These times are more frequent lately. Flashbacks. Returning memories. A sudden glimpse of Freddie’s face in his sleeping brothers profile. A flicker of something that was gone and which is seeping back, slinking in through back doorways left unthinkingly open.
I don’t try to look back.
I don’t hunt for memories.
I think that if I cannot have it all, the explanations and understanding, the love, the joy and most of all the son that I should have, I don’t want any of it.
There is little pleasure gained from snippets of remembrance and slivers of emotion.
It’s easier not to have any of it.
Played carefully against the backdrop of otherwise rational and ordered life, it seems unlikely that a boy was born and died and resides – still – unrested, in our house.
It seems unlikely.
Schooled mind and blanked out history are unforgiving in the nights sometimes.
A waking fog of sensation that is for just a moment the discomfort of a hospital bed in over bright and baking room.
A cot-less room.
Breakfasting with women sneaking bowls of cornflakes while their baby sleeps, bleary, happy, bemoaning lack of sleep and all night feeds.
Remembering suddenly not telling a young labouring woman that my baby had not breathed.
Being the grown up.
A kitchen scbu conversation over breast pumps and sterilisers.
Will he be okay?
The black dogs of trauma have descended again. The defences, if refusal to acknowledge are put aside, are not strong enough.
I keep digging ditches. Building sandbags.
Don’t look. Don’t talk. Don’t say it out loud.
Am I okay? No.
Let’s go out. Get some sun. Go on the bikes.
A chance ride, that way, on that day, that half hour. A bright lit path and sparkling lake.
3 people. 8 tiny dogs. A tangle of dogs, all excited, in our way.
One too excited. Needed calling, controlling.
Over and over again.
I’m caught in among them, trying to get by, too recovered to fling my bike and run, too unrecovered not to flinch and shake my head and nearly mow the blasted pests down and ride away to want to cry.
And find no tears.
I just rode harder.
Max and Bene behind me.
Any other dog. Any other day. Any other name. Any other minute.
We didn’t speak of it.
We never do.