I realise that someone falling upon this blog who starts reading from the newest posts may not fully understand the events or the experiences that have led me to this point. A comment on my latest post has led me to take stock and review the message I am putting out there.
I don’t analyse or agonise about what I write and publish. My view of a blog is that it is really a journal that I choose to share with anyone who cares to read it. Of course I am aware that I am publishing it so I probably do subconsciously censor it. However I write fast as thoughts come into my head, it has been described as kind of opening up a vein and letting the words pour onto the page.
I always write like that, even articles that I have written for newspapers and magazines. It comes easily to me and even articles that are edited and amended end up very close to what I originally wrote. One of the reasons I do publish what I write is because I have an inner desire to help other parents by sharing my story and to help someone who may have lost their child to suicide very recently, so in most of my posts I do try to show there is hope for the future even after you have experienced your worst nightmare. Of course it is also cathartic.
Nothing in the world can prepare you for that knock on the door late at night from a policeman who knows his job is to tear a mother’s heart apart.
Very early on; in fact from the first minute after the news was delivered my conscious mind realised that I was not behaving in the way I would have perceived a grieving mother should behave. I used to tell people in the early weeks that I wanted to write Kate McGann a letter and apologise. You see I now understood why the face she showed the world when her beautiful little girl had been snatched away from her was not the face of a grieving mother. I now understood that the mind goes into shock and shuts down. Yes I am sure some people would weep constantly or howl or fall to the floor and wouldn’t be able to function, but not me. I looked like Kate McGann, composed, groomed and articulate.
If I tell you what I did in the 3 weeks following my son’s death you will be shocked, truly shocked. The very next day after I was told of his death I went to Argos to collect a juicer I had ordered the day before. See I told you, you would be shocked.
I drove to Cambridge 2 days later on my own. I saw the field where he died, I saw his body in the funeral home, I picked out music for his funeral, I met a celebrant and wrote his eulogy. I met his friends; I went out for dinner with my brother and his wife. I then drove back to Cornwall, found a puppy and went to see her. I went to the dentist for my normal check up and went to the hospital for an appointment for tests for a minor complaint. I then drove back to Cambridge and stayed in a hotel and attended his funeral. All the way through this I rarely cried. I ate food at every meal and I slept at night, although the latter was helped by Diazepam. I looked OK; I washed my hair and put make up on. The point I am trying to make, is if you had bumped into me in the street you would not have looked at me and seen any indication that I was living through the worst nightmare of my life.
However, none of that changes the fact that up until recently I felt like I wanted to die every single day. Somehow I found a way to cope, to pull myself through every day and then recently I wrote the blog about waking up from a coma.
Someone, a depressed young man, read my blog and somehow he read into my post that losing a child to suicide is not so bad. Here I was writing about enjoying life and feeling OK. So that made him think that if he did what Toby did, his Mum would be OK and she would get over it.
I write what I feel, but each time I am going through the really dark times, I don’t always write about it here. I want to help and support others and show that there is hope, even when you think your life is over, destroyed, devastated beyond belief.
So for the avoidance of any doubt, losing my son was so bad, very, very bad. Dark terrible thoughts can spring into my mind at any time, out of the blue. I hear others talking about their children and their achievements and their grandchildren and I feel empty and bereft. No one can really understand unless they are also living through it.
Just last week, a dear friend who I know loves me and would never hurt me, told me to put away Toby’s pictures and that it was time to get over it as it has been two years. Incredibly hurtful, but I cannot blame this friend as they just cannot know how my pain feels and they thought they were giving me advice that would help me.
So yes, I am getting on with my life, and like the double amputee, I am putting a positive spin on it and signing up for the Paralympics because what is the alternative? But that doesn’t mean I’d give everything to have my legs back metaphorically. It doesn’t mean that I don’t miss my son every second of every day with an ache that will never be healed.
So to that young man the message is that your Mum would be devastated forever and be left with a life sentence of pain, as I have. She may be able to put on a brave face and get on with her life as I have, but I urge you to seek help. And yes – it is so bad.