The Palace Park

The Palace Park

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Dear Little One

Today your Auntie C left after 10 days of Mommy-sitting. It has been so lovely having her here, having her as a distraction, a buffer, a shoulder.

A letter arrived on Friday morning with the preliminary findings of your autopsy. In all of the things I never thought I'd do in my life, this figures pretty high on the list. I never thought I'd write my dead sweet little boy a letter about what his autopsy results were. I never thought I would love or miss someone this much.

The findings are vague; thus far, all I know is that you had underdeveloped lungs and a venous drainage problem that made you and life 'incompatible.' And so we wait a bit more.

Other things I never thought I'd do: I never thought I'd discover that most funeral parlors do not charge baby funerals or cremations and that they also provide little baby coffins free of charge. The coffins are in white with a name plate. The funeral directors provide a car to carry the parents and guests to the crematorium. I never thought I would use the phrase 'my dead son' or variations and feel numb to the flicker of shock that crosses people's faces. I never thought I would hold a scratch mitten and think of your tiny, tiny hand clutching my finger while my heart swelled and prepared to break.

When we left you sleeping at UCLH, I think both your father and I entered a state of suspended animation. We went on auto-pilot and -- for the most part -- assumed that the world would step in and take over and that your remains would arrive in a box. Magically, the saddest of presents, so that we could lay you to rest with your grandparents in the sweet smelling spring of Welsh countryside. You would have learned to fish here, to climb trees, and to swim in the sea. And so you shall learn to do all these things, my little darling. You'll just learn to do them in your own time.

Friday, 19 March 2010

On my life list. . .

I have added 'Spend a year without any antibiotics or painkillers.'

I have been on antibiotics every month for the last 5 months -and bizarrely - they only leave me feeling drained. The most recent batch - a double whammy focusing on my woman parts - has left me feeling like I'm stuffed full of cotton fluff and on the verge of growing patchwork ears. Food tastes like sawdust and my eyes itch. All in all, this is a lot of fun. I'm sure you can imagine.

As life resumes, I am now 'back in the community.' I have a community midwife and community health visitor (specifically to make sure I'm not on the verge of any Plathian acts of self-harm) and a shrink who specializes in Post Traumatic Stress and perinatal situations.

Next week, your Auntie C (one of my bestest friends) arrives. It will be so lovely to have someone from home here, especially someone who wears the same size shoes.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A suitcase of books and 1 bag a piece.

Dear Fanglet

The first few days are hazy. The door bell rings continuously. Flowers fill the house, the scent of lilies beautifully overpowering. Gifts arrive, sent before you left, whilst I tell myself that because you knew how much we love you, how much other people love you and how we want you to live out your own path that you knew it was okay if you moved on to that Great Good Thing you were meant for.

The phone rings. People come by, their faces wary and pained. Your father and I are seldom apart. I sleep, worn out, slightly confused and tender. I cry, I stare out the window, I laugh. We make jokes that people might find strange but that we have to make because laughter, well, is a miracle worker.

I never did tell you that you reminded me of the Dude in THE BIG LEBOWSKI, did I?

And so we go to Italy. We walk and talk and hold hands and cry. We laugh and eat and read. Sunlight dapples, snow swirls and for the most part, no one finds us to demand anything, need anything, ask for anything, to check our pulses. The Arno swirls through Florence and Pisa and we sit on our last day in Italy outside a cafe by the sea, just thinking and holding hands, thinking about you, about the siblings we hope you'll have, about each other. We are just together in a way that we had not been for several months, for so many reasons. And we come home.

I packed up your clothes last night. Softly, softly cracks the heart. Crying just a bit, because you would have looked so sweet in this and look, the little scratch mittens. Your dad goes back to work, I can touch my toes, the crocuses are blooming and life moves on, just not the way one thinks it will.

Now, if I could really just get the milk to stop coming in at those 'socially inopportune' moments. . .