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.
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.
Rich 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?