whatiwastryingtosaywas

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

Month: June, 2013

People are arseholes…

They don’t try to be.

It’s not like they walk into a room and decide: Right, this is it! My moment to shine. My time to bring on new levels of arseholery and douchebaggery and find me someone highly sensitive to test these levels out on.

Look, some people do but most don’t choose to be tactless or pratty.

No, most people don’t. But I am finding it hard to be patient.

It’s not my job to tell you how to be with me (it’s actually, if I’m not careful about choosing my words, which I’m not right now, your job as an adult to know by now) but, for the sake of my own sanity, I’ll give you this: just be.

Just be there. Just be you. Don’t advise. Don’t tell me you know how I’m feeling, unless you do and if you do, be patient with me if I interrogate you.

Don’t try and compare this to the loss of a beloved pet, friend or aunt. Yes, we could obviously find parallels but my loss is never going to be the same as your loss and my process is probably never going to be the same as yours, on any level.

Don’t fake misery. You can miss Hudson without looking poorly or down at the mouth and I can smell phoney grief from a mile these days. Most grieving parents can.

Let me talk about my son if I want to and not talk about him if I don’t want to. If I talk about him too much for you, leave. We are certainly very blessed with supportive friends and I’ll find someone with enough capacity to deal with my words soon enough.

Don’t ask me if I’m feeling better – I’m not – I have lost my son, I have not recently fallen victim to a random bout of flu. If my answer to your “how are you?” is “shitty”, accept it for what it is. If I turn away from your offer of a supportive hug, don’t take it personally. If I don’t take your calls, don’t take it personally. If I cancel on you, don’t take it personally.

If I have made you uncomfortable in my grief, or the death of my son is something you can’t handle right now, now is your chance to grow up a little. Don’t fucking ignore me. Don’t stop speaking to me. I couldn’t care if you drop a WhatsApp telling me you remember we are friends once every two weeks. It counts.

And while I’m on that point, try and remember that, whether you’ve experienced loss or not, this particular part of my and our journey isn’t about you. I’m a human being. I know how hard it is sometimes to not identify with people who are struggling. Identifying or empathising helps you figure out how to help them. This is not one of those times. This is not about you.

I’ve been demoted. The universe gave me the best job ever; it gave me a chance and I kinda blew it. I went from worrying about shaping a person to worrying about whether we have coffee in the house or not. I need people who can remind me that I’m not the worst kind of person alive today.

Use it. Don’t use it. But be kind. Even if, at least in this post, you feel I haven’t been able to return the favour.

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Today is a good day…

Taking a chance sometimes pays off.

Yesterday, I mailed 702 (one of the largest radio stations in South Africa) asking them to share our Facebook page on air in the hopes that this exposure would help us grow awareness and gain traction in our efforts around CHD Awareness Week in Feb next year.

Hudson’s story and our efforts touched the people at 702 and they are going to get properly involved. How awesome is this?

If we pull this off we’ll be able to empower mothers and save babies but I’ll also be able to keep my promise to Hudson – and that is that he’s going to be big and important.

Watch this space – and listen to the soundbite!

The seven stages of go fuck yourself…

I’ve been wondering about the stages of grief everyone always talks about. Typically, there are seven and this is where I’m at with all of them:

Shock or Disbelief

I remember the shock. When the doctor on duty came out, a la every episode of ER ever made, to tell us they weren’t going to continue resuscitation efforts on my son, I watched as his father screamed and cried whilst alternately cradling my son in his arms and beating the walls. I sat down on the gurney next to them and watched as though this were a scene in a really sad movie. I got up and kissed my son, stroked his head and stared at his feet, noticing the blue line on his nappy, which indicated the presence of pee. Then sat down again. I signed documents and watched as they took my son’s fingerprints. Got up, kissed him again, told my mother he was cold. And sat down again. This happened a lot. Then they came in and re-positioned his body and I noticed that the bottom half of his body was a dark red colour as the blood was pooling – still no tears. I heard his father wailing, watched my mother and his sister cry uncontrollably, and asked the nurse what was wrong with me that I wasn’t crying. He looked like he was sleeping, that was the thing, I think. But I don’t know.

Shock is a bastard. Disbelief is its unkind brother.

The tears came as the undertaker finally arrived an hour or so later, put my son into a Moses basket, wrapped him in his least favourite blanket and took him away. I only cried when they tried to take him away. But I believe the shock stayed. I believe the shock stays for a long time.

Denial

I don’t know about denial. I said to a friend yesterday that, although I’ve been telling people my son has died for going into four weeks now, I still haven’t quite accepted that he’s not going to be at home when I get back from work. So I guess that might be it but I certainly can’t deny that he’s gone. I can’t hold him anymore. I have nobody to look after. These facts I can’t deny. Maybe denial doesn’t really apply to those grieving death.

Maybe it’s just something stupid women go through during break ups.

Anger

Now this, I understand. Anger flashes through me hotly and frequently, in response to the most innocuous people doing equally innocuous things (well… mostly innocuous). Someone dares stop dead in a shopping aisle to stare gormlessly at a packet of macaroni while her trolley blocks up the entire pathway… they’re faced with me yelling loudly that “yes, it’s true, I’m actually here. I actually exist. I’m not a gigantic, lifeless packet of Fatti’s and Moni’s spaghetti and I’d actually like to get past you.”

Fortunately, I tend to yell these things as I squeeze past their trolleys and continue walking on as opposed to stopping, getting my face really close to their faces and risking a “pasta fight in aisle 7” announcement.

Unfortunately, I can’t stop myself. I’m angry. I’m angry that these people are obviously not sad, have obviously not lost their babies, are so ignorantly happy in life that they truly believe they deserve to own all the space in all the world.

This seems to happen most frequently when I feel as though my presence is being ignored. When it seems people just don’t see me. Be it in traffic, in malls, wherever. This anger also flares up when people express concern about things I think are too small to worry about. I want to hit them with a sign that says exactly what’s big enough to be down about in this life.

I do wonder what that is all about and I do hope I don’t hate people for very much longer.

Bargaining

Who do you bargain with about something like this? It’s true; I’ve said many times that if I could go instead of him, I would. But that’s not technically bargaining is it? If I could somehow be transported to wherever Hudson is now and be invited to speak to whoever’s in charge of how things panned out, gravy, I’d go. No question. But who do grieving people bargain with? And what outcome are they hoping for? Perhaps this is a phase that is still coming. I’ll let you all know if it does.

Guilt

Non-stop. All day. Every day. Every minute. Every second. Every nano second. Since the day he was born and more heavily since the day he died. This phase is never going to end. I am certain of it. It can’t with our story. I will always have had to have done more. I will always have let Hudson die. I will always have not done enough. It’s vicious. It’s unmerciful and unforgiving. It’s unbearable. Apparently, it’s something I’ll have to learn to live with.

Depression

I’m here. If I haven’t taken an Urbanol, I cry.

Acceptance and Hope

Um… I don’t know how people find acceptance but I’ve been questioning myself on hope. I cannot abide cut flowers. To me, they represent death and dying, always have. So I requested that people not send flowers or bring flowers to my son’s funeral, asking them instead to make donations in his name to a fund that we’d be using to raise awareness around CHDs.

This has now turned into a full blown thing. We have a Facebook page, called The Hudson Initiative, we’re working on a web site, we’re trying to learn how to ask people who don’t care about CHDs cos they haven’t been affected by them (yet) for money.

This could represent my version of hope, I think. I’m not sure if I got into this too soon. It’s certainly provided me with some level of distraction but, as part of the networking needed to make something like this work, I’ve had to join various groups full of parents rejoicing as their kids make it through surgery or celebrate important birthdays following surgery early on in their baby’s lives.

I’m a human being and a mother to what people in these circles call a CHD angel – how is it possible that these stories make me sad? That said, I can’t stop pushing this program, no matter how much I’d like to. Hudson’s going to make a difference, in spite of me.

 

To conclude, look, I don’t know why they call it stages. It all seems to happen at once and it certainly doesn’t happen in the order stipulated above but I’ve always wondered what they were and now we know. At least from my perspective.

Dejavu sucks…

So I’ve decided to come back to work and it’s kind of a mind fuck. Just over four weeks ago people were coming to my table, welcoming me back, looking at my pictures, welcoming me to the club and now they’re back only this time covered in a shadow of trepidation and pity.

Thankfully, there’s only been one who couldn’t hold back on her own emotions. Everyone else seems to be quite stoic. Not too many asking *the* question… “How’re you doing?”. I mean, my natural instinct is to say “Still shitty thanks. Still a mother to no son. Still so full of guilt and resentment that I’m not sure I’ll ever be me again.” but what I do say is “Fine.” and that seems to placate. On that note, is placation my job now? Feels like it may be. 

Very importantly, I’m not entirely sure what I should be doing.

I have my headphones on and a playlist playing. Every five songs or so I wonder if this was a good idea as music has this unfortunate ability to raise the most chest crushing emotions – it always has with me. But I have come to work armed with medication, a phoney smile and a deadlocked spine that I refuse to let cave.

I’m paging through emails I don’t care about and generally avoiding eye contact in case someone asks me to do something. I suppose it’s easy to not know what you’re supposed to be doing in this circumstance. I’ve lost the plot on most of our client projects and, while I’m sure I’ll get back into it, it all just seems a bit futile. A bit mundane. So small in comparison to my reality, which is one where the only thing that matters is that instead of going home today crying because I’m so excited to be seeing my son and taking him for his early evening walk around the complex I’ll be going home and just crying.

Maybe I should just take that walk anyway.

On the life side of things, we’re managing. The only time I can’t seem to grapple with my tears in public is when I see mums and their babies. But there’s no hiding from them.

The three little lessons I keep repeating to myself and that, who knows, may help someone else in this situation are as follows:

1. Be patient with others

2. Be kind to yourself

3. Breathe

In other news: We’ve had an amazing response to our fund raising efforts – for those who don’t know, I’m raising funds that I want to donate to initiatives that raise awareness around CHDs – and a very special friend has given us advertising space in quite a few local papers. I’ve been avoiding this project all day and promised him fodder by this evening so probably should get onto it at some point. The problem is they’ll want copy and a picture. Should I be pasting photos of my dead son in local newspapers to raise funds for other people? I don’t know.