Friday, June 22, 2007

Ghosts of children still alive

I do things that I suspect are common to a lot of people in my position.

His room is the same as it was when he was taken. Untouched.

(I always say he was taken, others say he "left", he didn't, he was taken.)

I have the last set of clothes he wore when with me, still unwashed.

The other night, when I couldn't sleep (nothing unusual), I pulled them out and tried to smell him on them. I couldn't, or perhaps I could, I wasn't sure.

I remember the last time I saw him before he was taken. We sat side by side on a step and he showed me a book he was particularly pleased with. Silently, he paused and rested his head on my knee and I rested my head on the back of his. One of the most prayerful moments of my life.

He was sweaty. He'd been running.

The last look on his face was miserable. He'd wanted to be with me that weekend, but it wasn't my weekend and I had to disappoint him. I reassured him the time would pass quickly, and we'd have a good time. But he wasn't cheered and anyway, I was so wrong.

Today, I was at a place where he likes to play. Some rocks, and some water. I saw him there, frozen, as in a photograph that I have, mid-step, from one rock to another.

Oh God, I think these thoughts and I am left with a choice between grief and rage. Rage damages, grief never resolves. It is perhaps "unhealthy" to dwell on these things, but I cannot not. Like cherished memories of an favorite grandparent, or friend now gone, they are not things I want to let go. I must keep them fresh, these ghosts of my child still alive.

5 comments:

Karl Hindle said...

In my living room is a photograph of Emily - it took me 2 years before I could bear to have one somewhere in my sight, it was just too painful to have a physical reminder like that.

Going to the supermarket became a torture with children her age in prams or trolleys and making me think how she looked now, what she was doing and was Emily ok.

Now here's your comment - don't quit, never give in and remember your child no matter what - dammit !

John Doe said...

I have one small photograph of my son in my living room, and yet it dominates the whole room, like a tiny, but painfully bright star.

Anonymous said...

I'm only twenty and I don't plan on having kids, but even if I can't dream of the pain you feel, I support your cause. In any case, you might be interested in this: http://www.slate.com/id/2168389/ . It backs up your case in a powerful way.

John Doe said...

Thanks anon, I already saw the link, check out my news ticker column on the left side of the page.

Marie said...

I cannot fathom how you are feeling at this moment.. my husband has had full custody of is children from his first marriage since his children were 1 and 3. We cannot get their mother to take a more active role... I wish you had his fortunate cirumstances. I wish you the greatest of luck.