Empty arms

Once I arrived home, (it seems odd I know) but I was totally fine. I was so wrapped up and excited with the thought of seeing my boy the very next day, and shock (oh you marvellous thing) had fully kicked in. That night I made my first “post loss” public appearance. My mother’s employer had arranged for flowers to be delivered to us and as we were at the hospital, they had been delivered to a neighbours house. I ventured across the street to collect them. My neighbour (whom I’ve known for over ten years) handed me the bouquet with a look of complete bewilderment. He truly had no idea what to say, eventually he managed to muster words similar to “We’re always here to listen”. I mumbled a quick “thank you”, as I quickly grabbed the large package and made my escape.

I placed those flowers in the middle of a table downstairs, and I slowly made my way upstairs. I know, both myself and Lennon’s father continued the conversation of the previous events but I really can’t recall any of this….

I do remember vividly the excitement that consumed me the next day, I just couldn’t wait to see my boy. In hindsight, I’m not sure that my “new best friend” shock had fully provided me with the correct “tools for the job”…. This day, would be the first day I cried. We walked back into the room that we had occupied only hours earlier although it was somehow different this time. I can’t even begin to explain what the difference was as physically, the room hadn’t changed at all. There was just an echoing emptiness that seemed to hang in the air.

I also remember being ferociously annoyed with the new nurse who was on shift that day, through no fault of her own. She carried Lennon to me in the same Moses basket he was placed into the day before, but, as I eagerly reached out to grab my boy, my body suddenly froze. The little satin blanket that I had delicately snuggled around him just a few hours earlier, was now covering his face. “Why would they suffocate my boy” my mind screamed, as I reached out my hands and viciously removed the blanket from his little face. He didn’t look any different, he was still such a wonderful little bundle of perfection….. The little bundle that my body had carried for the previous 41 weeks, the little bundle that my heart now completely belonged to and the little bundle that would soon have to say goodbye, before he’d even learned to say hello.

I gently reached into the basket and wrapped my aching arms around him, as tears started to burn my eyes. The last time I had cradled my baby he was warm and now, as my skin made contact with his delicate little body, he was ice cold. Something that I wasn’t prepared for at all, despite being very educated and knowledgeable about death. My mind had tricked me into believing that things would be exactly the same as they were the previous day but unfortunately, this was not the case. I sat down with Lennon in my arms on a sofa that occupied the far end of the room. I held his precious hands in mine ever so tightly whilst constantly whispering how much I loved him. Lennon’s father was busy boiling the kettle in an attempt to soften the clay in the print impression kit we had received in the memory box. I just could not take my eyes off him! I had never seen anything as perfectly beautiful as my little boy……

I’m not sure how many people have attempted to take clay imprints from a still child, but boy was it hard! The object of using the clay is to push the hands and feet firmly into it to create a rather deep and lasting impression. We couldn’t and wouldn’t push his hands or feet firmly into it for fear of hurting him. We were ever so afraid to apply any pressure and as a result of this, it ended up taking us quite a while to complete. We did eventually manage to get a decent impression of his hand and while it isn’t great, there is enough detail there for my heart to skip a beat every time I look at it.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I did originally have some difficulty persuading Lennon’s father to actually hold him after he was born. I knew that now was as good a time as any to make an excuse to leave for a few minutes, so he could have some time alone with his son. I made the excuse of wanting to pop to the coffee shop and I asked him if he wanted to hold Lennon whileI left (I wouldn’t have left if he had declined), to my surprise he said yes and with that I gently handed Lennon over to him and I exited the room. When I returned about five minutes later, I was overjoyed to see him clutching Lennon’s hand firmly and whispering to him. I didn’t ask any questions, I placed both cups on the floor and I sat down beside them. This was probably the only moment I look back on and feel as though we were a “family”. The three of us sitting there, taking in the moment and just trying to enjoy what precious little time we had.

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We spent a few more hours with Lennon that day before it was time to say goodbye. His father kissed him as I held him in my arms, and I placed him back into his basket. I snuggled him back up in the satin blanket just the same as I had done the previous day, I kissed his little cheeks and forehead so many times that I lost count and I told him I’d see him soon. The nurse then came back into the room, picked up the basket and carried him out behind us. The following morning he would head to a hospital in a neighbouring city so the postmortem could be conducted and I wouldn’t see him for approximately one week. Whilst this wasn’t “the final” goodbye my heart grew heavy again, as for the second time we as “new parents” had to leave the hospital empty handed.

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