It’s like a metallic tang of blood in my mouth, and yet none is there.
It’s as if someone has dug a hole in my sternum, and I clutch at my chest trying to stuff my tshirt in there.
It’s as though my eyes could burn through a wall, the sky, the window as I realise they haven’t blinked, just streamed.
It’s sometimes like it hasn’t happened, and I feel I have to force myself to remember seeing you still and colourless, in the most peaceful of dreams.
Sometimes I just don’t feel anything, and I wonder if that’s normal. Or when the pain will come again. Or a fear that it will knock me down and I might not get up again.
I feel like I could vomit up my heart, but don’t want to, as yours is now in there too.
I think of all my babies. You, my first. Your sister, who I want to hold close but struggle with the energy to parent. The ones that we never knew outside of hospital.
I wait for you to come back from school, from respite, wherever you are that isn’t here. Even though I know.
I’m trying not to question, not to let the guilt in. To know that you loved life right until the last few days, and that this summer has been the most glorious gift but I keep feeling this resolve falter. Because I’d do anything to have you back.
I soak in the love for you, for us, from others. But I also wish for the peace of just you and I again. Pulling my hair, grabbing fistfuls so I would kiss you again. Pulling my hand to your head to rub your moleskin hair.
It’s so, so quiet now we’re back home. No noisy toys buzzing and singing, no chuft chuft of the wheels of your scoot. No flicking of the drawer handles or banging of doors with your feet.
Your room feels still, stagnant. Your bed still smells a little of wee, and yet I lie in it and breathe it in.
I lie there and remember the last time you were in this house, screaming. And I’d had to give your more and more midazolam until I carefully carried your floppy body onto the ambulance gurney. Still hopeful that we’d sort this, right it. Whispering for you to stop crying as my tears wouldn’t stop.
The day starts and I feel like I can’t. The nightmares that are too real roll into the day.
But you know me RD. You know there’s still lipstick and laughter that punctuate the day. The memories hurt because I just want more.
And even though I will want to jump in and swap places on the day we have to celebrate your life, I know that it will be right and fitting for you. When you’re settled on that place on the hill, with the breeze in your hair that you loved so much.