When Eddie was here, it was my responsibility to look after him, to mother him. I am still a mother and will always be Eddie’s mother.
But as I look at where I am today, just over 4 months since my beautiful baby boy was tragically taken from me, I wonder if it’s Eddie that now looks after me. I question how I am here, how I got here, and how I am managing to get through the days. Yet somehow, I am still standing.
I know, in part, it is owed to the unwavering support of family and friends. And of course my rock, Chris. But, maybe somewhere, Eddie is watching over me and is giving me the strength and courage to soldier on. And so it reminds me of a quote that I chose for Eddie’s funeral service – something that no parent should ever have to do. It’s by AA Milne and taken from Winnie the Pooh:
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together…
There is something you must always remember.
You are braver than you believe,
stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…
I’ll always be with you.”
~ A.A. Milne
Every time I cry about the loss of my baby boy, I get equally upset for Eddie. And as much as I get upset, knowing that we will never get to see our son grow up, it also desperately saddens me to think that he has lost out too. Eddie has lost out on a life that was full of so much love, hope and promise. He has lost his future as much as we have lost ours.
My brother-in-law said that in his short life, Eddie was loved and only knew love. In his short existence, it was one that was pure and innocent; untouched by the horrors of life.
Grief in its essence, is love. Without love there is no grief and there will never be a day when I stop grieving for my baby boy.
Eddie was loved. Eddie is still loved. Eddie will always be loved x
I gave birth to you
In my arms, I held you
I fed you
I nurtured you
I cherished you
I loved you
I was meant to protect you
But life had other plans for you
I miss you
I pine for you
I cry so many tears for you
My heart is broken because of you
I am half alive without you
A childhood friend of mine emailed me the other day. We hadn’t spoken for years but we have connected again in the saddest of circumstances.
She was the daughter of my mother’s best friend who died of cancer when we were 14 years old. It was a battle she fought bravely but was tragically taken too early, too young and too soon.
I am grateful she has come back into my life again, despite the reasons why. And I wanted to share a poem, which she shared with me, by her mother’s favourite poet Merritt Malloy. It’s taken from her book ‘The People Who Didn’t Say Goodbye’
Something You Can Count On
I want to tell you
in a few words
what I could not tell you
in too many
I want you to know
that it will be hard
to live without you
You will always be the one
I’m thinking about
when somebody asks me
who I’m thinking
Eddie, wherever you are, this is something you can always count on.
We have been taught about the fragility of life and how life can change instantaneously. Without warning. And I suppose we feel mis-trusting of life.
Chris went to Amsterdam yesterday for work. It was our first night apart since we lost Eddie and it was tough, even though it was for only 24 hrs. I had the support of a good friend and family who stayed with me but I missed Chris in a different way to how I used to miss him.
Back then, it was taken for granted that he would be home safely. But yesterday was different and we both felt it. We said goodbye like it was the final goodbye.
There is an expectation by others that grief has some form of an expiry date. We should be moving on, getting on and embracing life. But how do you learn to enjoy life again without the most important person in it?
I have 2 masks. My mask of normalcy and the mask beneath the mask. My mask of normalcy can get up in the morning and function. We moved house 6 weeks after Eddie was born and there are rooms that are still unfinished, that were meant to stay unfinished as we were too busy juggling life with a new baby. Since we now have so much time on our hands, we have embarked on a new house project. Our weekends which were meant to be reserved for family outings have now been replaced with outings to furniture and kitchen stores.
My mask of normalcy allows me to speak to builders, research paints and colours and such. I can now hold normal conversations with people I know, and strangers, without immediately bursting into floods of tears. There are times that I can smile and even laugh. And in those moments, I catch glimpses of my old self.
But even though I have the ability to function, it does not lessen my grief and my sadness. It does not mean that I am enjoying life. It means I am functioning, coping and existing. There is a mask beneath the mask that is the new me. The person who questions whether they will ever experience happiness again and who desperately wants her old life back. A life which was full of hope and optimism. A life where I held my baby boy in my arms and not just in my heart.
And in an instant, our lives were changed forever. It was as if someone had decided to press the reset button.
I have come to realise that no days are good, but some are more tolerable than others. There are the moments of light, of hope for a future where one day, we will experience happiness again. Then without warning, the bricks and mortar we are using to re-build our life, are pulled apart and come crashing down.
But I know that even in those moments of light, our life will never be the same again. Our grief will be like a thread, woven into the fabric of our daily life. And one day, it will be richer because of it. I know today I am stronger, more resilient to what life throws at us – and for that, I am grateful.
In other news, I have been let off not one, but two contested parking tickets. I clearly have too much time on my hands. Thank goodness for small mercies.
I pondered over the title of this post before I hit the publish button. I am aware that there are actions we are taking that implies we are making progress, but progress does not seem fitting at a time like this. Moving forward feels more appropriate as it is something that we are doing, not through choice, but out of necessity. Time moves us forward unknowingly, unwillingly.
We are in the midst of setting up Teddy’s Wish, a charity that we hope will honour the memory of our darling boy. This is, in a sense, making progress. We have the final logo approved thanks to a very special and wonderful friend who has helped to make this happen. We are also in the process of getting the website designed and built whilst working through the endless paperwork at HRMC to get the charity registered. And importantly, we have a couple of fund raising projects that will happen in the next few months. First up, Chris is taking part in the ‘Ride London’ event in August which he is diligently training for.
Chris promised Eddie that we would live our lives for him, that we would make him proud of his mummy and daddy. This is our first step to achieving this. We love you Eddie and we always will x
For some reason I can’t get the song, ‘friends will be friends’ by Queen out of my head today. Totally random, I’m not even a Queen fan. But Chris is, and according to him, it was one of their worst songs.
But I think there is something quite apt about it as my mind wanders to friends who are travelling on this journey with us. Not on the same train as us, but on parallel tracks.
Grieving is a solitary process and as much as they try, our friends and family are unable to take away our excruciating pain. But the friends who are able to provide some sense of normalcy in our upside down world; the ones who are able to provide some light in our darkness and have the ability to make us laugh, even for just a moment, I thank you. The friends who just listen, or who text and call without expecting a response, who don’t give up on us, thank you all for just being there. Wholeheaterdly.
“When you’re through with life and all hope is lost,
Hold out your hand cos friends will be friends right till the end’