April has come and gone.
It was hard this year. Hard because it will always be hard. Hard because it fought against the Spring and the sympathetic balm of warmth and light that is normally so familiar, so sweet, so sad, did not come. Hard because there was no fug of new baby warmth and care to distract me. Hard because we were all ill. Again. Because Bene ended up in hospital, choking my breathe with fear for him.
Hard because Freddie is still not here. Hard because he is now three years ago. Hard because I’m healed enough to survive, to draw out my grief for this month in a year and then tuck it into my soul again and swallow down the tears. Because I can be interviewed about him for a local paper and not cry, not once. Because present cares meant I didn’t get the SCBU parcel ready to send in April and so it will be late. Because my parenting of Freddie is slipping with the hurly burly of a busy family life. Because all of that is right and proper. Because it hurts that it is right and proper. Because I knew, one day, that this would come, this pseudo peace, this resilient grief.
I was angry, this year, this month. I lit the candles and cried the tears and this year I was angry, furious, that Bene will never have his older brother to guide him. That he will depend upon his cousin for familial boyness, that we have to step and sidle around our language to include Freddie or omit him. Angry that I can spell his name out and all it does is mark his absence. Angry felt like a backward step. Angry is difficult.
The date filed past. The dates that stung with tears twenty years ago, the dates that boiled my bile from 7 years ago, the date that seared our hearts three years ago. Present tumbles meant I hardly had time to notice them, till this week, the date of his funeral. That bit a little, I’m not sure why. It’s so very final, burning your baby. A little box, just such a little box.
We still don’t know what to do with it. I daren’t even look to see what, if anything, is in it.
And then, and then… I caught myself thinking that here I am, still mostly worrying about money and my hair and if I’ve got time for a run and being too fat and can I fit in all the things that being a mother entails and if I’ll still be as tired and as happy tomorrow when I wake up as I am now. Sitting outside a dancing school, waiting for girls to come back from a conference on dance and thinking “How did this happen? How did I end up fat but happy, with frizzy hair and facilitating the lives of everyone but me. And only part of this, only part of me, is the part with the dead son. And I don’t even mind that part, not really.”
It is what it is.
Three years on. Three years without my son. It’s impossible to really put that into a place in my head where it makes sense. The irrevocable damage, the unchangeable change. The remarkable absence of him which is still so very tangible. Here he is, by not being here.
And I’m okay with that. Mostly. The sun on my face, the every day cares. Mostly I can do it.
April has gone; it came in the dark and now it will go, leaving me with a tightening in my throat, almost missing it, a small salute to being okay. To being sorry I’m okay but grateful too.
I ran today, something I only do because of Freddie and this song came onto my Shuffle as I did better than I have before. I listened and thought of Freddie and I always do and all the babies who didn’t stay. This year I thought of Matilda Mae too and Jennie. It’s Matilda’s birthday on Thursday; her birthday has to be faced too terribly soon after her death. I listened to this song Jennie and thought of you and I’m sending the message of it to you. Once, someone told me that there would be a day when I could reach the end of the day and send a small thought out to Freddie, without breaking. It takes it’s time, you have to tell everyone what’s happened, again and again. You have have to learn to live with not coming back. You have to come to a place when lost is better than never was. You have to make it beyond not wanting to hear that it will get better. You have to learn to make pain live alongside happiness. But you do.