Birthday parties, back to school chaos and final year school Ball planning is reality. It’s now.
It doesn’t wipe out the fact that 12 years ago on the 7th of February 2001, my 5 year old son died and took with him a piece of my heart that will never, ever grow back.
Sure I carry the loss better these days but it doesn’t go away. It will never go away. Each year I believe that it will all be ok. That this time if I stay busy it will be just like any other day. It’s not though. The mind is amazing, in real life I forget where my keys are and can’t remember a child’s name when I need to but what I really want to forget, won’t be forgotten no matter how many years go by.
I will wake up, look at the clock and immediately flash back to the exact moment, back then! It will happen all day until I’m able to crumble into bed at the end of the day, bid the day farewell and live for another 364 days before I live the same day all over again. Only if you have experienced such a loss will you understand what I go through.
So many promises, reassurances that all would be ok. Smiling faces, beeping machines. Cold coffee, dry sandwiches. Footsteps up and down halls, ticking of the clock. Trolley wheels squeaking. Then footsteps and his surgeon’s face. The shrug of his shoulders, hands out in desperation, tiredness and a flicker of defeat in his eyes. A brief explanation that it was all over. My son was gone.
Last cuddles, staring painfully at the tubes. Glaring at his still chest, willing it to move, whispering in his ear, screaming out to God, begging for life to return. Promises that I’ll do anything, just please give me back my son.
Empty arms, empty heart, emptiness and the beginning of a long, new and painful path through grief and recovery.
No child should die so young.
This rug was given to me by a group of Mums from the ‘Growing Families’ Australia group. Women who had never met me, some of which knew me only briefly. Joining together to reach out and offer me comfort in the form of a quilt made with Motherly love. Each square specifically chosen from the heart of each Mum. I wonder if they knew that today that rug will be close by. While the world moves busily through the day I will sit and remember my beautiful son, his brown curly locks, his innocent giggles and the promise I made him to buy him anything he wanted after his surgery! His love of balloons, chocolate freddo frogs and the connections we’d made since his birth.
I’ll remember the awesome support given by Heart Kids (WA) the love and understanding by other parents with heart kids and Williams Syndrome kids and I’ll think fondly of my beautiful friendship in Florida with a Mum who’s living son is the next closest memory I have of my own departed son.
I’ll be ok, I always am. By the time the kids are due home from school any tears will be dried and I’ll be ready for reality and the kids who need me. I’ll probably soak myself in their hugs and I’ll plan a simple evening and an early night so that the next morning comes quick. Not without it’s own sadness though albeit brief. You see the 8th is our 21st wedding anniversary. It’s also the morning that in 2001 I flew home to Perth, alone. To confront a life without my son. We’ve never really celebrated our wedding anniversary since, which is sad but it’s a difficult thing when it’s shadowed with such memories. We should though, one day we will because we were told our marriage wouldn’t survive the loss of a child!
To every parent who has ever suffered losing a child due to accident or illness a tear rolls down my cheek in understanding. We are all joined with a special, yet sad, bond.
To my Dear, Sweet Reuben, until we meet again! RIP 25.11.1995 – 7.2.2001
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