Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"I thought you were dead Mummy."

Last night was parents evening, and with all the trials and tribulations that that usually brings.  My night was due to finish at about 7.30.  It finished at 8.45.  When I walked in the door, all the usual rubbish that parents evening brings up in this area was forgotten.

My son stood there.  His face was red and wet and creased with long cried tears.  His jama top was damp with sweat and he ran to me from the bottom of the stairs.

"Oh honey, what's happened?" I asked him as we wrapped arms around each other.  I could feel his body shaking and his heart was racing.

"Nothing" said my mother, who was sitting in the front room.

I brought him into the front room and sat on the floor with him. He sat on my lap, face buried in my neck, sobbing and sobbing.

"What are the tears for baby?" I asked him. "It's ok. Whatever it is, it's ok."

Through the tears I heard him say quietly,

"I thought you were dead Mummy."


He wasn't asleep until almost 9.30pm last night.  He finally dozed off on the sofa, his body exhausted from crying in fear, and then from crying with relief.  My mother told me that he was saying to her "I know that Mummy isn't hurt, because the police would come, but I can't help thinking that she's dead."

I lay in bed last night, and this morning, hearing his voice in my ears again and again "I thought you were dead Mummy."  Why does my 6 year old need to think like that?  Why does he even know, at his age, that no news is good news, that the police will come if you die? Why?

Obviously I know the answer.  Rich's death has changed him in so many ways.  My innocent child has gone and in his place is a man in a boys body, in so many ways.  He has seen things, done things, that a child his age shouldn't have to do.

He has listened to his mother tell him that the man he loves was hit by a car and died.

He has worried over his stepsister, his first thoughts were for her, and for the fact that Rich can now see her whenever he wants, and hasn't got to wait for photos any more.

He has watched his mother cry.

He has railed against God, Jesus, the universe and promised them anything they like if Rich could just walk back through the door like nothing happened.

He has heard people say that he and Rich didn't matter, that BG was the only important child in all of this.

He has felt the hugs of the mourning, from people who didn't know what to say to a 6 year old whose life has been ripped apart.

He has walked behind the coffin of his stepfather, proud to be there, scared to be there, loving Rich so much, and in his words, "I have to do this for me and for BG, because she's not here to do it for her Daddy."

He has had the Number 1 cap presented to him by men that he respects and loves, and laid it at the Celebrations for that man he loves.

He has wrapped himself in the love of the armourers, in the love of the school, in the love of the church, in the love of his family, and in the love of his mother, all the time aware that it could be ripped away at any point.

He has laid in bed, crying himself to sleep, wearing a uniform top a thousand sizes too big for him.

He has been betrayed by an adult that he trusted, knows his mother was betrayed as well, and has realised that not everyone says what they mean, and whilst he knows Mummy says that grief makes people selfish, and we have to try and understand, he knows that there is a right and a wrong, and we have been done a terrible wrong that cannot be undone.  Some of the wrong done to him could be, and the armourers have done a great deal to make that so, because they see the pain in the child's eyes that has no right to be there.

He has learnt that family is who you make it, who you choose to be in it, not just what there is.

He has learnt to lie, and say "I'm fine!" and put a Game Face on, to "man up" and just carry on with every day life, even though every step hurts, every thought is of Rich, every moment is another one he isn't here.

Sept 09 First day of school

He knows what an inquest is, what a post mortem is, what a next-of-kin sheet is, and how divorce law works, and what impact that can have on a life.

He's learnt that life isn't fair, that some people are incredibly selfish and grasping, but that others will bend over backwards to right a wrong as much as they can.  He knows the kind he wants to be, and doesn't understand that nasty ones.

Hopefully last night retaught him that sometimes people are late, and it isn't because of anything bad, but actually, just late.

I could have lied.  I could have told him Rich had to go away for a while, that Rich was off in the 'Stan, that he was off doing something.  I could have not let him go to the Celebrations, and I could have not explained about the accident.  I could not talk about Rich ever, pack him up into boxes, and put him in the loft.  His love for our family was too great for that.  AC loves him too much for that.  I love both of them too much for that.  I had to be honest, I had to be true.  It broke both our hearts all over again, and it will keep on doing it, but it had to be done.  Honesty is always, always, best with children.

And so last night, I didn't say "Mummy wouldn't get hurt, nothing will happen to Mummy." because in his world, if it can happen to a 6ft 4 armourer, it can happen to anyone. 

Last night, I just held him when he cried, wiped his puffy eyes, and told him over and over "I love you.  I'm here now. Mummy didn't die."