Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Son and Daughters Who Missed Christmas

It's been a strange couple of days without the boys.  I have appreciated the peace and quiet.  Relished the ability to keep the house tidy for more than a nanosecond before the floor is littered with lego/zoobs/magnetix and the air is filled with either shrieks or demands.  But I've missed them.

One of the mums I have recently started to become friends with, whose son is in Johnny Drama's class, met me for a mani/pedi and lunch on Saturday.  She is verging on 9 months pregnant with what I presumed to be her second child.  Turns out that's not the case, as I discovered while we chatted with our feet luxuriated in a soothing foot spa.  She gave birth prematurely to twin girls two years ago, in very similar circumstances to my own, both of whom died.

We shared our stories.  I asked about her daughters.  It was nice to be able to talk openly about my dead son with someone who totally understands.  Has stood in my shoes.  Had her world obliterated and yet despite all the odds is still standing.  Did not quite think she would ever again be able to perform the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other but now is nearing the light of a different tunnel, with a new baby.

She was on my mind ever since our lunch.  I couldn't shake the thoughts of the loss of her little girls out of my mind.  It hurt me to think of the pain that she has gone through - and of the deep abiding grief that she still feels.  I eventually wrote a short email.  I am never sure that this is the right thing to do, how my words will be received but luckily they struck the right chord and she replied a day later.

In part of her email she said the following, "you inspire me in so many ways - your ability to talk about Mack without crying and your ability to honour him within your family and with friends.  I am starting to get there but it still brings such heart ache that I struggle."

And I guess that this is predominantly the choice I have made - to try to find the good in the loss of my first child.  To remember the intense joy I felt - the immediate connection - as he was placed in my arms. To be grateful for having the chance to know him at all, however fleeting.  And yes, I will talk about him openly,  without any embarrassment or concern for whether or not it makes other people uneasy and uncomfortable.  Dead babies are not everyone's favourite topic of conversation (I have found this particularly true of the checkout staff at Wholefoods.  Just kidding).  But frankly I don't give a shit.

But that doesn't mean to say that the grief and longing for my son doesn't hit me with a sledgehammer on a regular basis.

What would I trade for just ONE day with my son, who would now be 7 years old?  An arm?  Most definitely.  A leg?  Yep, take your pick.  My brain?  Well, what's left of it.  My heart?  Oh, he has that already.

I would just love the opportunity to smell his hair.  And to look into his eyes.  And exchange a smile.  I would like an ordinary day.  Not Christmas or anything eventful, just a plain run-of-the-mill day with the usual squabbles and backchat and child-created chaos.  And those sudden unexpected moments of pure bliss - like when Johnny Drama paused before getting in the car this morning with his dad, then ran back to the front gate to shout, 'I love you Momma!  I love you so very much!'.

I want that.  I want him.  I want to be able to be Mum to him.  Oh how I still long to fulfill this very simple instinct that was created the moment he came into the world.  Will this longing ever go away?  I am just so curious as to 'who he is' and 'who he would become'.  My two living boys are so remarkably unique and individual and it is, predominantly, a total joy being privileged enough to be a part of their lives.  To play such an important role for them (assuming of course that I don't totally fuck it up).

And I wish more than anything - and day by day more than ever before - that I could do the same for him.  And the knowledge that I never will is sometimes the greatest loss of all.


  1. It is wonderful that you reached out to this other woman, wonderful for you both I'm guessing, finally having someone you can talk to without worrying about their reactions etc. Often the person that suffers the loss becomes the comforter of others brushing things aside so as not to make the other uncomfortable.

    And us of course you can always talk to us. We wont wince or pull away or make up an excuse to leave early. Promise.

  2. Oh God, can hardly type for the tears.

    You are an amazing person, an amazing mum. I can only imagine how it must feel, but even imagining is too painful. Keep talking about Mack on here, we're listening. x

  3. So sad....I'm so sorry I hadn't realised that you'd lost a child. Very brave to write about it and good for you to write to her. Thinking of you Lxxx

  4. Heather - thank you - I so often feel i am repeating myself on the blog. Nice to know I am not boring everyone to death...

    NotSupermum - you have no idea how much I value your support and kind words

    Family Affairs - Thanks LuLu xx

  5. No, you are not boring everyone to death. I love reading what you write about your son, though my eyes fill with tears.

  6. You make my eyes fill with tears too, but I still want to hear about Mack, about your bond with him and your loss. A dear friend of mine had a baby son who died within a few hours of his birth and I wondered how she ever found the strength to live through that. She did, as you have and your new friend is learning to do. So hard, so very hard. I wish I could say something more meangingful, convey through my words what could more simply be said in a warm and gentle hug. Thanks for being you.

  7. A friend of mine lost two babies, one after another, I couldn't believe how strong she was to keep trying again. She now has two children. We talk a lot about her babies. It's so important to talk and I'm glad you were able to talk about Mack with your new friend.

    I can't believe your strength. Dealing with Christmas on your own and away from home, I truly admire you.

    Wishing you a Happy New Year to you and your boys.

  8. If one talks about things, especially things in common even with strangers, then you connect and connections are so very important. I am privileged to learn about Mack and Violet and Rose, what amazing Mum's they have. Happy New year to you all.

  9. That moved me to tears - it's incredibly brave of you to share that with us.

    I hope you have a wonderful new year.

    Kitty x

  10. Such a heartfelt post, you are an amazing woman. Your boys are lucky to have you.
    Talking about the difficult parts of our lives is the best therapy.

  11. What a beautiful but utterly sad post. I'm sure one day you will get to meet him.

  12. I'm so glad that you share these things with us. I've not been through anything like this, but that doesn't mean I won't, and it helps me to know the right things to say to people who have. I have learned so much by reading your story and feeling your words deep in my heart. It's always ok to share whatever you like whenever you like.

  13. It always surprises me how amazingly sympathetic and supportive you all are. You always find the right words. Thank you so much. It has taken me a long while for me to find this forum to talk about Mack and it means the world to me.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you

  14. I happened upon your blog, as you do, and was totally mesmerised by your wonderful post about your adored little boy. It was very brave of you to write down your innermost, heartfelt emotions, and I couldn't stop the tears from rolling as I was reading it.Of course you must always talk about him, for not to would mean denying his precious life ever happened. Never feel you are repeating yourself, or that you shouldn't talk about him. You sound a wonderful, loving Mum. x

  15. I can only just imagine that pain and when I do it's breathtaking. Very cruel. XX