Don't look, run.

Blogging the inane. I’m doing that, because I don’t really have the spare energy to write the awful. How many times can you write “My son is dead”? How many times can I look at a post and think “I wrote about him,” “I didn’t write about him,” “I cried today,” “I didn’t cry today”.

Grief, this grief, goes something like this. A noise, an explosion, something dreadful that scares you to the pit of your stomach, goes off behind you and you start to run. Run, run, run. Run away from seeing the destruction. Run away from seeing the gore. Run from the despair. Run from the fear and the pain and the hurt.

To start with you just run, thinking that since your legs are still working, it can’t be that bad. Perhaps you can get far enough away that the smoke and the screams and the smell won’t be able to catch you. Run so that the sight of it all, when you look, will be muted by distance and your other senses will not contribute to the horror of it all.

Run, in my case, clutching the hands of your children, pulling them along so that they don’t see either. Try not to notice that there are not enough hands to hold them all and get them safely away.

Eventually though, not matter how strong you are, your body cannot run any more. Legs will cramp, lungs will hurt, skin is hot and cold and clammy.

Last week I reached the point where I couldn’t run further. My legs gave up, my throat tasted of blood, my lungs didn’t even want to go in and out any more. At that point, the floor, the dirt and the dust, was all there was. Curl in a ball, taste the metal in my mouth, feel the muscles turn to string.

I think now, nearly 4 months on, I’m almost at the point where I’m going to have to turn around and look. I think when I do, I’m maybe going to find out that, like in a dream, I have run nowhere at all. It’s all right there, just as horrible and desperate as it was.

Losing a child isn’t a big thing, it is a million small things. It’s having to look at everything in your life through a new lens. Look at each thing again as if for the first time. Each child, each place, each person, each day, each event. Each relationship. Every thing you ever loved, ever did, ever enjoyed. Each thing anew “not with Freddie”.

It is very, very hard.

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  1. Michaela says

    You know, I don’t know you that well, and I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing, but I wish I could carry you far away so you didn’t have to run yourself. I wish you didn’t have to run in the first place. Sending ((hugs)), even though that seems wholly inadequate x

  2. says

    That last bit absolutely nailed it for me – doing everything “without”, learning to see our life through the prism of loss is just exhausting. I think (judging by the blogs) I was unusual in welcoming Emma’s first birthday. It marked an end to all the firsts that I’d had to face without, so I thought. Of course, the seconds are still just as rough – just less breath-takingly surprising.

  3. says

    As I was reading this post I kept nodding my head. Yep, it’s like that. It’s been 11 weeks for me and I’ve done a lot of running and some floor time. This is so exactly where I am, and yes it is very, very hard. Love to you and all your little ones.

  4. says

    A very accurate description. I also wanted to run away, I felt as though I had brought total devastation on everyone I knew and cared about. My husband, my daughters, my sister. Everyone.

    And yes, everything “not with Freddie.”

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