Home, 9th July 2022
It’s now been 2 years, 6 months and 21 days since you left us. This seems surreal, and very hard to take in. Certainly, the pain of losing you has not ebbed during that time, but remains as fresh as the day we heard that most terrible news, the news that our beautiful boy had gone. In those early days, weeks, months, even the first 2 years, shock was an ally. I clung to its numb embrace as much as I dared. My mind refused to acknowledge that what felt like someone else’s nightmare was actually my own life story.
If you were here now, what would I say to you, other than that I love you, always loved you? Because you knew that, always knew it, and yet it wasn’t enough to stop you. If I had the time back, what could I say that might have some impact on that fatal decision? I’m not sure that I have the answers. I am, however, pretty sure that you wouldn’t have listened.
I would tell you that I still don’t believe for one moment that you would have gone through with it, if you had not had your brains addled with alcohol. Not just that fateful evening/night, but what seemed to me to be pretty regularly, for the past 10 years or so. I breathed a sigh of relief when you met S, and loved one another, and seemed so happy. I allowed myself to believe that you would really grow up, stop drinking, have a good life. I think you could have made it too, but something got in the way. The alcohol? The anger that you couldn’t stop? I know you were angry with S when she left, but I feel sure that the anger was also with yourself, for letting her slip away, for not being able to stop the things that made her leave. I would say that I also feel so angry with you for allowing that to happen, for not listening to me, for continuing to drink yourself silly, over years. For not having the sense to stop before it took over your life. But perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps that simply wasn’t possible for you. I will never know.
If I could speak to you now, I would remind you that you were a beautiful, happy, cheeky baby. That you were a wonderful small boy, intelligent and mischievous, loving and kind, protective over your little brother. That there was never a moment when my love for you faltered. That I always counted you as one wonderful blessing in my life. That I can still hear your voice as a 4-year-old, that you sang beautifully. That you gave the best hugs, and had the most adorable chuckle. That I recall giggling with you so that we were both crying with laughter, over a funny book about a small animal looking for its mummy. That I can still feel the weight of your small body in my arms as we kissed goodnight, and the wetness of your open-mouthed kiss, and the magical smell of you, freshly bathed and with hair washed, in your blue and purple dressing gown, curled up with Daddy on the sofa watching The Land Before Time. Your thumb in your mouth, focusing furiously, frowning with concentration, the way you always were when having a story read to you. Loving every moment, being lost in the magic of the book. That I remember how you told me you wanted to marry me when you grew up. That you told my friends that “My Mummy’s beautiful”.
I would tell you that I was so proud of you, that you were a treasure. That you grew up to be thoughtful and generous and loving and kind. That you worked hard, and tried to do good by others. That you had a beautiful heart. I would say that I can still see you laughing so much you couldn’t speak, with your mouth wide open. I would say that you made me laugh, you warmed my heart. That I felt very loved by you, and cared for. I would tell you what it was like to hold you in my arms as a big man, the top of my head not reaching your chin. What it was like to feel your arms around me, to hear your voice saying “Give us a hug Mama”. To see you in the hallway, bag in hand, pink shorts, black t shirt, flip flops or boat shoes on your bare feet, ready for the next holiday or just a weekend of relaxation at home.
I would tell you that my life has been shattered into a million tiny pieces by your death. I would say that the memory of the call from your brother still haunts me and causes my heart to beat with real fear. I would explain that I have wanted to die without you, and that I did not see any way to survive for many months. I would scream at you for the way you have hurt
your father and brother and me, and many others besides. I would yell that you didn’t have to do it; that you would have made it through the pain you were in to have a good life. I would say that in making your choice to leave, you left us without any choices at all. That when your pain ended, ours began, and that our pain will last forever.
And I would put my arms around you and stroke your lovely face, and smile into your beautiful green eyes, and try to forgive you.
With love forever
Your Mama x
This letter was originally written as part of Suicide & Co's Words Unspoken project 2022