It's very hard to believe that three years ago I was watching my son struggle through his last night. Truth be told, it's very hard to believe at times that I had a first son, the Bene's Internet abbreviation is DS2 not DS1. That Freddie came first, even though now sometimes I look at his name written on the page and it jars a little, looks a little wrong, like I've accidentally written out the name of an alien mix up child. It's not that I'm forgetting him, but it's very hard to keep the real boy alongside the much more real living girls and boy
It's very hard to believe that this is the night that he was rapped in his blanket, it's imperfect and unfinished wrong side crochet captured for eternity.
It's very hard to believe that no one but me expected it. That no one really knew what to do. That we went from being prepared for a life with a disabled child to funeral arrangements so very fast. That doctors and nurses stared in disbelief as his body gave up and no one could pull him back far enough from the edge.
I wish I had said some different things.
I wish I had said no to the drugs.
I wish I had thrown the cleaning lady with a cold out of his room.
That the scramble to preserve his life on this evening 3 years ago was so temporary, so ineffectual. That it bought us just one night. That I went to bed for some of that night. That I only learned how that evening went for my other children, summoned in from playing in the garden by a broken daddy to be told there was no hope, just a few weeks ago.
That I loved him so much in his eleven days and that eleven nights of candles in the window at bedtime seem so very short now. Such a little life. So fleeting. So small. So big. That he changed my life without keeping his own.
Sometimes I wonder, almost make myself believe that I've made too much of a drama of it. That 11 days of a son is not long enough to cry all the tears I've cried. That I really should do better. That I got what I asked for in so many ways; that he gave up without dragging us through months of pain and fear and love in our home while our hearts broke daily.
And then I look at the pictures of that last night and see my face and I know how much I loved him and how awful it was. And still is.
It's true that when he died the next day, at a time of our choosing and in a room alone with us, it was peaceful and gentle and as good as such a thing can be.
But those 11 days, that last night…. They were brutal.
I really did love him very much indeed. 3 years is way too long to do without my child. Much, much too long.