There are no rules about grief and child loss. Equally, there is precious little guidance as to what you’re supposed to do with yourself as time flows on without your child. I’ve read much about the subject and have battened down the hatches against its storms. Yet, some years on, I’ve begun to question if I’m any further forward.
Yes, Henry’s charity continues to grow. Yes, I’m proud of what it achieves. And yes, it keeps his name alive. But where does that leave the real him and the real me?
There are times when it feels like someone made Henry up. He’s so much a part of me… but he’s not here. I’ve spent the equivalent of half of his twelve years of life without him since he died.
I look at photos, videos, his old schoolwork and possessions. They’re not him. I dream of him and hear his voice. We play, we laugh, and we hug together as I sleep. Then I have to wake up.
I adore the fact that his mates are not only still in touch with me but also with each other. Maybe this is part of it. It made me sit up and think when Cameron recently remarked that “Henry will always be alive in our friendship”.
The truth is that Henry will not just stay alive in their friendship. Henry will also continue to live in the kindness his charity shows to other children who go through what he had to cope with. His laughter will ring out in the oncology wards as kids enjoy our storytelling projects. Hugs given to their suffering parents are hugs Henry and I would and should have continued to share.
We all have to let go as parents. Our children are only borrowed for a short time. But, just as others watch kids leave home for new adventures, I’m watching the fruits of Henry’s loving, kind and funny personality grow. Not the way I’d hoped, but it’s certainly real and you couldn’t make it up.
“We’ll be friends forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.
“Even longer“, Pooh answered.