When Alfie died I had the overwhelming desire for him, I remember repeatedly telling anyone who was prepared to listen, "i just want my baby". I was however, reluctant to say I missed him - because although I had carried him, I never felt I truly knew him. As with all babies - I talked to him and dreamt of our future, but as I never spent time with him earth side I didn't know him if you see what I mean, how can one miss someone they've never met? I felt odd when I read other babyloss mums writing about how much they miss their babies.
Lately I've been pondering the word' missing', and a few nights ago in the middle of the night it came to me -after 4 years I realised I don't miss him, I miss what I had imagined as our future - he is however 'missing'.
Missing from my family, missing from our cosy mornings in bed, his birthday will be celebrated tomorrow and he won't be there - he'll be missing - forever missing from my life.
Which leads me to think, how can someone I never knew, someone I haven't heard cry, seen smile or heard shout mama have left such an enormous gap? After 4 years, I had thought I would have come to terms with his death, however if anything it has become harder. The raw grief has passed, but as every year passes I am a year further away from him, from his smell, his touch his softness. He is frozen in time and I guess a part of me has too. I am a fully functioning human, mother, wife,daughter sister, friend, teacher - however a teeniest part of me remains stuck- frozen back on the day they told me my 1st child was dead, nothing now will ever recover that time, its gone and its as if a part of me seems to have left with him.
I guess, the word missing is the closest word people have to describe the emptiness, the total lack one feels when they lose a baby. There doesn't seem to be suitable language to describe the emotions one feels - as though losing a baby is so 'un -normal' its never warranted a word to describe it, instead we have to borrow language from other situations - hmmm now I know I'm not making sense and I'm sleep deprived. People say 'I don't know what to say' - is it because we don't have the words to describe the awfulness of what has happened, or because as a society we've never needed them, because historically our babies weren't fullyfledged members of society and therefore one didn't need language to discuss something that simply didn't exist.
Last year on Alfie's anniversary for the first time I felt an emptiness in the gestures we made to mark his special day. Those gestures seemed to emphasis the lack of him rather than celebrate him.
I listened to an interesting debate this week about babyloss and one of the panel, a psychatrist was discussing the lack of rituals surrounding babyloss. This idea resonated with me, it is so true - and the sad fact is that recognised rituals don't exist simply because society doesn't recognise our babies and therefore they don't require a specific ritual. We have to make our own rituals, which are recognised by other people who've lost a baby - these rituals appear macabre to anyone outside the group, and to be brutally frank I think that prior to Alfie's death I would have found the idea of a birthday cake for a dead child odd. We are, however forced into creating 'special' things to do, to validate our childs existence.
This week someone at work did the usual "now you've got two wee ones to look after..." I am well aware of the beauty and awesomeness of Archie and Sadie - I don't need to be told that, and certainly not as a vehicle to avoid discussing the 'missing' child.
Hmmm on re reading this I realise I'm clearly feeling hostile - bracing myself for the overwhelming sadness that is to come.
Kisses to my darling boy xxx Mummy loves you whether you are missing or not