I had a difficult couple of days at the start of this week. I just felt really sad and for the first time I also felt that guilt that they all talk about. Not that I think I could’ve done anything to help Jude, it was inevitable that he’d die from almost the moment he was born, although we didn’t know that, but as his mummy it was my job to protect him. These thoughts have been going around my head for the past two days and I’ve found it pretty hard. There’s also the constant dull ache of missing him which I expect will never go away.
I think that part of the problem this week was that I had a busy weekend and spent a lot of the time not talking about Jude. I spent a whole day with some people who really won’t talk about him. I think it upsets them, or they worry it might upset us. I find it difficult and tiring and although I still talk about him, their lack of response frustrates me. At home and with friends we talk about him all the time. Not always about his death or how much we miss him but just in the same way we talked about him when he was here, remembering funny things he did or said and these people know that we need to hear his name. He needs to remembered because he can’t make any new memories.
Kids talk about him all the time. My friend’s wee boy asked what would happen to all his toys just after he died and instead of making us upset (she was mortified) it made us laugh and it was a gift to hear his name from someone else. Another of his friends was talking about how they won all the races at the playgroup sports day last year as he was showing me his medal. Kids aren’t frightened of making us cry, they say his name as though he was still here “Can I have a go on Jude’s scooter?” and I love them all for it.
In days gone by when losing a child was much more common people were expected to contain their grief and never mention the child. These days it’s much more acceptable to talk about grief but child loss is so rare that people don’t know how to react to bereaved parents. It’s a bit of catch 22. I’m so lucky to have friends who are happy to remember my boy and I hope we can still do that 20 years from now.
My two oldest friends have done very special things to show that they care about Jude and about us. Apart from the constant stream of communication from both of them (even when I’m too tired to reply they still email, text , write long letters) the last minute flight from Australia for his funeral, holding my hand on our first get away without him and listening to me talk over and over about him as I struggled to take it all in. My two oldest and closest friends, also happen to be the most determined and talented people I know.
Lisa, I have know since birth, we were each other’s bridesmaids and she is the godmother to both of my children. She is on the last few miles of a 500 mile walk in aid of a children’s hospice in memory of Jude. She didn’t do this, like David and I, as an excuse to get out of the house but she fitted it around a full-time job and three kids!
Jill my oldest school friend and drinking buddy is a journalist in Australia. She started to write a book about her year of sobriety and her early drinking days in Scotland last year, when my only worry was how my teenage self would be reflected in print. She has included details of her time with Jude last summer and when he died. She asked if I was okay with this and of course I was. It means that his name is written down somewhere in print and people who read the book will know that he was here.