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

Tag: dealing with grief

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.


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.

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.

Every day and yet no day is the same…

I miss you more today than yesterday and less than I will tomorrow.

This is my mantra. This is my reality.

I always thought a human being’s capacity for missing was limited. That our capacity for tears had an end. That our ability to love was conditional.

It’s not.

I said to Hudson’s dad last night that I didn’t think I could cry or survive this hurt anymore. I’ve felt this way many times since Hudson died. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I could physically do it; I was crying at the time. It’s a mental thing. I felt at my end. I truly understood those stories of husbands dying from broken hearts weeks after losing their wives. I felt as though if one more tear were to make its way down my cheeks, I would simply give up. Die. Leave all of this behind. That I’d reached my end. That I simply couldn’t miss him anymore. That I’d reached my capacity for hurt.

Obviously I hadn’t. Here I am. Typing a blog. Missing him.

Most days I feel a fraud. I am surrounded by people who tell me I’m strong. That the fact that I get up every day is inspiring.

Privately, I’m not strong. I’m hopelessly lost to this pain. It controls my life. It changes me daily. My face has changed. I’m older. Sometimes the only way out is anger and bitterness. I have very little patience (even though I’d hoped the one lesson I’d learn from this was to be patient with people), I’ve mentally written people out of my life for not being who I need them to be and I’m ferociously protective of Hudson’s dad and myself. I’m ready to and do lash out verbally and even feel like I could go completely against my grain and strike out were it to come to that.

I’m not even sure if the anger eases the journey. I feel it the same way I feel the hurt and the longing. A continuous tension in every single tendon, muscle, bone, atom. It just feels more useful than pain and hurt sometimes. Feels better than being dead inside.

Publicly, I carry on. I keep my head up. I have days where I have to leave my table and cry as discretely as I can somewhere away but, for the most part, I maintain my uprightness. I talk to no-one about him because I am sure they’re over it. I have only this blog as a public outlet. This way, the people who are interested can be alongside me through this journey and the people who aren’t can scroll on.

In ten days my son would’ve been six months old. In thirteen, he’ll have been dead for two months. Right now, six weeks feels like an eternity as does the rest of today and every day that faces me. An eternity that is the hell everyone always talked about when I was young.

I now know what hell is. It’s losing a child.



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.