This morning the lovely primary one teachers from Jude’s school are running the marathon to raise money for the Sick Kids Hospital, in memory of Jude.
They have raised over two thousand pounds and people from all over the world have donated. Every time someone left a comment that mentioned Jude I felt as though people were thinking about him. It’s amazing what a comfort that is.
Jude never really liked school. I mean he enjoyed it once he was there and he had lots of little friends, in the way boys do, but he cried in the line every morning. This was all due to the fact that he was leaving me. When he was given a nursery place 5 days a week I kept him off on a Friday because that was always “our day.” I’m so glad that I did that and I now have all these fantastic Friday morning memories but I can’t help thinking that I made him into a wee sap.
Another primary one parent came over to talk to me in the weeks after Jude died and she told me that her daughter was “sensitive” to all sorts of things and she had “seen” Jude in the school playground that week. I smiled and told her that was nice and as I don’t have any strong feelings about life after death either way I wasn’t offended. I did laugh about it later on though when David remarked that if Jude could come back to visit he wouldn’t go and hang around in the playground but he’d spend his time following me around metaphorically clinging onto my leg. I like that idea. 😉
I have to share this (funny?) story.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before but I have some lovely friends. I have very old friends who helped me to survive in the very early days, bringing food, entertaining Isla and one amazing friend who went away for a few days holiday with us and helped us through many “firsts” without Jude.
I also have friends who live locally and have kids the same age as Isla. I’m so glad that they’re not mums of Jude sized kids, I can’t even really speak to them in she playground yet. We are a group of about 10 ladies and we try to get out once every few weeks for a meal or to one another’s houses. Since Jude died I’ve only missed one night out with them. It’s not always easy to get motivated for a night out but I always feel better once I’m there. It’s one of the places where I can talk about Jude without worrying about anyone feeling awkward.
Last night was a manicure night at one of these friends houses. There was a beautician and I was the second person to have my nails done. It was only a quick 10 minute appointment but we got around to the subject of it being a small world. In no time at all she was telling me how she had been recommended to the host by one of the other mums at the party who she’d given a massage to when she was really upset. The reason she was so upset was that she’d just come back from the funeral of a wee boy “from around here I think” who had died at only five. Her point was that her own sister-in-law had also been to the same funeral that day, thus proving our original theorum that it’s a small world. At one point she stopped what she was doing, looked me in the eye and said, “you probably remember it, his parents were teachers.”
Now I could’ve done a few things at this point. I might’ve alerted her to the fact that, yes I had heard about that sad tale, first fucking hand! Or I might’ve surrendered to my first reaction and run from the room and home with only one hand painted sterling silver. Instead I cleared my throat and guided her onto the subject of holidays, where I learned that she was heading off to my childhood holiday destination of Nerja in Spain (small world). We carried on with his innocuous chat as I regained my composure and settled my heart rate back to something that is survivable. As I left she delivered her punchline: “in my line of work, you meet so many people who know one another and I’ve learned that discretion is the key.”
Rather worryingly, as she was leaving she said she was going to do the nails of a teacher that I work with occasionally and she would let her know that she’d met me. I think that might be one of the biggest “penny dropping” occasions ever. Poor lady, at least I won’t be there to see it.
All this grieving takes it out of you. I’d expect the crying to tire you out but what I didn’t appreciate was the amount of energy it would take to get through the day and concentrate on the task of living. I go to work and put in a full day, go for walks in the evening, clean the house, take Isla to her various activities, do her homework, read to her, play with her and do all the things I did before, but now they are just so damn tiring. It takes a lot of concentration to focus on these things without thinking of his last words or seeing a picture in my mind of his wee teeth (he never did get his big boy teeth) and falling apart. I can do it, most days, but it takes a lot of energy and sometimes the fragile partition that separates my realities can fracture.
This week I was having coffee with some colleagues when I decided to check Facebook while I waited for them to join me. The first update told me that the seven year old girl from America who had been struggling with pulmonary hypertension had died just hours earlier. It threw me. I did manage to join the conversation and maintain my composure but it was there, lurking, waiting until I had two minutes alone to break down in selfish tears. David thinks that I should compartmentalise these things and that perhaps the Facebook group I joined for parents of children with PH isn’t actually helping. I think I might agree. There is no going back for us, nothing to be learned or gained and the inevitability of the children’s fate is painful.
A friends from work has told me that you’d never know that I was so devastated and I am coping so well with everything. I’m glad to hear that because I really don’t do well with people’s sympathy, but I hope they realise I’m not all better. I haven’t adopted a “these things happen” attitude and I will never be over the death of my boy. But what good will their sympathy do me? It’s much better if I can get through the days, paint on a smile and fake it ’till I make it.
It’s bloody tiring though.
I had a dream about him six weeks after he died.
I called for him to come upstairs and when he arrived I held his wee face in my hands and said “I’ve not seen you for ages”
I’ve not had another dream with him in it since then and I wish for one every night.
I miss him.
The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.