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.
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.