Our Last Goodnight
I read a tweet today that made me realise that I don’t remember the exact date I was last officially a Mum to my first-born Son. I know we had a day together, a Sunday, at home where we no doubt played and loved on each other and were utterly oblivious to the events the next day would bring. I had no idea that my entire world was about to shift and fall from under me. I put my son to sleep, unaware that this was our last goodnight. I would never tuck him in again, never kiss him softly on the cheek as he drifted off, and never watch him as he slept soundly in his own cot, that once upon a time I had so lovingly built for him. Oh, if I’d only known, how much I would have taken in. Slowly though, over time, as the weeks turned to months, this moment was gone; faded into the past with other memories I have forgotten ever existed.
I wonder if it makes me a bad Mum, that I can’t even remember our last day together. I question if this is just the outstanding ability that I’ve had of forgetting things ever since I was a child or was this a more deliberate act forced upon me by my subconscious because it knew this day may be too painful to relive over and over again. Knowing how my mind works more now, I realise it’s much more likely to be the latter. An act of self-preservation, rather than the preservation of an ocean of reminders of a love that now haunted me because it had nowhere to go. The months and years of heartache and loss that followed on, served to ensure that these memories were so lost in time that I’d long ago abandoned the joyful moments that I had with my boy, while he was still mine. They are so few and far between that the 5 months I had with him, seem so insignificant.
Still, I fortunately do remember the feelings I had during my brief journey of motherhood with him. I remember how it felt to hold him for the first time. I remember the feeling I got when I would sing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ to him. I still remember the peace that washed over me when I was close to him. And I remember the pride I had of having the honour of being his Mum, along with the shame that followed when I failed him so deeply. I remember the feelings, but the visual accompaniments have been obliterated; something that I once welcomed in the midst of despair, too harrowing to recall, are now missing jigsaw pieces that leave me incomplete and heartbroken.
So many parents get to experience their ‘firsts’, first word, first crawl, first steps etc. I wasn’t able to be there for most of these. All I had with my son, were ‘lasts’. Last day, last hug, last song.
And our last goodnight.