Mother’s Day

Sitting with my youngest son Joseph, he asks ‘If you had one wish, what would it be?’

Lee answers tentatively ‘To have Harry back’

Joe ponders and then

‘Would you have him at 5 years old, or 18 as he should be now’

WOW, what a question…

In all honesty and maybe selfishly I would want him just as he was at 5.5 years old, so I could watch him grow up and no longer wonder what he would be doing now, what would he look like, and all those other endless unanswered questions.

As spring and Mother’s Day approaches every year, I am not reminded of my loss, (it’s always there) but the feelings and thoughts are heightened. For most mothers I would imagine that this time of year brings reflection, in whether we are good mothers, whether we made the right choices, whether our children love us unconditionally as we do them. My reflection is no different except I am basing my questions on 13 years of lost opportunity for me to be who I wanted to be, for Harry. Of course, I reflect on my 3 living children and I have basis to form my thinking. With Harry I could literally create fantasy after fantasy. I could tell myself that he wouldn’t drive me mad, that he loved me and showed this every day, that he was respectful and kind, but in actual fact I don’t really know this.

The most painful part is not knowing what he would look now. I see his brothers and how their features constantly change, between looking like Jessica and then each other and in their earlier years how they looked and reminded me of Harry. Isaac in looks and Joseph in personality. All three of them carry Harry within them and he will always be a central force to our family.

My feelings 13 years are no different, yet they’re surrounded by an invisible forcefield that prevents them from spilling out, dulls down the external impact. However, the internal battle and impact remains. I feel that those who do not know, do not understand, may wonder, how feelings can be turned on and off, depending upon the time of year, or even how one is feeling at that given time in life. But this isn’t the case. We (bereaved parents) do not reach for the switch and decide it’s time to dial the grief up, that it’s ok because people will understand and expect it due to the time of year. NO, we do not do this. But sometimes that forcefield or whatever it is for those who know, just loses its ability; it can be intercepted, even divided allowing pain to escape and breed, sometimes even provoke and scare those that come into contact.

Often, weeks leading up to poignant times of year, I feel my mind switch and dull down, worry I am not performing, worry I am not being the best person, best mother, wife, friend, colleague, leader. I find myself really having to try sooo much harder to be ‘me’. Small incidents that may not normally impact me, feel big and overwhelming. I want to ask for forgiveness, for understanding. Sometimes I do. Sometimes it makes no difference. Sometimes it does.

What I have learned all this time on is to give myself time and to TRY not to take things personally, to understand that some people do not know how to respond or what to do and there is little I can do to help them. Except to write and I hope that writing gives others the opportunity to understand what they do not understand, to try to counter their responses and attitudes to death dying and grief and accept those grieving for who we are and what we live through day in and day out.

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