Wednesday was a really tough day. Every so often, a grief day emerges, out of nowhere except a combination of events and hormones and co-incidences and moments of unexpected thoughtlessness. And Wednesday started, as it so often does, with a dream.
I never dream about Freddie; I have barely dreamed of him at all; I can remember a leaving behind dream within days of him dying and almost nothing since. I don’t know whether my subconscious holds back, or if he is simply not there. I have no idea if he never made it deeply enough into my soul to be recorded, or if he is locked away. I wait for him, I wait for him to come and say goodbye in a dream, as my friend N did once, but he never does. Either he’s not coming, or he isn’t ready to leave, or I can’t see him.
But occasionally – and often when something unbloggable is going on in the background, a dream appears and I know it is connected but it doesn’t give me any clues, or any comfort. Wednesday morning started angry. A dream on the very edge of rising time where I was smashing everything in my house; I hurled precious things, I flung plates, I battered breakables with chairs and tore curtains down and ripped up sofas. It was a dream where all those things happened and yet I could not do enough damage; nothing registered, nothing was permanent, I couldn’t make enough noise or do enough damage. And worst of all, none of the breaking gave any comfort. I wasn’t less angry, I wasn’t sated, I wasn’t eased.
I was Still. Just. Angry. And I woke up angry. I woke up headlong into sick kids and school runs and babies who needed feeding and a husband who didn’t see the pain in my head or realise how fogged and bruised I was and thought a perfunctory squeeze would do. And instead of knowing that he couldn’t know, I was just more angry, with all of them, for being there and for not knowing that here I was- again – back on the doorstep of grief, feeling as I did in those first days. All over again.
It was a day full of hormones and people thinking we could connect over SCBU experiences (but their baby came home… how can that be something to connect with me over?) and people telling me about newborns and feeling more and more and more inadequate. When these days happen I feel such a failure of a mother to Freddie – there is no foundation in his name, no lasting tribute. Hell, there isn’t even a grave. I feel as if I shy away from his memory, have done nothing amazing to ensure he stays remembered, I worry if I mention him that people roll their eyes in their head. “It’s nearly 4 years. Move on woman, move on.”
I wonder if we all feel like that eventually?
The inadequacy of my rage in the dream spilled through the day. I’m not making a difference. I’m not out there shouting about changing things for the people who follow me, stopping this happening again; there is no memorial. I’m a coward when it comes to facing the fact that he is dead. It’s my way to be small about it, live with his loss alongside me, not rolling it before me.There was too much to do in the wreckage of his loss, too many little girls to hold together. I put all my energy into that – successfully I think – and it left nothing spare for mothering him after his death. And little spare for grieving him. I feel as if I run along, frantically, hoping I can just get as far as dying without ever really looking full in the face of the empty space which is my son.
But I wish I was different. I used to be different. I used to make noises. And I know that the nearly £5000 that has gone to his SCBU unit in his name DOES make a difference. And I know this blog makes a difference to the people who find it. I just wish it was more. I wish I had the reserves for more. Even now, I have an idea, a small, personal charity idea, kicking around in my head – but I’m afraid of doing the work and finding it makes no difference and just suffering the loss all over again. Of his death being a pointless waste of life all over again.
And then the day ended with me crumpled in a sobbing heap on the floor behind my bed; the only place where worried girl eyes might not follow me, where my grief doesn’t open up old wounds for them and leave them wondering if everything is about to fall apart again. Max put on the DIYSOS programme that was being done for Children in Need. It was a local rebuild for a woman who mothers a disabled son, home educates, makes a difference. Max was interested because the girls’ rugby club sponsors her charity. But all I saw, ALL I saw, was a superwoman who can manage what I knew I would never manage, who lives the kind of make a difference life I thought I might live – warrior woman, super mother – and all I saw was people making life bearable for their damaged and different children and a place, an amazing place, local to us, where maybe we would have found enough solace and help to get through.
And I felt like I failed him all over again. I let him go. I didn’t try. I was a coward. Not brave. Not amazing. Not someone to admire or emulate or be glad is there to change things. Just someone who gave up on her son and hid it behind it being best for him. Not brave at all.
I wish, I really wish, for peace.