Grieving the child I could’ve had... What if?

Emmy Heaton by Emmy Heaton Additional Needs

Emmy Heaton

Emmy Heaton

Hi I'm Emmy, mum to AJ who has cerebral palsy.

It’s a place I try not to visit too often as I don’t like all of the questions and self doubt that it brings. Watching my almost 3-year-old crying and screaming until he’s physically sick, hurting himself, pulling at his clothes and scratching his face during one of the worst meltdowns he’s ever had, I wondered, am I doing something wrong? Is this my fault?..

What would he of been like if he had never suffered a brain injury?

Would our days be the same? Or full of laughter instead of constant crying!

Would our nights be more enjoyable, would he sleep!?

Would he be able to run, jump, climb?

Or even walk in a straight line without falling over with every other step?

How many words would he be saying already? - would he say “I love you mummy”, the four words I fear I’ll never hear?!

Would he be a happy little boy?

Curiosity gets the better of me when I’m in this mood…The questions keep coming.. I know he definitely wouldn’t have the physical limitations and cognitive issues he has now if it wasn’t for the damage to his brain. I feel guilty, guilty I’m even thinking about it. But seriously, just what if?

What if we could go out for dinner without having to worry about how overwhelming such an environment could be for Aj?

What if we could go for walks in the park together, running and playing?

What if we could have a conversation with each other?

What would his little voice sound like?

What would it be like to actually enjoy a day out as a family with no tears?

How would we fill our days when we wouldn’t have appointments day in day out?

How would it feel to not count the hours until bedtime?...

Now that one, that one makes me feel awful.

But on days like today I do find myself checking the time, how many more hours until bedtime?

How many more hours of the constant meltdowns? Now Aj is in bed and I’ve had time to sit and reflect (and by reflect I mean stomp my feet and have a cry), I understand it’s okay.

It’s okay to feel like this some days.

It’s completely normal.

I can’t change the past, all I can do is try again for a better day tomorrow.

Try to avoid even more things that could trigger a meltdown and carrying on living in our new ‘normal’, even though it does change quite often! There’s always going to be bad days, I just can’t wait for the time that our good days will outweigh the bad.

Having just searched for the definition of grief, it’s made me think, our situation could be a whole lot worse, I could’ve lost him when the Doctors predicted he wouldn’t make it.

But he’s here, and he’s mine, and I’m thankful for that.

That being said…Would I change him if I could? Yes. 100%.

I’d change everything I could just to make him happy. Everything I could to help him enjoy his life.

noun 1. 1. Grief intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death. “she was overcome with grief” synonyms: sorrow, misery, sadness, anguish, pain, distress, agony, torment, affliction, suffering, heartache, heartbreak, broken-heartedness, heaviness of heart, woe, desolation, despondency, dejection, despair, angst, mortification.



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