From the moment your child dies, it is all about time. In my case, it was the time from my house to the hospital where I still had hoped he was quiet. It was the time from lying on the bed until I saw the midwives face change that I still wanted to know everything was okay. It was the seconds between the look on her face to “I need to get someone” I realised something wasn’t right. It was the time there was only silence and breath-holding until the sentence I can’t even bear to think, let alone write anymore. The time I had left being pregnant, begging everything was a mistake. That he would come out breathing, crying, very much alive. Then there was silence with other babies crying on the ward outside. The short time we spent together. Then the time we left. The time came where we would no longer have his physical body. Now, it’s between the time he died and until we find out if there is an afterlife and if we will ever see him again. Time passes, minutes occasionally are carried with more weight than others, feel like days or even years; they are still passing by.
I am still very much consumed by it. No, not like how it first was. Not the unbearable pain that cut, cut, cut away but consumed grief that is forever present. Hiding like a spy (or a stalker) waiting to pounce. Knowing that at any time it will come and pull you into the depths of the beginning again and I often wonder if maybe I secretly want to be there. Back to the time, it was all fresh, back to when breathing was unimaginably difficult. Surviving was the bare minimum, I wanted him. We forget that grief isn’t like that all the time. It’s just the knowing, the triggers we hide from, the pregnancy announcements, the dread when we hear their name called and it isn’t them running to you.
My name is Hannah Pontillo. I am a bereaved mother who is, rightly so, still eaten away every day by grief. No. Your passing comment that I look happy, smile, and laugh don’t go amiss. It still cuts deep because it is unintended punishment. Not only is guilt felt from their words sliding off your tongue, but I will also now be in a thought trap of that passing (not needed to be said)comment. It will be there. At the back. In a box, with all of the other comments that are said since Dexy’s death. From the one word digs to the lengthy messages strangers send me on the internet about how my son is essentially not worthy of remembering or talked about. I wonder if their motherhood has ever been under fire for something out of their control. I wonder how they would cope with the crippling, life-altering pain of their son dying. Holding his lifeless body in your very much living body, knowing that he will soon be born and you can no longer feel him or have him right there, tucked away from the harsh reality of him being dead. I wonder how they would accustom to the language used to describe their dead child, whether they would want to sugarcoat it or be blunt. Luckily they will never have to face or deal with any of this because as time goes on their child will age, will grow old and hopefully when they are no longer around, their child had a full life will die peacefully at 110 years old whilst sleeping.
I find in British culture, the conversation and taboo of death is an odd one. We are so rushed by everyone to move on. To remarry, to buy another dog, to be told that we are lucky to have one parent left. The idea of a child dying is so unbearable to others that they forget that many of us are going through it daily. That more of us are joining the bereaved parents club. Yet, the attitude of pregnancy, child loss and baby loss is still the same.
To move on I shall not, to live for them I will.<— I’ve just made that up. However, I like it.
It’s been over three years since I saw my son for the last time. Every day, my heart aches more. I often wonder if the hope of seeing him again hurts more than the idea that I never will? It’s hoping that hurts. A similar hope I felt before we got to the hospital before he was born. But then the same idea also keeps me going.
I don’t think I will ever have any less grief. It changes with me over time. I don’t think my love for him will dim like a fading candle like I once was told. Three years in comparison to the rest of my life is a raindrop. It is no time at all. There is no hiding my grief, putting it aside in any part of my life.
Dexy’s birthdays will always have balloons, cakes and presents for him. Just the same as River. Christmas’ there will always be a place made up with no one to sit. River will never understand what it is like to be a little brother as if we have another baby he will be the oldest to them.
If you’re reading this, utterly confused. I admit it is a rant, if you take anything from this, take that I am still grieving. Living but grieving.
I’ve opened a Kofi account where you can voluntarily donate the price of a coffee to support my blog and myself: https://ko-fi.com/hannahpontillo
Thank you xxx