It's hard to write about grief at four years out. Hard to know what to write here.
I want to tell you that you will never forget your baby.
I want to tell you that you will find a way to move on, grow about the pain.
I want to be the beacon of hope ahead of you, the woman with the life that has not collapsed around the dark matter of the dying star; that I was not sucked in and lost, heavy as the universe and destroyed in a hopeless inward swirling soup of moulten grief.
I want to tell you that you won't forget, that cosmic clutter and home grown atoms seared themselves into your soul and cannot be unwritten.
It feels wrong to write of present grief here. It feels wrong to write of recovery. It feels wrong to be either - healed or unhealed.
I missed my slot here last month. Almost missed it this month.
Grief hauled at me, made me unreliable. I chose to fail to prove that grief had me in its grip and prove that I had outrun it. But the truth is I couldn't feel it. I was numb. No words came. To write badly is the ultimate betrayal of my boy.
I'm held back and pushed forward by grief, by loss, by the bundle of boy in the paper flat pictures, the boy I grew quite perfectly who couldn't live without tube and wire.
You might imagine that pulled in all directions is unfathomable pain but it seems to bring nothing but inertia and dulled senses.
You don't need me, I told myself, because I am both then and now and neither is helpful. At four years out grief absorbed is of no more use than grief worn smeared upon my person and slathered, unwelcome, on every interaction.
Do you want to know that grief is just as painful 4 years on? Do you want to know that 4 years on I cry most often because his loss is so familiar that somedays I do not think of him at all?
Do you want to know you will forget? Do you want to know you never will?
That is my apology. Grief is endless and full of ends. Grief is circular, linear, long and short, impossible and easy, ever present and constantly receeding.
I'm sorry I wasn't here.
This morning my living son, born after, brought me Freddie's picture. We don't speak of him here. We are not a family of vivid gesture and outward remembrance. His photos live in my room and nowhere else. I have not wanted to make this youngest child one growing in the shadow of loss. I've never spoke of Freddie to him.
He asked us who the baby was, seemed to know that this was a baby who had not become a person he could place. And then, with uncanny understanding, he gestured to my candle shelf, to the collection of trinkets and gifts I have bought his brother.
"Baby Freddie all gone," he said.
He's all gone.
No fine words can alter that.
4 years or not, it feels a giant of a thing to understand.
I don't think it is ever going to change.
What do you hope for as the days turn to weeks and the weeks turn to years? Do you have a sense of the resting place you grief should have? Or, how do you accommodate your lost baby or babies in your family? And how do you cope when others from inside or outside your immediate family, step outside your coping parameters?