August 9, 2020

the 48hours after

In the moments that followed our final kiss goodnight, I held my breathe for what felt like years. Ronnies final minutes were with just me and Rob but suddenly it felt like a film.. people came in calmly and went to check on my baby, I say people because I couldn’t tell you whether they were nurses, volunteers or the milkman at this stage. One with dark curly hair was standing right over Roo, she looked back at me and said the words ‘his gone darling’ .. a sound left my body in that room, it wasn’t a scream or a cry you’d recognise, its a sound that id know a mile off and one I never wish to hear again. The rest is blurry, I think most of it is mentally blocked for my sanity, some of it I genuinely cant remember, I shut down that night. I fell into the family room wearing socks, no shoes, the words left my mouth in slow motion and I collapsed.. Rob couldn’t hold me any longer, he needed to break too, my dad caught me and my mother in law held her son.

I remember sitting on the floor next to the sofa holding my sisters hand, she had already had a panic attack at the hospital, I was worried about her. I remember the hospice lady offering me tea, I remember listening to people sing lullabies to Roo, people held him.. I went outside to smoke with my aunt, I never stepped foot back in that room, I had shoes on now though?! and I remember clear as day my cousin Nik repeating ‘Friday 14th March 2014, 8:50pm’ I just hugged her and it stayed embedded in my head. I have no memory of saying goodbye to people, who went where and when is still a mystery to me.

The morning after I woke in a complete daze, me and Rob had passed out in two single beds, side by side in a room next to Roo. We had crashed after a week of no sleep what so ever and we were woken by a blue tit crashing at the window, fully smashing back an forth into the glass until I got up and opened the window, it just sat and watched me. I had over 300 messages and missed calls from people on my phone, I couldn’t run away from any of this, I had a text from my aunt ‘we are on our way to be with you’ I knew I was going to be looked after . I couldn’t tell you who made that decision or how but my aunt and uncle arriving was like our guardian angels turning up. We hadnt eaten for a week so for the first tim we walked out and found a mcdonalds, the song we’d heard whilst sitting there was Ronnie’s funeral song – Ellie Goulding, how long will I love you.

My aunt turnt up with arms wide open, my dad and stepmum needed time, Robs parents needed time, they were all looking after Brandon and hadn’t really left our sides in a month! Not that my Aunt had but she either drew the short straw or managed her big girl pants before the others , who knows, im just glad we weren’t left. Stepping foot back into that family room felt different that morning, cold. Decision making started and I was numb. You don’t have a funeral directors of choice do you?  I was 25years old, id never planned much past an outfit, let alone a funeral – my uncle looked straight at me and said the name of one they had used, my aunt looked at us and we nodded and she made the arrangements with the hospice lady.

Then the blurry bits started to surface ‘the jewellery lady is here’ oh yeah, we’d nodded to have this happen at some point the night before. There was lists of peoples orders and my aunt knew about it all, I was still numb.. I just sat there and nodded a lot. Rob didn’t move or say much, just held my hand, his a chain smoker when his stressed and he never left my side. My phone had rang and it was my best mate, she wanted to know what she could do and I just remember saying is ‘hide it all, I cant face it’

Before we knew it the funeral directors were there, we had popped in and out to Roo but now we had to leave, we were going home and he wouldn’t be with us. I sat in the back of my uncles car in silence the whole way home, I couldn’t tell you how long it took, what the weather was like, I don’t remember any of it

Walking back through my front door without my baby is a feeling I cant describe. We drew all the curtains in the house and I rearranged our bedroom, my best mate, sister and cousin had put all of Ronnie’s stuff in the loft, 6 years later its still up there, most of it untouched. I couldn’t sleep in our bed knowing the crib should be next to me, so moving all the furniture made sense somehow. Then Brandon came home.

Imagine your 4 year olds face when he asks ‘wheres my baby brother?’ and you say ‘his had to go to the clouds darling, his heart was too special’.. you would imagine devastation, heartbreak, a few tears maybe? nope! Children are not predictable, they don’t understand things the way we do, instead they take things  their own way. ‘oh his going to see Sunny (Inlaws dog that passed) then and be home tomorrow’ ..Il be honest, Brandon is 10years old and still wants his brother back, he still crys for him and about him but in that moment he didn’t understand fully, it took years before he did too.

Id moved the bed to sleep and I didn’t sleep a wink, in fact I have only recently become a sleeper.. 6 years on and that’s broken most nights with two little ones.

The next morning we bumbled around in silence making coffees (who even brought the milk and coffee for us?) and the door went, a young man in a suit was telling me how sorry he was for our loss and that he was there to talk to us about funeral plans – about 36 hours in and on a Sunday no less, we were sat on our sofa with the curtains still drawn, choosing our baby boys coffin.

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