Being blinded by the early evening sun, I drove into the hospital grounds, searching for a space, any space in which to squeeze my car; this seemed such a long time ago as I stood in the dark, with space all around and only one vehicle to be seen – which was mine.
I had entered the hospital grounds in sunlight but left under emptying clouds; I did not want to leave my son back there, struggling to survive, fighting for air. Go home the nurses said, go to bed, get some rest, come back fresh in the morning. Where was home? I had no idea; my head was as blank and black as the night. I just drove and drove, in any direction, anywhere the car took me, I didn’t really care. With the window down, I heard the hiss of the tyres on rain dampened roads, the sweet oily smell of tarmac entered the car as the wind swirled around my burning face.
I fumbled inside my jacket and pulled out a celebratory cigar; that’s what new dads do on occasions like this, they smoke a cigar. But this is not an occasion like that, so after running the unlit cigar beneath my nose, savouring the musty tobacco aroma, I tossed it into the dark and endless night, and just drove and drove, not sure where to go.
A poem for my son Matthew who lived for a fleeting 17 hours. It was a long time ago but time does not diminish the memory. The pain lessens as the years pass and Matthew is talked about now and remembered with love.
The pain I feel now is for the parents that are also going to experience or are currently experiencing the darkness of a loss that is unlike any other.
There is always hope though. There are people who have experienced it, gone through it, and come out the other side. There are people out there that can share, empathise and most importantly…listen.