stepping back

Anyone who knows me well knows that an email containing the phrase, “I am pleased to say that I surpassed even my own expectations,” would immediately turn me off. 

I’m not a big fan of blatant self-promotion. A bloated ego makes me cringe in the same way executives who wink at women do. Both apply here, and it’s just… ugh.

This particular chap at the office intends to recreate a fundraiser he initiated last Christmas that culminated with a visit to the local children’s hospital to hand out presents and hand over a big cheque. All well and good (minus of course the percentage of intentions that are shamelessly selfish). Except this year it’s within my remit to oversee stuff like this. And I know the hospital far too intimately, particularly the cardiac ward and PICU.


My memories of the place certainly haven’t faded - far from it. Instead they’ve morphed from shocking flashbacks and taken the alternate, slinky form of dreams and nightmares both.  There are still frequently nights when I relive the hours before and after Sadie died down to the minute. I can’t help it; I don’t know if that ever stops. In a crazy way I’m sure I’d miss it if it did.

I remember the smallest detail, down to the round metal buzzer we would press to gain entry into the ward. I’d say the same thing each time, “Hello, it’s Sadie McKay’s mother,” before hearing the door click and squirting a generous dose of antibacterial cream onto my palm as the door closed behind me. How I felt protective and dizzy and absolutely incredulous on the day we arrived via a silent, steady ambulance.

I remember walking out for the last time, and in a scene straight out of a hundred movies we’ve all seen, I stared from the backseat window as a woman ran to the car trying to reach us before we left, waving her arms at a driver who failed to notice her.  Our counsellor from the ward.  Her eyes locked with mine and I didn’t flinch. I knew I would hate her for whatever came out of her sad mouth beneath her very sad eyes.


Back to this jackarse with his ambitious plans to surpass even himself. 

Managing this would mean regular contact with the hospital and attending the event itself.  If I’m honest with myself, I can’t imagine a purer form of torture than having to go back there.  And a little part of me is disappointed in myself for that. I would love to be one of those women who takes on a cause because it’s close to her heart and puts her philanthropic urges to good use in the place where she lost so much, helping herself to heal and helping give hope to others. I’m sure you know someone wonderful and strong like that.  As much as I’d like to be, I don’t think I’m that woman.


What about you? Have you been back to the place where you lost your child? How did it feel?