and they played over and over as I cried the morning into existence.

Jiff was the voice. He’s Nick’s best friend. He didn’t want to be there. Nobody wants to be “there” for that sort of thing. That sort of thing shouldn’t happen. But he was. And for a while, while I sat inside, on a gurney of my own, in a weird, numb coldness, trying to comprehend that my son was now dead, with people trying to comfort me, even though on the face of it, I didn’t need comforting, he stood outside – being there.

I’m not sure people understand what being there means. I’m not sure being there is a choice for the most part. I think mostly you’re just in the right place at the right time and that combination can bring immense relief to the people you’re unknowingly there for at the time.

I digress. The fact is, the sads have been coming more frequently. So much is happening in our lives. To you, they’re all ordinary things. New cars being forced on you. Wedding planning. The frightening promises  you’ve made to try and have another baby. To me, they’re disloyal. I should not be living. I should not be functioning without my boy. I should not have left his side that night or any other time during his short life. I should have died with  him.

To moms who are going through this, or who have recently taken the slip way into Sad Street, it’s going to be weird forever. Some days you wake up crying and you don’t have a memory to blame. You’re going to be fine some days. Some days, you might forget you ever had a baby (I know… how dare I admit this!). Some days, you can focus on nothing aside from the mindfuck that reminds you he was here and now he’s not. Some days, it’s easy to laugh. Others, it’s easier to pretend to.

There’s nothing simple about this. Don’t try and make it simple and don’t listen to people who try and simplify it. Do cry though when you’re body needs to – and don’t let the guilt that comes with living creep into your cells. You’re a different kind of human now.

John and the giant…

I was feeling pretty fucking sorry for myself yesterday. I wrote a blog and everything. It was dark. With not a drop of optimism to lighten it. It’s been a rough time for both my finances and my hopes. Life has taken the latter by the legs and pretty much swung them into every hard object it could find until all they could do was drag themselves along hoping I would just let them die, already. And the former are taking a knock because we wanted a dog, we bought a house for three and are now only two, and we chose to make a proper, royal-esque go of this wedding thing.

So I moaned and felt horrendously sorry for me in that blog. And then drafted it. I was lucky enough to have Nick sitting around and the sitting around turned into me offloading onto him. Crying the ugly cry. Hearing the words of encouragement and support. And then feeling a bit better.

But it was only when I got home a short while ago (we have no electricity at work, welcome to SA) and found out that the man who tends our garden has had a migraine for two days and is still slogging away in the hot sun so he can earn his keep that I felt different. Not  better different at first. Shitty different at first. Then better different.

A few weeks ago, a taxi pulled away suddenly while he was still getting out of it and he twisted his wrist. He still had to go to work – manual labour – through all of it. He insisted he was better by the time he got to us, in spite of our telling him to go home and rest on paid leave or whatever the equivalent of that is for part-time “employees”.

All John wants to do is farm. He owns a smallhold in Zambia and is slowly building a home on it. Both John and his wife, Mo, work for us and when we can (prior to the finances taking a flying leap from a high cliff), we help him buy bricks or roof slates.

John and Mo live in Diepsloot, which for the non-Saffers is a township near our home. I don’t even want to drive by it, let alone live in it. And they are both immigrant workers, which puts them in danger when the locals decide it’s time to beat them into going back home to free up jobs the locals don’t really want to do anyway.

I don’t want John to be a part of my perspective. I want John to have his farm, grow his mielies and be with his children and wife – happy and proud of the life he’s built – never suffering from migraines again and certainly not tending gardens for lazy people in expensive homes and lavish suburbs.

No, I don’t want John to be a part of my perspective but today, he is. He is also the recipient of schedule “impressive” headache medication. My gratitude extends further than my wallet but I want to be more like him even though we could not be more different.

I’m going to find a way to help him build his dream. I don’t know how just yet. Maybe Givengain will finally open its causes to South Africans wanting to do good with a very valuable dollar. Maybe I’ll host a fundraiser, though the gods know people are tired of me and my fundraisers.

And, just like John today (and, of course, because of Nick yesterday and always), I will find a way to make the dreams I had come true too.

I miss you…

It still happens. I still catch sight of a photo, remember you were here when each photo was taken, remember you breathed and drooled and pooped and cried, remember you’re now dead. No more. Not here. Not breathing. And I always end up imagining how that felt for you – not breathing anymore. Were you scared? Did it feel normal? Did you panic? You were so young, a baby. What did you know? Maybe to you, this was just something else that was happening to you right in the now. I doubt it. I think you panicked. I think you worried that nobody was able to fix this. And then I think… maybe there was nothing. And that still breaks me.

And I’m surrounded by people, hell, at times I’m one of them, who are drawing air into their lungs and are completely ungrateful for it. They use this air to talk about themselves, their achievements, their shit – so important is this waste of breath and life. They watch their kids keep up with the old breathing thing, and it doesn’t seem wondrous or miraculous to them.

If you were here, breathing, I think I’d spend every minute of every day just watching your chest rise and fall.

I promised the next time I wrote I’d try for positive. For the most part, I’m okay and, to be honest, I don’t need to write when I’m okay. But today, this week, it’s like the wave went away for a long, long time and now it’s ebbing back (or flowing, whichever is right). I don’t know why… it could be I need a reminder, perspective on what is actually important in life.

But it doesn’t feel like a reminder – it feels like cold blood rushing to my feet. It feels like a breath caught in my throat. It feels like I have to force myself to inhale cos it’s not ever going to be that easy to follow in your footsteps. It feels exactly like it felt that morning so long ago. Nothing is different. I’m not better at handling it when it happens. I’m the same shitty at handling it.

I’m not strong. And you’re still gone. And, with every part of me that pains in ways I cannot describe at times like this; with a hugeness that is bigger than anything I could measure – I miss you.

Were you ever even here?

People who follow this blog will know I have a quiet room that I created out of your nursery where I was supposed to go to be quiet with you or think about you or just be quiet, depending on where I’ve been in this journey. In it are various items that help trigger memories – good and bad – from the clothing you were wearing when you died, to you hairbrush and the last of your bum cream. I’d forgotten how powerful this room is… again.

I walked into the room for the first time in a while yesterday. I was grumpy with your dad and I wanted to read and maybe nap before everyone arrived for lunch.

But I felt such a shock of sadness run through me as I realised I’d pushed you so far into the back of my mind that it was almost as though you’d never existed at all.

Reading this, you’ll either understand this kind of mind fuck or you won’t.

It’s the same mind fuck you fall into when you become convinced that you killed your baby. That something you did made him decide to go away. That regardless as to how little you think of The Secret, perhaps it is a real thing and you worrying that your baby was going to die made it happen. That you really, when it comes down to it, didn’t do everything you could to keep him alive. Maybe we fought too much and he just didn’t want to grow up in this family. Maybe we introduced him to people too soon. Maybe I didn’t take the fact that he was really, REALLY fucking sick seriously enough. Maybe I should have asked more questions about his heart instead of just believing the doctors when they said everything was going to be okay. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Nothing for it now… these mind fuck moments are going to come – as much as I accept this, I must accept that shock will come with it. I’m going to forget and remember my son frequently. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism…

But we have some light today, in that more often now, when we do talk about Hudson, we can actually remember bits that make us laugh. We were talking the other day… I had a chest thing and was coughing weirdly. Out of nowhere – a cough. And Nick was kidding that I was putting it on. I reminded him that the master of the put on was our son and we laughed as we remembered his favourite nurse…

This nurse at Sandton (this was during the bacterial pneumonia stay, not the heart op) used to poke fun at him when he did his “I’m not happy about this, I should be crying but I’m not unhappy enough to make the tears” cry; it was like a loud “Ach!” noise – he always did this cry with her because he knew who she was and she wasn’t one for cooing. Looking back, I think she was trying to cheer us up. He may have been unimpressed but she wasn’t going to let that bring us down after days filled with vomit, fevers and heart monitor beeps – he was up, he was chatty, he was not puking or feverish. He was on the mend and she needed to remind us of this instead of let us get carried away with every squeak.

Every time I go to Sandton, which is quite often as most of our doctors are there, I want to stop by the paed ward and tell her he’s gone… but I can never build up the courage – I’m not sure I would survive seeing her face fall.

I may never go downstairs and talk to her but I will keep blogging because it’ll make sure that if I ever totally forget there is something here to remind me.

I’m feeling pretty fucked up…

Everything’s fine. I eat. I sleep. I carry on. But everything feels pretty fucked up anyway.

I guess I’m not a part of anything, choosing rather to stand at the outside of it all looking in. I remember very little and feel really stupid a lot of the time because I can’t speak intelligently about anything anymore. There’s a lot of talk about stuff I should do but nothing ever happens. Very little is progressing and I can’t blame anyone but myself for the stuck-ness.

I can’t remember the last time I felt excited about something. And it scares me how dead and dull I feel inside.

Yesterday I noticed Hudson’s photos again. They’re always there but they’ve become part of the paint on the walls – not noticeable until you really look. And again I was struck at how this just can’t be. He can’t be dead. I remember the day those were taken. He was fine. Sucking his fingers. Smiling. Breathing. He was fine!

How can it be that he’s not here anymore.

It’s weird that this still happens to me. This disbelief. This horror. This intense sadness. It’s all fresh again.

I guess I should be grateful. In return for these odd days, I have a kind of neutral peace for the most part. For the most part I don’t see the photos or the paint. I just carry on.

But there’s something wrong. I feel as though I’m on the edge of something. That something needs to budge or I’ll fall off. It’s constant tension and anxiety and, to be honest, the tears and sadness are a welcome respite.

I want my life to be normal and meaningless again. I want to care again. I don’t want to live in fear of loving something or someone cos they could die any minute. I’m not living. I’m existing. I’m avoiding life and the living required to be a part of it. I want it all to mean something again.

I want to be normal again.

This post is depressing. I am depressed. But I’m not going to off myself… don’t worry

I’ve become obsessed with death…Mine. A friend of a friend’s. A well-known football player that I’ve never met. An old friend who I haven’t seen in years. A good work friend. My son. I think of death often. It seems to plague my thinking, planning, sleeping.

Whilst drying my hair, I’ll think things like: “Well, she doesn’t have to worry about ever having to do this again.” Same goes for teeth brushing. Coffee making. Cooking dinner. Eating food. Headaches. I spend time Facebook stalking recently deceased people I’ve never met. It’s embarrassing how curious I am about what they did with their last few days on earth, trying to find out what it was that took them in the end.

I often scrutinise my timeline wondering if I’d be okay with the last few posts people would see if I were to suddenly drop dead (as a surprisingly high number of people tend to do).

My mother used to say that she was jealous of dead people because they were out of it all. They didn’t have to deal with the shit that can be life anymore. I used to think this macabre and incredibly depressed of her. But now I see what she was saying… I’m terrified of dying and yet it is the only true escape.

When death becomes you, every ache is cancer. This cough? Well, if it doesn’t disappear soon, I’m going to. Every headache is a stroke. Taking exercise is a risk.

Life is short.

I keep saying it. And, while it’s true, of course, it’s not something people necessarily want to be reminded of.

I can’t help it.

I watched the shortest of short lives unfold. I wasted the days leading up to the end. I feel a guilt and a panic about doing this again at all times. What if Nick dies in his sleep? What if I do? I should be much skinnier because I am never at rest. Never at peace. Even lying prone on the couch, my insides are always tense, I am rarely comfortable and my tummy hurts. (What stage is this, Kubler-Ross?)

It’s one thing living this way. You do more, you say yes more, you spend with less concern, and you brush heart-sore memories to one side and try to be happy more. I suppose, for what they’re worth, you have more memories as a result but what are memories but another potential source of sore and a reminder of loss?

And then you get the what if… just what if… this life isn’t as short as you think/hope/dream/fear?

We’re six days away from the two-year anniversary of my son’s death. I could copy and paste my post from last year this time. I still don’t know what to do with this. How depressing is that? My beautiful son is dead. Still. Hope is still elusive – something you desperately need to carry on but that eludes you at every turn. I still haven’t died the romantic death of mothers and fathers before me who just couldn’t live with their broken hearts and left this world in a subconscious and yet earnest attempt to be with their babies. But this fascination with death, I wonder, may just mean I’m waiting for this.

Another new normal for me is that everyday things that make normal people very excited, sad, angry or blessed feel like chains around my throat. And as a result, over the past few months the need to run away from all of this has become quite urgent.

While it ebbs and flows, it is constant. I would like so much to be in a place where this doesn’t hurt anymore. That “sliding doors” choice which ended in everything being okay. Where I live in a world with a healthy two-year-old boy who wants to be able to poop in a big toilet now, even though his little legs can’t reach yet and has long conversations with his mother because that’s what makes him happy and she fulfilled. Where going to work every day, making plans with people or not making plans with people and cooking dinner doesn’t feel like a horrendous waste of precious, precious time.

But I didn’t turn left at the sliding door. I turned right. And trying to figure out what I do with this choice now is enough to make you mad.

It’s no surprise I want to run away, really. I just wish it were that simple.

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

So I woke up this morning and my brain was filled with images of Hudson sitting in his bumbo for the first time.

Please don't use this photo or copy it and do something horrible with it. Thanks

Please don’t use this photo or copy it and do something horrible with it. Thanks

These were some of the last photos we ever took of him. He was shy and proud, wobbling back and forth – at one point I thought myself a bad mother for not worrying about whiplash – alternating from giggling to sucking his shirt shyly when he finally figured out what it is he was supposed to be doing in there.

At some point during this memory, without realising it at first, I started to cry. I ended up crying til I gasped for air. I cried til I dirtied my hair with what felt like an unending stream of salty water. I cried til I began worrying about waking Nick, who was sleeping in the lounge, and our new housemate, Milo who was snoring in the larder. Then I stopped. And I was okay.

For the longest time I have felt nothing. I have avoided sad feelings altogether. I’ve even made jokes about this journey. I’ve been wanting to take down some of his photos (that hasn’t changed), I’ve avoided the conversation about and risk of falling pregnant again but Nick and I are better. But I’ve successfully not cried like this for what feels like a long time.

And I was okay this morning because I realised I’m not a robot. And I was okay with the reconfirmation of the fact that I have absolutely no control over this grief. And that that’s okay. It’s okay.

Every day, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, who I’m talking to, awake or sleeping, every day I’m sitting at the edge of the ocean – some days the grief laps softly at my toes, easy to ignore, other times the wave laps at my knees leaving salty crystals that make my skin itch, and I’ll have a harder time ignoring the sads, but it’s mornings like today, where the waves come in at speed, knocking you over from the head down, that you remember you’re in this for life.

Two weeks, two months or two years later, you can still be completely and utterly floored by it and that’s not going to change, probably ever. My meis was right, the only thing that changes is the frequency.

But there’s hope. You do feel better. The knock-down-oops-I-didn’t-see-you-there-waves won’t come as often and you’ll be readier for them every time they do come.

Doesn’t make it suck any less. My son’s dead and what I have in return is an amazing capacity for sadness and I’m never going to be allowed to forget any of that.

But I’m still okay.

Of birthdays, shrines and trying to help people…

So it was your birthday the week before last – or was it? I can never tell what is healthy in as far as ‘celebrating’ a dead child’s birthday. Should it be acknowledged (yes) and how (I have no idea). Your birthday was three days before mine so I took some time off work and on my birthday, raised a glass to both of us. I thought about what kind of two year old you might have been. I spent time reflecting and thinking about you. Mostly, I just felt sorry for myself.

I’m two years older now than I was when I had you and NOTHING in my life has changed. I’m sad. I’m less capable of putting up with shit, which makes my job (PR) really difficult to come to terms with every day.

Nothing is better – not my job, not my life, not my relationship, not my car, not my house. I hadn’t noticed, and it kind of goes for most areas of my life, but we’ve just left our house to get along without us and it’s kind of scrappy looking lately. Doing anything to fix it would mean breaking with the Groundhog day that is our lives so we just carry on and blind ourselves to the cracks and the broken shit as much as we can.

When you were alive and then very quickly after you died, our house filled up with photos of you. I’ve realised it’s a shrine. Breaking that shrine down is disloyal and a proper show of avoidance but living with it is becoming uncomfortable too. And as slowly as I’m clearing away pieces of Hudson, people are adding to them. As sweet and endearing as that all is, I’m frustrated. On Saturday, when I acknowledged our birthdays, there were new faces in my home – for the first time I looked at it from their perspective and I died a little inside.

We’ve been forcing images of our son onto everybody, including ourselves, for so long that I don’t even see them anymore. And the worst part is when I suddenly do see them again – it’s shocking to the system. It’s cold blood. It’s May 17th at 01:30 in the morning all over again. It’s the hospital stays. It’s the surgery. It’s the scar. It’s the tired, begging eyes imploring me to remove the tubes. It’s the dead weight of the sleep induced to help him get through the first few days. It’s the weak, voiceless cry when he woke. How long do I relive those memories? And will the good memories ever come back?

Urgh.

I actually lied up top there. I said nothing had changed. But we did try and start an awareness organisation in Hudson’s honour. I’m seriously thinking of shutting that down. It’s taking too long. We’re not reaching the right people. It’s very taxing on my spirit and soul and I don’t think I can do it for much longer.

The begging and pleading people to help – begging my team at work to speak to me, begging the guys who designed our web site to update it, begging people to attend our events – I’m not this person; I don’t guilt people into doing things – I expect them to give a shit because they should.

The money – we’ve lost so much money – we’ve made many costly mistakes relying on advice from people we shouldn’t have relied on, we’ve lost money we’ve raised and money of our own that I cannot afford to have lost, I’m tired of being penniless and I’m tired of owing money.

The seemingly insurmountable task of trying to get people who aren’t affected by CHDs (insert obligatory messaging here “but have a 1 in 100 chance of becoming affected by it at any given point in their lives”) to give a shit and trying to reach the people who are affected… it’s all too hard.

I’m tired.

I’ve distracted myself by thinking I’m making a difference for almost two years. And I know people have been touched but it’s not enough to make the daily reminder worth it. Right now – I’m just too tired. People with voices don’t care. Even mothers of CHD kids think I’m breeding panic and fear (let me not even speak about the medical professionals who would very quickly see me stuffed into a small room than hear what we’re trying to say). I’ve tried to rally interest in the public to help us but really, it’s only our friends who are willing to do what they can and they already know everything they’re going to know about this thing.

I shared my feelings with a mentor at work the other day; I said I was thinking of closing up shop. She said I shouldn’t give up on my passion. I only realised right now, as I am writing this piece, that The Hudson Initiative is not my passion. CHDs are not my passion. Other people’s kids are not my passion. My passion is and will always be my son. He’s not here. He’s not benefitting from this exhausting, unfulfilling, lonely journey.

I don’t think I’m a big enough person anymore to care about other people’s babies. If they don’t want to know, why the fuck should I care? Why should I share and write and urge and cajole and plead and beg people to help me help them? Why not just let them find out what congenital heart defects are the way they’re supposed to – the way I did? I’m serious. I’m not going to finish this post with a “because I know better, because if they’re forewarned and fore-armed, their kids stand a better chance of living and not dying like mine did”.

Right now, I want this to not be my daily worry. I don’t want to have to share news from around the world where laws are changing and babies are being saved but nothing changes AT ALL in my country. I don’t want to have to see the absolute apathy on my son’s initiative’s facebook page towards anything except my weekly dip into the sad bowl where I share a photo and a memory (which are the only posts that garner any interest). If that’s what it is, I’ll change the page to a grieving page where I share things with people who don’t talk to each other and live there. The rest of it… I just don’t know anymore.

All I know is I want my son back. I want the life I was supposed to have.

This isn’t it.

How do you plan a baby after Hudson?

I haven’t blogged in a while. Things have been hectic at work; when I get home I just want to sleep and when I get to work, I just want to get through the day.

But one thing has changed. We’re thinking of having another baby.

A short while after Hudson died, I said to his father: we’re either going to have to have another baby or we’re going to have to travel cos I can’t go back to what we were before. I don’t know where that came from; you can be a bit crazy after your child dies, I suppose, but in a way I was clearer than I’d been in a while and, as it turns out, I really can’t go back to what we were before.

We’ve been heading in that direction for a while now. As many parties as we can squeeze into our lives; as much distraction with not a hell of a lot happening in between. And I’m unhappy about it.

Truth is, I’m surrounded by all these people, who I adore and love. I share my life with a wonderful man with extraordinary capacity for love and affection and my family is alive and well. But I’m lonely. I’m lonelier than I’ve ever been before. I did not know loneliness before losing my baby. Hudson filled my world in a way that no other human ever could. Even in death, he is my priority and he fills my thoughts. Where is he? Is that ringing in my ears still him or should I be seeing a doctor? Who is that kid in the photos that adorn our walls and rooms? Why isn’t he here anymore?

The problem with this loneliness is the ambivalence created by the only way to fix it. How do you even think of a new baby after Hudson? Do I want another baby? Are the risks involved with spermatifying one of my ageing eggs worth it? If we do have a child, will I even sleep for the first year?

Hudson’s Congential Heart Defect wasn’t genetic, which means the chances of us having another CHD baby are minimal (1-4%); same as everybody else’s but there are other risks associated with babies – Down’s, SIDS, choking, flu. It’s fuckery most heinous.

When you think about everything that *can* go wrong, it’s difficult to understand why people actually choose to do this. We’re fucking terrified on one side of the fence and desperate on the other – it’s a shit place to be, in case you’re wondering.

And then there’s the question: why am I doing this, actually? Is the new baby going to be a replacement child? I know on an intelligent level that no one could replace my first-born but, in truth and in reality, he’s gone and if another baby comes along, they’ll be here where he is not – technically and by dictionary terms, a replacement. I make an effort to use the words “brother or sister” when talking about a new baby because that’s what they’ll be but, in essence, I’m replacing somebody I’ve lost. I’m filling a void so vast that people who have never lost a child just couldn’t understand the size of it.

James Newton writes in “Destiny of the Souls” that the loss of a child is unfathomable and even he doesn’t understand the reasons it happens (on a soul journey level). He then says that he believes that the lost soul will return to its mother. When I read that line, I was so filled with hope that I actively started talking about a new baby. Is it Hudson I’m hoping for?

Like I said, fuckery.

To close, I think that rather arbitrary sentence, said many months ago, is one of the things that has kept me going.

I know on a base level that if I don’t have a little person (ideally one I helped make) in my life soon, this grief will turn into my child. And I’ll nurture it and grow it and it will consume me. I think I’ll end up hating myself, hating Hudson’s dad, hating the fact that my life does not include the one thing I really need it to – someone other than me to care about; someone young enough to reasonably demand and rightfully expect my attention whenever and however they like. Unlike the rest of the world who are really big and ugly enough to look after themselves.

Regardless as to how this is settled, every month, when another egg makes its way out of my fallopian tubes, I cry. Every month, when the squishy, uncomfortable part of my cycle concludes, it feels as though I have lost something greater than a bunch of cells, I have lost the potential and the promise of life being okay again.

Don’t worry, I bore me too…

I haven’t blogged in some time. I worry that I only blog when I’m at my lowest but, to be honest, it’s the only time I really need to share. I also worry that sharing when I’m up might seem disloyal. When I think on this sensibly, the intelligent side of my brain says: who the fuck cares? Say what you like.

I like this side of my brain… it swears too much but it’s got my best interests at heart.

A few weeks ago, I posted to my son’s Initiative’s facebook page and said, basically, that I had decided to start sloughing off the peeling, cracked flakes of guilt that clung to me; that I had decided to start trying to live outside of grief again. I think it only fair to try and be true to his memory and what’s not true to his memory is living in a dark, gloomy place with no hope for the joy of life and no hope for the tomorrow that keeps coming no matter how hard I prayed that it wouldn’t.

But keep coming it does. And keep going we do.

It’s Spring in South Africa and very differently to last year, I can feel the warmth again. I opened all the windows in our home today and felt the difference in the texture of the air. Even in Hudson’s room, the air changed. I know this sounds silly but Spring is my favourite season for all the yawny old reasons and I don’t remember it from last year. I don’t remember the last time I felt naturally warmed; organically revived.

I danced in public whilst sober the other day – a song came on, it moved me and I didn’t fight it. This is big for me. Hudson and I spent most of our time together listening to music and when my favourite songs play there aren’t many I don’t associate with him and it’s been impossible to associate the joy I felt both before and with Hudson to them anymore. When I remember him staring quizzically at the Thompson Twins as they spun right round baby right round as if to say: “what are these people on, woman” I still cry – he was so judgey and spot on even at four months, just like his mum. 

But, I’m starting to hear the music again and not all of those memories make me cry.

Last year, this time, if you’d said I’d feel better I’d have nodded, said thanks while silently telling you to go away or writing you off in a more sweary way because you a) didn’t get that I didn’t want to be better, I just wanted my son back and b) didn’t understand that simple phrases weren’t good enough or c) or d) or e)…

But better is what you feel – it’s a survivor thing. Not great. Probably not hopeful just yet. But better. And better is all a grieving parent needs. Hope is all a grieving parent needs.

So I guess to end this properly I need to say it again, as boring or repetitive as I might seem, whatever your grieving friend has said or done in the depths of his or her grief… don’t give up on them. They’ll come back one day and they’ll need you again and if you can be strong enough to jump into their new normal, it’ll all be a little more “better” because of you.