I want to write about something wonderful that happened yesterday. We brought Conor’s little brother to visit relatives. He cried when someone other than us, his parents tried to hold him. While he was happy to smile at anyone in view, he wanted to be in our arms. This is the first proof we have that he feels safe and content with us. He knows that his Mummy & Daddy are special to him and this is the most amazing feeling.
In the weeks after Conor died we walked to try to pass the time. There was one day I heard a young child call for his mother. It felt as though someone was ripping my broken heart from my body. Hearing “Mummy” directed at someone else hurt so much. I was a Mummy too but there was no living child going to call or need me.
I still cannot imagine anything worse than losing a child. Regardless of how many children a family has, the loss of a child/sibling leaves a gaping hole in a family and a lifetime of sadness. However, when it’s your first child who dies you’re also faced with a very real fear that you may never get to be parents to a living child.
For a long time after Conor died I struggled to be around families. It hurt so much seeing the special relationship between parents and their children. Each “Mummy” stung and left me feeling so empty. I was a Mummy too but my child was in the ground rather than playing by my feet. Other than immediate family (with whom I already had a special role as Auntie) I avoided being around friends or extended family with their young children present. I made a decision to be gentle with myself. If it caused too much pain or anxiety I avoided the situation. I came across a bit of criticism for this but life was hard enough without adding to it. It has meant I missed out on meeting new babies born in this time and missed significant milestones with others. However, it’s what I needed to do to survive.
I continue to miss Conor and I think of him every minute of every waking hour. There is a two year old hole in our family which will never be filled. However, there is now a living little boy who helps makes this Mummy feel special. His presence in our lives is helping us to re-engage with other families. He is far too young to speak but one day I might just get to hear those very special two syllables “Mummy”.