I’ve been a bit off blogging about the endless, wearying aftermath of trying to come to terms with life through a new lens. Various things caused it but the effect of it has been bad; if I don’t write it down, it washes around my head and causes me pain. In the same way my biking stopped abruptly the other week – I suspect the two stops together amounted to some kind of subconscious self harming. I don’t know why I’d do that to myself. And if I don’t write here, I don’t write. I think there is a bit of journalist in my perhaps, a genetic requirement to write for viewing. And I hate having one blog for this and one for that – it feels divisive and I refuse to do it again.
All this started, as things are wont to do, with an unintended moment of unfortunate-ness that somehow robbed me of feeling I was still allowed to grieve. My process. My inability to see that the only thing that really matters is what I need to do to recover. Made me feel like I should be over it. Made me feel as if for being dead, Freddie was less than nothing, less even than the tiny bits I have to hold on to. It was unintentional, accidental – but it removed my ability to claim the space which is “my son died recently and I’m sad”. Grieving is a delicate balance of many things, especially when done as publicly as living in a house with 5 other people who are there ALL. THE. TIME. There is just no space to grieve. If I assign time to it, the pain that is caused cannot be acknowledged and exorcised in the time available. I can’t start crying, I can’t roll in a ball and sob, because there is no time to do so and the ripples cause other people, little people, pain and fear. I’ve got precious few places, people or times to do what needs to be done. If one of those gets ripped up, if the tiny, delicate portions of space that are places where Freddie is real, my real, once living, breathing son, get paved over, then I’m left in a terrible place.
There are many contrasts in child loss – I envy people who get to grieve for their firstborn, because I envy the space and the right to sink downwards, while knowing how much worse it would be not to have the girls to pull me along. I’m envied for having had a child who lived long enough for me to love him and I know that is indeed lucky, while knowing I had to let a little person go who I had learned to love, who had medical notes and chances and hopes and milk that I made for him. Nothing is simple.
It’s hard to explain how complicated it is to live inside a head that can’t be pleased and a body that reacts physically to the reality of someone not existing.
Then the counsellor I’m seeing chose that week to pull down all my defences and that, hard on the heels of the weekend away, caused me to come apart in handfuls of something dry, broken and formless. I might as well have been one of those cubes of compressed sawdust: tear off the plastic, kick me and lo! I’m not rectangle at all, just a pile of leftovers.
The next day there was a bit of a local disturbance that upset me hugely and made me feel very vulnerable, Max went away for a very long week, I went away for a long (lovely) weekend, I did two long drives, faced a baby, did a lot of running away and by the time I got back I was utterly incapable of doing anything other than sob for a very long time indeed. About a week in fact.
I thought that would be a good time to knit a blanket square in three tones of blue, that turned out to look just like a little boy jumper. I sobbed through nearly the whole square. I should have stopped knitting it. I didn’t, because it didn’t occur to me that it would make sense to do so.
I’m reached a new phase, one I’m going to have to do alone. We’ve all grieved; Max, the girls, me, all of us who met him, knew of him, hoped for him. I’m still grieving, but what has seeped in in the last week is that now I’m also mourning. The rest here, I think, are not.
Freddie was my rescue package. I needed him terribly, long before he was a twinkle or a baby. I needed him. I had a really dreadful few years and then finally he was coming and I began to heal from stuff that had ripped me into shreds. As I became more pregnant, I began to look forward to a life of being whole again, of having myself back, of not being sad any more. The happy ending was coming and Freddie was the process and to be the beautiful wanted end package too. A lovely child who started off as a means to an end and ended as something we all wanted so much.
On top of mourning for him, the little person, our son, that future and everything he should have been, I’m mourning for the hope that I’d be myself again. Some of what I needed I got, but the victory is hollow, just so hollow because there is a person gone. One who squeezed my finger, someone with a birth certificate and a death certificate, someone who had bottles of milk in a freezer that a nurse must have thrown away. I’m mourning for a future, a person, a self I wanted back, the innocence of thinking things could be okay. A baby. A little boy. A future that might never have had all this that I have to learn to slide away from, not look at.
I know in a couple of years, with or without any more children, that this will be easier. I just want to be at that point already. If grief is a cornfield, then I’ve tramped it down once and I resent that I have to do it again. I resent that I can’t do it faster. I hate that recovering from Freddie is something I have to do, that I have to learn to love him less, not celebrate him, not speak of him, not look back too long at his lovely little face and his gorgeous little body. That his birthday, one of the most amazing moments of my life, is something that it is only sensible to forget and consign to history. That it will be easier for everyone else if I just move on, let it go, let him go.
And that is why I’ve not been able to write. Because I can’t face the fact that the sensible thing, the convenient thing is to move on now. Let this part of my life go. Stop having babies, not be mother to a boy. It just hurts so much that I wish I could go to sleep and never wake up.