This bit of me.

I think I once knew these as ‘Preacher in the Pulpit’, a long time ago, when people told me the names of flowers.

I think, confused, I mixed up pulpit with spit and believed they grew from the untouchable, improbable, highly suspicious cuckoo spit that foamed and flawed the weeds of our walks.

I used to think these grew from cuckoo spit.

Spit. Pulpit. These are words my raged and addled mind, venomous and vicious at any organised attempt to make sense of the good, bad and ugly is prepared to put together. Back thought, I believe in my 6 year old mind for connecting them.

I thought I knew and so I did.

I think that these days I cannot see anything alive and growing and beautiful without being angry.

I thought I was better.

I thought I had moved on.


I think I know that once I saw a boy who would not open his eyes and hardly knew me. I think I know I loved him. I think I know that I am better for him.

But I also think I know that his eyes followed me everywhere, those old, old eyes that could not stay and could not speak and tried to tell me everything.

I don’t know if I heard.

I don’t know if I got mixed up.

I think I miss those bright, alive and raddled days that were filled with pain and when I knew what to do to make him live on.

I thought I preferred to be better. But further on, further from, all that is really true is more of the boy is missing.


The rage is building up, swallowed down, covered over. Little losses and tugging at the fragile scars and I think, but I am not sure, that they may  not be covering healed skin.


Max and I go for months without mentioning his name. I think this is okay. I don’t know. I might be mixed up.

I want to speak about him, say his name, tell people again that this was not a little loss, not a small slub in the fabric. I want to say his name, loudly, with renting clothes and ashes and wailing. I want to tell people of this loss so bad I cannot even let him go to earth, cannot even bear, 3 years 5 months on, to afford him the courtesy of memorial. That I’m clinging to not completing his days in the foolish hope it will bring him back.

But time has passed and if I speak, I do it quietly, Britishly, and people mistake the quiet for a passing thought and do not hear the scream.

I think it’s that.

It might be that they are sick of hearing, weary of grief, bored of looking back. It might be they think I don’t give enough back now.


I think I might be in trouble.

I think I might have mistaken time and moving past for moving on. I think I might have mistaken getting on with getting over.

I think I might have mistaken the blank inside for minding less.

I think the anger, which burns up and coils back and wants – quite wrongly and meanly – to rip the throat out of anyone who compares anything to this loss, dares to moan or wail, might be out of control. I don’t like this bit of me.

I think, but I do not know, that this is another stage. I expected the rage to be against the higher (non-existent) powers that took my son. I didn’t expect to find it chewing me from the inside out, finding worm holes to vent fury on undeserving and unexpecting targets.

I didn’t expect to find that all that was left inside, after I had shored up everyone and kept them all afloat, was a pit of nothing left to give. I thought I would be a bigger person. Better. Somehow more.


I think I might have work to do on this.

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  1. says

    How very braze for admitting that work is needed Merry. “I think I might have mistaken getting on with getting over” you will never get over this. Noe should you have too.

  2. Emma says

    Oh Merry. I read this, left it for five minutes then came to read it again, to be sure I comprehended properly. I can so empathise with what you are saying. Especially the rage. I wanted to smash and annihilate things quite recently. I have had long phases of thinking that I’m coping, dealing with, living with, managing all the godawful emotions, that the people who matter remember and the people who don’t remember don’t matter (ha, stabby, stabby pain)… and then it all comes crashing down in rage and horror and disbelief and yawning emptiness. And I want to scream her name to the universe. Though mostly I am calm and dignified and held up to be some paragon of something that others can describe me as because they simply have no earthly idea what they are talking about. Keep on keeping on x I have no useful advice to offer, except keep breathing and moving, you are not alone and we all remember your beautiful boy xx

    • says

      Do you know, I think that can be the worst sometimes? I feel duty bound to be an example of recovery and doing well. And frankly I’m bloody well not.

      Love to you.

  3. Liz says

    I wish I could comment with words of wisdom that would make everything ok. I can’t though. I have no idea what to say, but hate the thought of saying nothing. Sending you love and light x

  4. says

    This is how it is, I feel this too, that I’m meant to be dignified and an example, and sometimes it still overwhelms me to the point I think I can’t breath.i take myself off like a wounded animal to let out a few tears, but never enough, never all of them. I wonder if this is normal? then I realise it must be…must be? This sentence stands out for me.

    “But time has passed and if I speak, I do it quietly, Britishly, and people mistake the quiet for a passing thought and do not hear the scream.”

    Love x

  5. TracyOC says


    This post really resonated with me. I’m so far gone in my attempt to recover that I barely even blog or comment anymore despite my re-emergent rage. I’m going about it Britishly and I’m an American.

    Maybe this is how it is at 6 years. I’m telling myself that it’s cyclical and that I’ll have the energy to cope again soon.

    In my case, people have been crawling out of the wood work this year to talk to me about my ‘loss’ rather than my daughter. Perhaps a baby who has been dead for 6 years seems like a safe topic or 6 years seems like a good time to compare R’s death to some misadventure that did not end with a dead daughter or how pleasing my dignified sadness is to them. A couple of weeks ago a family member told me that she thinks R’s death is further evidence that life really sucks and that we should just focus on the good stuff. She actually used the phrase ‘life really sucks.’ So glad that she could put that bookend there to tidy all of this infant death business up.

    I didn’t intend to hijack your comments section with my own story but I wanted to compare notes on year 6. As always, I’m missing your son along with you and sending you peace and strength. Best to you and your family.m so far gone in my attempt to recover that I barely even blog or comment anymore despite my re-emergent rage. I’m going about it Britishly and I’m an American.

  6. says

    I don;t really know what to say. Except that you are such a brave person and I know that you have been a source of comfort for many other grieving mums. Maybe you do need some time for yourself now

  7. says

    Thank you, Merry, for your honesty and for being an ambassador to so many of us walking this path. I catch myself feeling so similarly to what you’ve written but haven’t been able to articulate it as well. I often wonder at what point people just stop talking about their children, their lives, their loss, just … all of this … and wonder if it’s because the aching and keening stops or abates, or if it’s because the rest of the world just can’t deal and so we have to learn ways to re-integrate in order to keep going and make life good for what and who is left.

    With love and appreciation,

  8. says

    Merry, I’m so so sorry. You don’t have to get over it. How could you? It’s normal to be angry. It will come out in all sorts of ways, you can’t help that. You just have to keep on going forwards. But also keep on saying his name. I think of Freddie a lot. I wish I could do or say something more useful. Love and hugs to you xxxx

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