I don’t often cry over Xavier. Even in the early months, I didn’t sob as often as I would have expected. During support groups, I would be amongst the few whose cheeks remained dry. For a little while this worried me – was there something wrong with me? Was this unhealthy grieving? Would the dam burst one day and floods of un-shed tears finally overtake me? Was I in denial? I began to realise that my way of grieving was simply more cerebral. I analyse rather than cry, think rather than sob, write rather than weep. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I miss or love my son any less.
However, there is one thing that unleashes the tears. Music unlocks something in my heart and the tears flow in sweet release. When I was teenager, music played an important part in my life. I would see my own feelings reflected in song lyrics all the time. It has been a long time since I have sought solace in the same way. Nowadays my life means that I tend to listen to music in the car, when a random song on the radio can unexpectedly send me reeling.
There are certain songs I simply cannot hear – Beautiful Boy by John Lennon, Small Bump by Ed Sheeran, Last Kiss by Pearl Jam. Then there are snatches of lyrics that never meant anything to me before that suddenly carry a profound weight. Songs about loves lost and the inability to live without them. The song “Holes” by passenger hits home at the moment.
Well sometimes you can’t change and you can’t choose And sometimes it seems you gain less than you lose Now we’ve got holes in our hearts, yeah we’ve got holes in our lives Where we’ve got holes, we’ve got holes but we carry on
I have gained so much since Xavier died. Learned more than I could have conceived. But I would give it all up in less than a heartbeat if I could hold him again. You gain less than you lose . The gifts of grief can be hard accept – you never want to regard their origin with anything approximating gratitude. Yet they are there – they exist. And yes, they never amount to the same weight as the life of a child, but they are what you are left with. We carry on – life carries us on her relentless tide.
We’ve got holes but we carry on.