The best thing you can give someone is your time!

You don’t get over it, you get through it.
It doesn’t get better it gets different.
Everyday, like me,
Grief puts on a new face.

Yesterday Henry I went out walking, walking with a friend. She messaged me at the beggining of the week and suggested this to me. It was so nice to get out, in the fresh air-breathing in the clean air of the rainforest, to walk, talk and be! We sat in the sunshine for a coffee afterwards, no rush, no thoughts of ‘I need to go do this’ or ‘I should be…’ just took our time… Before we knew it, the time was already 1pm. This friend although she only has a few days off, kids to look after and I am sure a lot to do… She gave up her time, most of her day to spend it with me, to listen to me say whatever I needed to say, let me talk of you, of your dad, of anything. I was so very grateful and it really reinforced for me the best most precious thing you can give to someone is your time. Whether that is time in person, on the phone through messages, just time! I will certainly now be giving others more of my time.

Yesterday morning your dad and I drove so we could park his van in a more visible spot to advertise it for sale, I was following behind him in my car… I kept changing radio stations, trying to find music I wanted to listen to.. I couldn’t find anything, truth is I just wanted you close, I wanted to know you were near. So here I am I find myself saying out loud to you ‘Come on buddy just give me something just give me a sign to know your close’, next moment the song changes just like that and one of your songs comes on, that was it! I asked, you delivered and here I found myself crying… tears streaming down my face, over my cheeks, falling on to my lap. When your dad parked his van and got in the car he asked if I was ok. It took me a few minutes but I said to him “I did it to myself it was my fault” and explained to him how I had asked you for a sign and it changed and your song came on straight away… Your Dad tears streamed down his cheeks “Now you’ve done it to me too” he said to me as we drove back home. Thank you for letting me know you are close.

I wondered yesterday afternoon as I thought of you and a few tears appeared, as I looked at the time…. Is 3pm a suitable lunch time? I am not sure maybe? maybe not? but I guess at the moment I need to stop questioning, wondering or worrying about it… as long as I move, as long as I eat, each day just needs to be spent however it is, there are no rules to grief, there is not a written guide that sets out you must grieve like this, nothing that can set out how a day should be spent. I need to stop doing that to myself. I mean what would that daily timetable look like anyway, I imagine Henry it goes something like this:

  • 6:30am: wake up, realise whats happened is still reality – cry
  • 7:00am: get up make coffee and take it back to bed
  • 7:30am: write, possibly cry while typing
  • 7:45am: be interrupted by two puppies who think it is still unacceptable to be in bed so begin nudging, trying to jump on the bed, growling and barking at you.
  • 8:00am: get up and shower reluctantly
  • 8:30am: lost – this time could be spent upset, angry.
  • 9:00am: maybe you should eat? just a suggestion…. jam on toast is totally a food group right?
  • 9:30am: three options… you could cry, you could find something to do or you could sit on the lounge blankly staring at nothing in particular (this last one can last hours surprisingly)
  • 10:00am: If you did manage to do something you may still be doing this, if you spent your time crying now find something to do, if you are staring blankly well keep going.
  • 11:00am: sit down, talk to Tim, talk of how much you miss Henry, how you wish he was here to cuddle.
  • 12:00pm: it could be fun to clean right? or not.
  • 1:00pm: Research online things for taste trip, browse through social media
  • 2:00pm: hmmmmmmmmm???
  • 3:00pm: some days you may want lunch others not so much
  • 3:30pm you still haven’t eaten lunch?
  • 3:45pm: you could over think things a little, put your mind in to overdrive, wonder what you could have done even though there’s nothing you could do, but hey why not drive yourself crazy with that?…. although just before bed is also a great time to do this!
  • 4:30pm: Think about what you could cook for dinner
  • 6:00pm: You still have not cooked dinner and are still not motivated too
  • 7:00pm: Go to the freezer and get out something frozen to heat for dinner
  • 7:30pm: Masterchef may distract you for a little while as you cuddle Henry’s cushion
  • 8:00pm: tears, tears, sadness, over thinking
  • 9:00pm: go to bed, toss and turn most of the night thinking.

*disclaimer and while all of this is happening, those thoughts, that longing, that pain – well it won’t leave its right there behind the whole day.

But no two days are the same, sometimes no two minutes are the same, so we just have to take this ride as it comes. Some days I will be cruising along on this bicycle and a hill may appear where I have to pedal that little bit harder to get over it, other times the road may be flat, sometimes I may be going really fast down a hill having no control over the pedals… Other times it is like the road ends and I need to navigate over rocks, or grass, some moments I’m walking alongside pushing the bike as I am unable to pedal any longer and well some days I think the bike crashes all together and I fall off on to the ground unable to get up.

Last night the bicycle crashed for both of us, last night we cried together, we talked about how tough it is, we talked about how we just wanted you. Sometimes I wonder will the bike survive all the crashes? Or are wel only on the bike until we can confeidently walk again on our own?

I didn’t sleep much last night neither did you Dad we both tossed and turned despite going to bed early, I slept a little and woke he would sleep a little and woke, its like we almost take turns, he messaged me at 12:30pm about ebola, I suppose ebola could be a good distraction thought….. maybe? Many years ago I came to stay at your dads place, we were sitting in the sun one afternoon and he looked so deep in thought. I remember asking him “what are you thinking about?” he looked at me and replied “Actually I was just thinking about ebola” I laughed so so hard I couldn’t believe this young man who lived in such a beautiful place, was so often so laid beack and here he was sitting in the sun seriously thinking about ebola. Now I still laughed a little when I got that message from him, but I can see how sometimes that thought is better than the alternative. Especially the alterbatives that would enter your head around 12:30am… the thoughts when we can’t sleep at night tend to be the darkest.

Your Dad told me a story last night, he told me how when he jumped in the surf yesterday to take photographs he got sucked in by a very strong wave, how he got disoriented and thought this would be it, trying to reach for the bottom to find where he was…. He said to me how he almost thought you wanted him there with you instead, but how he thought of me and said he needed to stay, he eventually washed up and made his way to the shore where he actually coughed up blood. Henry please leave your dad here with me at the moment we really need each other.

Talking with one another Henry we both admitted some of the harder thoughts we have had, it was good to get them out though and know our thoughts were similar, the next step this morning for me is to make contact and sort out some counselling, I really feel like I need to talk with someone as my next step.

This morning dear Henry, your dad is up and making us breakfast, which won’t be jam on toast.. He just brought in to me a warm lemon water to start our day, I can smell the food from the kitchen cooking, I feel so blessed to have your dad that we have one another and while I feel sadness this morning but I also feel so very grateful to have been blessed with you, blessed to have held you, you my beautiful boy, our ‘little Timmy’.

So today after we’ve eaten something other than jam on toast, we will get ourselves going, and I think spend time in the garden, planting some seeds in our veggie patch, working on your corner and taking in the sunshine. We will do it for you, for us, because as hard as it is life keeps going, so we will do our best to live it, to live it and think of and honour you.

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Author: Letters to Henry

My husband and I live on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia. We are currently learning to rebuild and navigate through life after the loss of our son Henry to stillbirth due to medical negligence in April of this year.

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