“What” and “if” are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side by side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life.
On this journey of grief it is easy to get lost, in yourself, in your surroundings, in your mind. I find myself lost most of the time, I forget what I am doing constantly as my mind wanders to thinking of what if. Sometimes I don’t even know I am doing it. I get so engrossed in my own thoughts that I don’t even hear when people are talking to me. It doesn’t matter whether your grief is through losing a grandparent, a parent, a sibling or a child, these are things grief does to you without you even noticing. I find that even when I’m having one of my “good” days I still often drift in and out of conversations and goings on to think about my own what ifs.
What if Jason were alive?
What if I’d have tried harder to protect him?
What if I’d have been a better person before him?
None of these questions have answers, the truth is, I’m not a bad person, actually i’m probably as “good” as anyone gets, I’ve never smoked, done drugs, can count on my hand how many times I’ve drank alcohol and can honestly say I’ve only ever been drunk once so there is no reason for this punishment. As with all bereaved parents, nobody deserves to lose their child.
I found the quote above completely true with regards to my grief, I constantly ask what if but never get the answers i desire. I never will. What and if are two words that bereaved parents ask themselves regularly, yet it doesn’t make the process or the journey any easier. Without answers the questions are invalid, yet we ask them anyway. Even now, I find my mind has wandered so much focused on my own “what ifs” that I’ve written absolute gobbledy-gook and haven’t the foggiest how I’ve come to type these words.
Three years on, I’m finding it easier to hide when i’m in my own world, to hide when I haven’t really listened to what people are telling me but answer them as if I had, people seem unaware of it as it happens so much they probably just think it’s me. It isn’t. I was always so switched on and would take everything in before my loss, now all I want to do is go in to my own little dream world and be with Jason. It’s a lovely place I’ve made up in my head, where it’s always night-time and the stars shine as bright as the northern lights and I cuddle my little boy to sleep and listen to his breathing, I imagine it sounds very similar to my husband’s own breath at night when he’s dozing off to sleep. We silently sit there together, taking in every part of him…until I’m dragged away in to reality where I never got the chance to do any of those things and I remember that life really did throw me a shit hand to play.
I never imagined that my life would be like this, that I would carry on with work, relationships, life in general and act like everything is okay. As a child I never wanted this life, I never wanted to be married, have kids, I wanted to be a singer and travel the world on tour. In my adult life all I’ve ever wanted was to be Luke’s wife, have his children, watch them grow up and show them how much I love their dad. Yet in spite of all of this I would never change anything about Jason, he was perfect, always will be and our family will always know and talk about him as if he was here.
The “what ifs” never stopped once Ellie was born, if anything Ellie’s birth added to them. Would she be here if Jason had lived? What if I couldn’t handle having another baby on top of Jason’s health issues? To be honest I could go on but I won’t. Just try to understand that having a living child does not take away any of those unanswered questions, they don’t suddenly disappear. I know these questions will always haunt me because there is no answer, not one that matters any way because no matter how many times I ask them they won’t bring him back.