Niceties and ninety

I keep saying there aren’t words to describe this experience. Devastating, shattering, life changing…? Nah. Too insubstantial. Brutal is possibly close, but even that remains a limited enough descriptor to be pretty much useless. Brutal doesn’t capture the ongoing and unfolding devastation/horror/despair/rage. Of trying to understand LB’s death. Without adequate words, it’s almost impossible to articulate. And given we’re (largely) social beings, and life turns typically on talk, being and doing, this is tough.

Having a child die isn’t a common experience in the UK, though I suspect it’s most parents biggest fear. It was mine. And to have this fear realised is worse than I imagined. (Possibly because the thought of it was so unbearable, I couldn’t really go there). The way LB died makes it harder to make sense of. I don’t know how many people drown each year in the bath in the UK, but I suspect it’s a tiny number. The number of people who drown in the bath in an NHS setting must be pretty much a count on one hand jobby. Or one finger.

2013: LB.

This makes my brain scream relentlessly. 

People don’t know what to say. What is there to say? Nothing? Anything? Something? Only one person has said the wrong thing so far, and I think she was shocked into a space of spilling words without thought. She gabbled on about how her grandson who was supposed to not live beyond babyhood and “never amount to anything” had just started university. “Er, good for him..” I mumbled, awkwardly, before walking on.

People can’t help asking “How are you?” And then quickly backtracking with “Silly question, I know…” But there ain’t an awful lot else to say really. I tend to answer either “Crap” or “Ok considering what’s happened”. The former is true, the latter is a softer version of the former; ‘I got up this morning. And got here. And I’m still standing. But crap all the same’. Neither answer really does anything other than fulfil a social obligation. But the exchange is preferable to pretending that nothing has happened.


ryan5-544Rich and I walked along the canal again this morning to the cemetery. So many people walking along in the sunshine, seemingly oozing joy filled lives. Fragments of conversation. Fun, friends, nights out, kids, more fun. When we moved aside to let people pass, I wanted to say where we were going. But I didn’t.

At the cemetery It was a bit of a shock to see LB’s got new company.  A grave to his left. A woman who died aged 90 a week or so ago. Ninety? Now that ain’t bad. Only 72 years more than LB.

Seventy two more years?

Crushing sadness.


5 thoughts on “Niceties and ninety

  1. I am so sorry, I know this is a crap response too, but as you say words just seem so inadequate and yet I feel such a need to communicate with you. I think about what has happened to your lovely son constantly and think of you and your family. All I can say is that I send you love and strength to carry on each day x

  2. Words are inadequate as you say. I do think of you and yours a lot (losing an 18 year old is not that common) especially today as hubby and I sat on a bench in son looking over at Sam’s grave.

    I’ve walked around that graveyard many times looking at the marking stones and each time I see someone young (which is relative when you’re 57) can’t help wondering what happened, what their story is.

    Anyway, take care of yourself. Angela x

  3. Because of the sheer awfulness of the way LB left this world … There really are no words
    But my god you have put your words together beautifully in every sentence you write about him.
    I know you don’t want to hear the usual time is a healer bullshit but I want for you and your family to someday find peace & joy in your lives one day but it won’t happen easily and in reality as parents you may never find it as this simply should not have happened .

  4. When my daughter’s partner died suddenly and tragically, my daughter and I sat in a lovely neighbour’s house clutching onto each other waiting to give statements.
    A young police officer danced into the room saying ‘Good day?’
    I was gobsmacked.
    He looked like he wanted the ground to swallow him..
    I wanted to hit him. I said a feeble, ‘We’ve had better.’
    There were later instances of similar thoughtlessness, mostly from people who could never imagine what we were going through. And, that is the point I suppose; they could never imagine it. And I hope it never becomes reality for them too.
    Worse, for me, were the elderly relatives who kept forgetting….’how is ..?.. ‘he died, Mum’, ‘how did he die?’ and to see the realisation again on her face as I explained.. Sometimes I just couldn’t face going through the story again with her. I lied .. ‘all is well’ ..

    Never forget him. It happened eight years ago. I can still reel off the events of the preceding and following weeks as if they were yesterday. In fact better than I can remember yesterday.
    The hurt and shock and anger and fear and all those other emotions, for us, became muffled at some point. Rearing up every now and then, but no longer directing our lives and our thoughts they way they used to.

    I don’t know if this is helpful or no. I did feel the need to share.
    with love

  5. Good to walk in the sunshine with Rich…guess you have to take that much from the day…May not have the words, there aren’t the words but walking with you…Wendyx

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