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

Of dreams and nappies

I was part of a true life “Inception”-like mind fuck of a dream last night.

I dreamt we found you. You were five months old and while we thought you had died, they’d actually whisked you away to an orphanage. There were rows and rows of hospital issue baby cots full of babies and we found you. All I remember was that you needed your nappy changed and you needed milk and, instead of holding you, this is what I spent my time trying to find. We did find them, brought them to you and then I woke up. And I what-the-fucked for a while. And then I actually woke up and cried – more than I’ve cried in a few weeks now.

A dream within a dream within a dream.

I suppose that’s life now. Still surreal. Still not sure what’s real and what’s not. Still not sure if the drugs they gave me for the C-section didn’t put me into a coma and this life I’m living is just my brain’s way of coping while outside of my head life has carried on without me and, who knows, you may just be okay.

Mind fuckery – 1; me – 0.



So… tomorrow it’s been a year

What does that even mean?

It’s been 365 days since I was able to hold my baby? What the fuck do I do with that? It’s a mind fuck, no two ways about it. This week has been hard. This month has been impossible. Having to sit at my table, looking with bewilderment at people who have no frikken concept about what’s important in life, or what’s hard about it either. My baby is dead and sadly it’s easy to get martyrish about it. It’s hateful of me but I judge people heavily right now. Really? Your dog died and you’ve equated this with the end of the world? Judgement. Oh, what’s that? He’s teething and you didn’t sleep well? Poor dear. Then again, that also means he’s alive! Fucksakes…

What would they do with this? Would life change? Would they gain perspective? Would they become better people or worse? I’m not sure if this is a phase that will pass but it’s where I’m at.

I also don’t know what the answers are for them. I only know for me. And this is where it is…

Everything changes and then nothing changes at all. I haven’t come to terms with any of this yet. I know on an intelligent level that my son is gone. Those moments where I get a fright on my way to work thinking I’ve left him alone at home barely happen anymore. He’s gone, yes. But it’s not like an ex or a lost friend, where you forget them or stop thinking about them. He’s always there, in my brain, floating around, distracting me at times from the goings on of life. There but not there ever again at the same time.

The world moves on quickly. Too quickly for any parent who’s lost a child. Never slowly enough. But I’ve realised I can’t expect everyone to have the same priorities as I’ve got. We’re memorialising Hudson tomorrow at his tree – the people I most wanted to be there; the people who had the honour of meeting him, who have actual memories to share, some of them aren’t going to be there. It hurts, of course it hurts – you take the lessons you want to take from the choices people make. But I’ve made peace with the fact that facing this day without them is life.

People don’t get it. It’s martyrdom again but they don’t. Only other grieving parents understand. A friend of mine at work lost her dad a few years back – they were close beyond understanding – and even she admits that she could not fathom the loss involved with the death of a child and would never compare the two. Parents. Cats. Dogs. Grandparents. Your grief is your grief – and you’re entitled to it – but until you’ve lost a child you won’t get my grief and no two griefs should ever be compared. Because this is complete and total loss. Loss of your flesh and blood. Something you created from the most minute cell. Someone that grew inside of you, was part of you, owns a piece of your soul for all eternity is no longer breathing, is no longer even a cold, lifeless body, is just gone. That’s loss that I still cannot understand truly myself and I’m living deep inside of it.

I still cannot bring myself to watch his videos. I don’t know why. Grief is not supposed to make sense I suppose.

I’m harder and softer than I was before. I’m harder on people; less forgiving, less caring, less empathetic. And I’m softer on things. We have bees in our offices. They’re dying all over the place and people are killing them too. Every time I see one dying slowly, I take it outside, lay it on some greenery and, yes, say a prayer that it goes safely wherever it’s going from here. Today, someone slammed a book down on one and there was little time for prayer and therein lies the hardness on people.

Not as much is important anymore. Before, work was important, my career was important. I was ambitious. Now… I’m just lonely. I want a family and my family has been ripped to pieces with the loss of our baba. I can tell who has children (most of the time) cos it’s the people who have perspective in all things. They know what important is. They know home time is home time and I won’t be asked to join conference calls at six pm by these people. I love these people. I want to be these people. That is what is important to me now. And I have none of it.

My arms are empty. My heart is beaten. My life is without a real purpose. And yet, I get up. Everyday I get up. I don’t know why.

The one thing I would ask everyone in my life today – friends, not so friends, others, family – don’t ask me to be over this. Don’t expect it. Don’t ever say the words “well, we all have to move on sometime”. You’re somewhere different to me. You’ve said goodbye or made peace or found your way out. I may be getting up every day but don’t ask me to ever do that. I will never forget my son. He will always be more important than everything and everyone – even in death. I will always remember him – silently and aloud and you can be a part of the new who-I-am or you can not.

Believe me, I know loss and you choosing to leave me because I’m boring right now won’t count as it.

Most important lesson this year… don’t take your children for granted. Make them important. Make them the only thing. Because you can lose everything else and stay the same with strength of character or fortitude – but you are never the same after losing your child.

I can see the thestrals…

I dreamt about you again last night. It was only the second dream I’ve had about you since you died – a fact that I find both unfair and a relief at the same time. In this dream, I was performing CPR again. I could feel your heart in your chest cavity as I pressed down on your chest plate the way I was taught. It was hard. Siezed up. A hard little ball of an organ and I felt like it was impossible to make it beat. I could see your chest lift, the way it did when I was trying to save you last year. I could hear the gurgle of the milk as it made its way from your stomach up your throat from all the compressing. I could see your eyes roll back, the way they did back then when we lifted your arms above your head to try and get you to take a breath.

Only in this dream. It worked. You choked a bit and then started breathing again. You looked at me, like into me, and breathed for a while and that was all. I woke up. You were still gone.

I don’t know what this means. What your message was. I just know you were still gone when I woke up.

This grief thing is a nightmare. I hate it. I hate crying all the time. I hate putting all of this onto your father because I am not built to share with all and sundry. I can’t even put this onto your gran anymore.

Mother’s Day is looming. I’m not doing anything. I don’t care about anyone else. I’m sick of the adverts. I’m not doing anything except probably feeling sorry for myself and bitter about all the people who are moms on the day.

And then soon thereafter will be the 17th. I don’t know what I’m going to do on this day. I know a few of the people who met you and some who didn’t are going to be there for us and we’re going to do something special for you but it’s not something I’m looking forward to at all. In fact, since last week or the week before, I’ve started reverting to who I was almost a year ago. A teary mess who feels teary and depressed every other minute.

But the dream made me do some reading this morning and I found this article, which tells how loved ones visit the people they left behind. If this story is true, you are visiting me more than I know. The dreams might be harder for you to break into. I sleep so heavily. But you’ve left feathers for your grandmother, I’ve had visits from our next door neighbour’s cat at very opportune times, butterflies always stop by me when we visit your tree, even birds have taken time to stop and fly in front of me when I think of you on our porch and this story explains the ringing in my ears that has become a frequent visitor of late.

You’re also there in songs. Music was always our thing. And we used to dance to 80s tracks and listen to music most of the days you were home and healthy and your dad and I always cooked with you in your bouncer on the counter playing music and dancing silly to keep you amused.

But the song that played most in my mind for you has been since your death and was “Pompeii” by Bastille. I always felt like the words explained you and my life after you died. The walls tumbling down in the city that we loved being your heart giving up and the grey cloud rolling over the hills bringing darkness from above representing the dark, grey world I live in now. It played on Saturday as I left your plot at the memorial site where we have buried your ashes under a lemon tree. I knew it was you because the next song was “Glory of Love” which I related to our fight against CHD in your name and then “Never Ending Story” which is the song I will always relate to your Uncle Kyle.

I knew it was you. And you were trying to bring me peace. To let me know you were there.

I want you to know I’m so grateful for these visits. You must know how urgently I need to feel you or know that you’re okay. You must know it.

And I’m grateful for the dream. I didn’t want to leave it. If I could choose to be comatose, living in a dream with you forever, I’d take it.

I miss you so much. There aren’t enough words to express this authentically. I have never missed anything this much. It’s desperate. And trying. And volatile. And it’s killing my soul.

One day, baby, we’ll be old…

Oh baby, we’ll be old and think about the stories that we could’ve told.

I have the words of this song stuck in my head. Was hoping to hear it via our iPod playlist during a get together we had yesterday but it didn’t play.

The song, along with a disgusting concoction of other things, reminds me of the unfairness of life really. Everybody should be given the opportunity to be old. Some of us cock it up. We smoke too much or drink until our livers fail and that’s our own fault. But to be fair, we should all live long enough to become burdens on our kids and, to be really fair, all children should be given the opportunity to cock it up for themselves and they shouldn’t be denied this basic right.

People die. And the older you are when you do, the fairer life has been to you.

One of the conversations that happen around the grieving on a regular basis is the “At least he…” conversation. Oh, you at least had four months – my friend’s baby was born sleeping. Or, at least you got to know your child. It’s all bullshit and people from who these thoughtless words drip like honey should count their lucky stars they aren’t smacked more.

You fall in love with someone, it doesn’t matter how long they were here, when they die, you hurt.

However, (and here’s where I risk getting smacked myself) when it’s a baby, it is different. I’ve decided. When it’s a baby, it hurts, but it’s also not right and you can never find the “rightness” in it. It’s just not right, in any way. There’s no reasoning the death of a child. There’s no “he had a good innings”. There’s no “he lived a good life”. There’s no “he died doing what he loved”.

A baby dies and with it dies potential and anticipation and expectation and dreams. With it, dies a life story – a story that could’ve been anything and everything. You only have your imagination. There wasn’t enough time for anything real to happen.

If I died today, people might be pissed or upset but they’ll acknowledge that I lived, that I laughed, that I did stuff and made something happen once, that I had opinions and fights and moments of insanity and that some might think to themselves that going at thirty odd years was better than going at twenty like that girl they knew from school who drove into a wall on her 21st birthday – or whatever.

But babies shouldn’t die. Babies shouldn’t be born with broken hearts and they shouldn’t get cancer or be born with AIDS.

Babies shouldn’t die.

Forgiveness… meh

During therapy this morning I had a light-bulb moment.

I’ve been carrying a lot of guilt for a long time. Guilt around the fact that I didn’t live a great life when he was already starting to grow inside me. Guilt that he was born with a broken heart and I was responsible for building him. Guilt that he wasn’t well in his last week and I didn’t force myself to take him to the hospital. Guilt that he died on my watch, in my room, and nothing I did changed that. Then there’s the guilt that I didn’t cry for the first several hours after he died. Guilt that I haven’t done right by his memory. Guilt that he’s dead and I’m not. Guilt that I’m even thinking of having his brother or sister at some point in the future. Guilt that I’m not in a puddle on the floor. Guilt that I’m not floating around the bottom of a bottle. Guilt that I get up every day, look at his cot and his dummy and his hat, and I don’t fall to pieces like I used to. Ah… guilt. My new best friend.

I just typed in a mail to my meis that this thing is like a tumour that’s growing bigger and bigger on the side of my body and I can’t cut it out cos if I do I’ll die.

I’ve addressed some of this guilt. I’ve spoken to medical professionals and geneticists and other moms, etc. The “on paper” is my lifestyle did not cause this thing. And the building of the body is generally up to the baby so I really did all I could during pregnancy. After that, I’m on my own. As another therapist we saw soon after Hudson died said: You didn’t wake up one morning and decide today was the day you were going to kill your son, right? And, of course, she was right. But I didn’t do everything in my power to keep him alive either. There was always, no matter who I speak to, something more I could have and should have done. Too late now.

There are a lot of too late nows…

People say you should learn to forgive yourself. And we were talking about this this morning and I eventually talked myself around to “why?”. Why should I forgive myself? Surely, this isn’t something I should be able to say “Right, self, your son is dead. You could have done something to stop it and didn’t. You’re forgiven, self. Now back on the horse and let’s go” about. Surely, this is something I should remember and remember and remember so it never, EVER happens again? Surely?

There are some parts of grief you learn to live around. But the biggies should stay. They should be that invisible third nostril or that lump on the back of your neck that keeps you forever awake and alert so you don’t do that again.

I think the people who say you should forgive yourself are arseclowns who don’t understand what they’re talking about. I also think people forgive too easily. It’s too easy. Someone says “learn to forgive yourself” and they do and it’s all that simple. Nee jong…

In almost two months time, it’ll be the anniversary of my son’s death. What… the fuck… am I supposed to do with all of this.


I learned something horrible yesterday.

It finally became clear to me that those movies where an unknown child actor wishes he was big and wakes up as Tom Hanks, then spends two hours learning a whole bunch of life lessons, finds a gypsy to undo the wish and the camera spins around him as time goes backwards and he is returned to his former size and age were lying. It finally became clear that no matter what I do, no matter how much good I try to make happen, this is never going to happen to me. The world is never going to spin backwards and take me back to when you were here giving me a second chance to save you.

For a bit of context, readers should know we started an initiative for Hudson shortly after his death. We want to raise awareness in South Africa. We want people to know what Congenital Heart Defects are so that if their baby is the 1 in 100 that is born with it every minute across the globe they can prepare themselves and do the best by their kids. This blog is kept separate to THI because it is too sad for our purposes. I’ve become a split personality – I’m hopeful and supportive for parents on one side and desolate and pining on this one. Sorry for you guys :-).

On Friday, we held our CHD Awareness Day Hudson Initiative fundraiser. It was phenomenal. I couldn’t complain about a thing (except the food). It was everything I could’ve wished for.

Nonetheless, when we climbed into our car to go home I started wailing. Uncontrollably. If we weren’t carrying all the donations people had made in the car, Nick said he would have pulled over to try and calm me. I hiccupped myself to sleep and when I woke, the crying continued. He wasn’t there. He’s never going to be.

No matter what I do to try and undo the bad thing I must have done to deserve this.

I said to Nick yesterday, as we talked about the night, that the fact of the matter is that Hudson came here for the world – not for us. He came to us because we are the people who are supposed to make a difference but the big picture of his life story is how he is going to affect the world, not how he changed us. And I hate to say it but this pisses me off. Because he was *my* world. My world is gone and yet the world is changed because of him. How am I supposed to be cheerful about this?

Grieving the death of your baby is impossible. Trying to make the world a better place at the same time is conflicting. All I want is Hudson back. To be able to go back and change the world on *that* day. And yet, all I have is the opportunity to help other people save their babies but deep down there is only one baby I am trying to save.

But he’s gone. He’s dead.

I grieve. I am nothing but guilt and sadness.

I am dark and the halo that surrounds me is black.

Maybe it’s me I’m trying to save.

And then maybe tomorrow I’ll try something new to make the movie effects real.

Either way, this journey hasn’t even begun yet and I’m tired.

The words to Bastille’s Pompeii are my life’s words now and they echo in my brain every day…

And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?

Note: I haven’t blogged for a while. I told my therapist this is because I only write when I’m really, really low and the world must think I’m ready to off myself whenever I post. She told me to start again so here I am. Apparently, it’ll be good for me.


We have a Public Service Announcement…

It’s awesome. Click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5q_WwRlujg

New year… same old tears

It’s our birthdays next week.


While mine represents the passing of another year and a brand new number that represents my age and yours represents the what-should-have-been that I once looked so forward to celebrating, and, while you are forever stuck at between zero and four months and four days in our photos and memories, it is nonetheless our birthday week and it will always be that to me – for as long as I live.

I decided in December that my present to both of us would be turning the storage area your nursery has turned into into a quiet room. The room that we had no time to design with the insanity that was your life span had become a place to keep everything and it was not and still is not honouring you. But I want a safe place where I, and anyone who wants to can go to be quiet with you – to feel your spirit, to speak to you, to cry for you, to miss you – in peace.

But if I thought living through Christmas was impossible, I was wrong. This is impossible.

Much like living without you is impossible and yet we do.

Much like coming to terms with the fact that you’re gone is impossible and yet we try.

Much like giving up on our future with you is impossible and yet we have no choice.

The problem is the tomorrows that are living in that room – the clothes that would be fitting you now, the toys that would by today be age appropriate, the play pen we’d be sticking you into when we just couldn’t run after you anymore. It’s all there.

Along with the yesterdays – the heart monitor that woke us when your heart stopped beating, the packets and packets of nappies and wet wipes we bought just days before you died, the clothes you were in when you left us and the clothes that no longer fit you and were waiting to be passed down to littler babies who needed them more than you. It’s all there too.

It’s going to take me longer than I thought – I stop because I can’t see through the tears or I have to look at something for a long time as I try to remember the last time you sat in it or wore it. I’m nowhere near ready to move your clothing or your blankets or even your nappie box and bumcream but what I will have ready by the time our birthdays arrive is a seat for me and a seat for you in a room that is uncluttered by prams and camper cots.

You should know, although I think you already do, that we are planting a yearling Lemon Tree in your plot at the memorial gardens on your birthday next Tuesday. We will be planting it with your ashes – which will allow us, in a way, to watch you grow. I hope you see how we came to this decision and I hope it pleases you. I would only ever have wanted to make you happy in life and still want only that in death.

I don’t think I will be able to write next week so happy birthday, my Hudson. It is already a tough week and it won’t be different then. It is still the only thing I want in life to be able to have spent it with you. I also don’t want to celebrate my own day but I will be celebrating the memory of you, the dent your presence left in my life and my heart, and you, just you. I will remember how deeply my life has been changed by both your presence and your absence and we will raise a glass and a hope for you wherever you are… and we will never, ever forget you.

I miss my son…

It’s unending.

That feeling you get in your gills when you’re watching something sad on TV… it feels as though your veins are too big for your throat and the back of your eyes are burning and the too big veins are pushing all the water in your body out of your eyes and onto your face. That feeling is constant. I am always on the verge of crying. I am always missing my son. It never stops. No matter where I am or what I’m doing. Even in the middle of a laugh.

It’s obscure. And surreal. I live two lives. I am two people. One of me never changes.

I don’t walk past his room without looking at his bouncer or his changing pad or the clothes that he died in still strewn across his changing table. I don’t walk into our room, where his cot still stands, without glancing at the dummy he was sucking on or the hat he was wearing the night before he died. I don’t bath without hearing the creaks I am sure are his way of telling me he’s around.

Anybody who sees me would think I was talking to myself as I wander through our home. And sometimes I am. But most times I’m talking to him. I acknowledge the noises. I acknowledge the creases in his linen set that weren’t there yesterday.

“I hear you.”

I say this often.

Yesterday after work, I was home before his dad again and I was talking to no-one and everyone at the same time. At one point I said: “As the days go by, and Hudson still doesn’t come to me, it becomes more and more clear to me that he’s just gone. That there’s nothing after death. That death is the final thing. And my son is lost to me forever. And I’ll never see him again.”

And then, last night, for the first time since he died, I dreamt about him. And my dream was full to the brim of him. He was everywhere I looked (mainly because, I’m sure, I didn’t want to take my eyes from him in case he disappeared as things do in dreams), he filled my scope of vision. His nose. His eyes. His little arms and feet.

Right now, I know this was his way of telling me: “No, mom. Death is not the final thing. I am here. I am everywhere. I am still love. I am still your sun. And I will always be your son.”

Of platitudes and other people’s babies…

I realised something this weekend. I don’t have a problem with kids in general. Nick has issues. Seeing other people’s kids hurts him. Me? Not so much. Much as before Hudson, most kids are nameless, faceless little rugrats. Glazed donuts who rarely consult me and who are rarely consulted in return.

That is, until said babies belong to the ladies I was pregnant with.

It’s happened a few times. We’ve been invited to birthday parties or get togethers and haven’t even thought to ask who’d be there. I’ll be put slap bang in front of one or all of the moms I was pregnant with, or rather their babies, and I’ll be reminded, quite starkly, as to where Hudson would have been had he not died. Then, for two days after, I just cannot hold it together. The next day, history has proven, I will crash and the day that follows will be touch and go.

At first, I did not put two and two together – grief doesn’t make for smart – but I realised it this weekend. And while I hold no grudges towards these moms or their adorable kids, I will no longer be attending these get togethers – especially on days where I’m just not strong enough to handle it. I’m going to become one of those rude people who ask “Who’s going to be there?” when they’re invited and declines if something that results in sore is going to happen.

How sucky is that?

How little do I care?

And now… on to the platitudes section of today’s blog.

I should warn everyone that I’m pretty angry. I’m going through a pissed off phase. I’m pissed off with people who talk without thinking. I’m pissed off with people who use their trauma to get out of doing stuff and living life. I’m pissed off with people who have no individual thought and suddenly remember to send messages of their own when I send message to Hudson. I’m pissed off with two of what used to be my best friends who fucking disappeared almost six months ago (and no, a Facebook mail that says nothing and acknowledges no-one sent months later is not enough – believe me, the only reason you haven’t been defriended is because I lack the courage to click the button on a friendship I used to hold very dear – I’ll get over this soon enough, fear not).

I’m pissed off with non-family from far away judging me and the way I raised and lived with my son who are now trying to be a part of my grief process even after I’ve defriended and ended all communications with all of them. Oh, and stop using my son’s Facebook page to try and talk to me. It’s not cool and it’s not going to happen.

I’m pissed off that I’m pissed off. I’m sick of biting my mother’s head off when she’s just being a human being. I’m sick of pasting a smile on my face with everyone else to negate the possibility of making them uncomfortable. I’m pissed that I’m here – that it’s been the best and worst year of my life and I can neither celebrate nor commiserate without being disloyal to my son. I’m pissed off that I know nothing about anything anymore.

But most of all I’m pissed off with the platitudes.

I’m not sure I heard them in the beginning. I now realise the words have been said to me so often that I’ve almost lost the opportunity to react. But here, my solace, my private thoughts, my therapy, those that I share with the world, here I can say what I should’ve said back then.

Everything happens for a reason – the next person to say this to me is going to get asked what the reason was that Hudson came into my life and was taken away. It’s going to be uncomfortable and I don’t care because I want to know what reason resides in your brain for this having happened. Just one. I’m going to ask for just one. So prepare yourself.

God wanted his angel back – fuck god. I want my child back. He was my god. He was my king. He was my universe. I wanted him here more than any god could ever want him wherever he is now and fuck whoever it was that decided he had to leave.

God only gives to those what they can handle – ditto and bullshit. This is the most unbearable thing I can ever imagine happening to anyone. I’m getting through it because I have no other choice and that is the only reason. I have no other choice. Yes, it’s happening to me but I’m not alone. Daily, I learn about people who are losing their kids or whose babies are being born sick or with broken little hearts. There is no god that would want any human to want to be able to “handle” this.

Anything to do with karma – I will do my nut. I was a good person. I sought homes for homeless animals, I donated to charities, I was kind to strangers, I gave money to the homeless and I did my very best to love people in a very unloveable country. And my child still died. Karma can fuck right off.

Note: Whenever I write a blog like this I spend hours or days agonising over who I may have offended, over who may take my writing personally so…

To the people who’ve acknowledge that this blows to unbelievable proportions, who acknowledge that my son was awesome, that my son existed and died and acknowledge that the pain I feel is real and will be prolonged and that to them I’m okay no matter what I’m feeling. To the people who don’t give me shit when I don’t want to do stuff or when I’m feeling like crap; and to the friends and family who have not left my side through this whole ordeal – I cannot put into words how important you are to me.

I cannot verbalise how different things could have been had you not been there; your shoulders, the ones I may not physically lean on but I lean on nonetheless, the meaningful words that you actually thought about before putting down, the mere fact that you’re okay to sit in silence when I can’t talk or need to be quiet for a while.

And to my mom, who calls when I need her most and offers platitudes of her own only because she knows her versions make sense to me, who shares her dreams and messages she says are from my boy.

All of this means the world. And I thank you.

PS: I’m less pissed off now. In case you were ever wondering why I write this blog.