Hold me, I’m dying.

February 12, 2013

We are but stars...Two days ago I had three naked children playing in my garden. Their little monkey bodies, flitting in and out of the arcing spray of the Waterpiller.

The Waterpiller is the modern day equivalent of the sprinkler, specifically designed for naked backyard antics, so these little pink beings were squealing and giggling with delight as the cool droplets splashed on their skin and made their nerve endings dance.

I looked at them, playing and so carefree and I thought,

This is living.

This is the stuff childhood memories are made of and this pure joy is the epitome of life.

The following day a dear aunt, Tante Magriet, slipped quietly into the eternal sleep on the other side of the world.
She was a brilliant woman in life and in these last months the evil Dementia had taken her mind away and her spark had already left the building.
She had lived a full life, borne children, taught at University, inspired people and loved fiercely…..and then she was gone.

That is dying.

From the minute we are born we’re hurtling towards our mortality.

I’m dying.

You are too.

All of us and our cats and dogs and chickens and plants…..we’re all dying.

It’s just a Lion King song. It’s just the Circle of Life.

I was giving it all some thought and I was totally at peace with it because it’s just natural. It’s unnatural to live to 200 and be full of Botox and vitamins.


1.We’re born tiny

2.We grow big and strong

3.We produce offspring

4.We shrink and shrivel

5.We disappear

Like a plant. For we are just matter.

Like matter, we don’t matter (if you catch my drift). Not in the big picture.

Of course, we all know the natural order is that our grandparents die first and that gives us and idea of what it’s all about….and then in our middle age our parents die, and leave gaping holes but we’re ok with it, because ‘they had a good life’.

It’s the way it should be……of course, not everyone gets the memo.

I was relatively at peace with the way the scheme works and then I read about fellow blogger, Julie of The Progressive Parent.

Julie woke up a couple of days ago to find her 15 month old son had died in his sleep. Right next to her, in bed. He just didn’t wake up.

No apparent cause. No reason.

They think maybe SIDS but Patrick (they called him Pat Pat) was a little old at 15 months…..but as she says, it doesn’t really matter what it was because the end result is the same. Her Patrick is gone, and he will never curl into her breast and look into her eyes again.

I look back at my progression chart and I cannot make sense of this. This is not part of the scheme because Patrick was only at Step 1.

This is a monumental cosmic cock up.

It’s not supposed to work like that.

I’m sure Julie feels like……fuck, you know what? I have no idea ow Julie feels….because even my wildest imaginings probably don’t cut the expanse of pain.

All the words for grief and sorrow are so two dimensional in the face of such loss.

I am perforated by your absence, my sweet little love.

Her words made me run to my children and gather them into my arms and bury my nose in their hair. I hope that somehow I can impress upon their personal timeline the importance that they follow the progression chart as it should be…..for I don’t know if I could be a complete picture again if someone removed one of my pieces.

I’m back pondering the big questions today. What’s it all about? Or is it about anything? Are we just matter that comes and goes like stars?

Of course we are.

But we are stars with hearts, and hearts are so easily broken.

Do you think about death?

What got you through when you lost someone?

I Blog on Tuesdays with EssentiallyJess. Go see who else does.

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  • Reply monk-monk February 12, 2013 at 7:48 am

    But we are stars with hearts, and hearts are so easily broken.

    Wow, that was a super powerful line.

  • Reply wheresmykid February 12, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Yes, it’s the out-of-order death that is hardest to come to terms with. Thank you for posting the photo. Helpful on a hard day.

  • Reply Mrs H February 12, 2013 at 8:10 am

    what a beautiful piece. no, I don’t think about dying. I too hold onto the hope that the natural order of life will be maintained. i can’t begin to contemplate losing a child. i can’t imagine it, but it does make me promise myself, even more than I do already, to start and end every single day with a hug, kiss and i love you moment with my children, and as many as possible in between.

  • Reply Ali Hodges February 12, 2013 at 8:17 am

    I’m so sorry for your loss Dan, and Julie for yours…how absolutely shocking and completely unfair!

    I’ve lost a couple of loved ones and when I was younger too. I think time gets you through because I miss both those people immensely every single day and if I think about it too much or see something that reminds me of them I can’t stop myself from crying. It’s time and the fact you get more used to it but it honestly never gets any easier.

  • Reply Carolyn February 12, 2013 at 8:49 am

    I think about dying. A lot. I lost my father when I was in my early 20’s and it shaped the person that I am today. Someone incredibly special to me is now in their 80’s and we have begun to speak together about dying. She knows that she won’t be with us forever and we speak about that. I’m so glad that we have these very confronting conversations together, it helps her and helps me – we tell each other how much we love each other, and how much we’re going to miss one another. I can’t begin to understand the grief that Julie would be experiencing and when things like this happen, you do wonder what it’s all about, someone so young with their entire lives ahead of them.

  • Reply rabidlittlehippy February 12, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I am blessed that those I have loved and lost have been at the end of great lives or at the least, have had and raised children to adulthood. You’ve had me in tears as my youngest is 18 months old and snuggles in bed with us but I cannot even begin to imagine the grief and heartache Julie and all who knew her and Pat Pat are feeling. My heart goes out to them.
    We are watching my Nanna who turned 90 last week suffer through ailing health, having “funny turns” and the rotten dementia too. She is a mother of 4, grandmother of 6 and great grandmother (Granna) of 6 and her life has been long and rich with memories. I dread her passing as I know the grief it will bring yet I hope the end is soon before her health makes her remaining time too uncomfortable.

  • Reply redlandcitygirl February 12, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Oh my heart aches for Julie …

    I liked how you started your post, about LIVING, and then DYING … may we live well, and die knowing that we did our best to live well!

  • Reply Dida Sundet February 12, 2013 at 10:43 am

    This just gave me goosebumps of the not-so-great kind. We had a day of close calls yesterday and I spent all day thinking about what if’s. So sorry for your loss, and I don’t even know how to begin to express my sorrow for Julie. What a tragedy.

  • Reply SarahMac February 12, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Oh my god. I think about this constantly at the moment. The little angel. I can’t even express how much this touches me and how much I think about the pain of losing a child. Sometimes the fear of it almost makes me breathless. I think about death and dying all the time. I am so sorry she has to experience what I am so afraid of.

  • Reply February 12, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Such a poignant post and not at all what I expected when I clicked in to it. I was thinking about the Flaming Lips song ‘do you realise’ bI didn’t see the last bit coming. It is impossable to make sence of the death of a child, and like you say, impossible to imagine the level of grief. My heart goes out to Julie.

  • Reply Bunny Eats Design February 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Hmmm…interesting life progression, but more and more people are choosing not to have children. Do they lose a big chunk of their progression? I think parenthood is a chance at immortality. But that shouldn’t be the only reason to have kids. They are a big responsibility after all.

  • Reply seana February 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Too, too sad, unimaginable, terrible. A new baby nephew helped so much when my Dad died. I think nothing would ever help if a child died.

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys February 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Yeah, I absolutely think new life helps us restore the balance…..babes bring great joy.
      You’re right about the loss of a babe though….the pain would hopefully ease in time, but you would never get over it.

  • Reply coloursofsunset February 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    LIfe really doesn’t make sense sometimes. In fact it rarely ever makes sense. I can’t think of anything worse than losing a child, yet since I became a parent the worry of such a thing is always in the back of my mind. And I read things like this and I want to rush to school and take him out of it forever because life is short, why are we wasting it at work/school/separated from our loved ones? My heart breaks for parents who lose their babies…at any age. My uncle died at 62 years old and a big piece of my grandmother died with him. My dad died at 61 (about a year before my uncle) and since then I am terrified of death. You’re right. It is a colossal fuck up. It is NOT supposed to happen that way. x Aroha #teamIBOT

  • Reply Deb @ Home life simplified February 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I cannot imagine losing a child. My own father died suddenly at home when i was 14 and it was traumatic for me and shaped my whole life. I do worry more than most about losing my husband as i watched as my mother lost hers in her 40s.

    I am sorry for your loss xx

    • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys February 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      Wow, that’s huge stuff. Hopefully, by the time you guys are 50 you’ll relax and just enjoy how much the old guy drives you crazy 😉

  • Reply This Charming Mum February 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Oh my goodness, how terrifying. I confess I usually try hard simply not to think about death, but then that leaves me unprepared if and when it inevitably enters my world. Nothing on earth could prepare you for the sudden death of a child, though. And any kind of faith and philosophy would seem inadequate. Thanks for reminding me to appreciate what I have.

  • Reply Beth February 12, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I’ve heard so many cot death stories this week and it is really freaking me out. There is a lady on twitter @edspire who just lost her 9 month old daughter to SIDS. Our good friend (and the minster who married us) lost her 3 month old adopted daughter to SIDS. My little cousin (a long time ago) died in her sleep.

    And as a mom I am screaming inside WTF! NO NO No no. It shouldnt ever happen.

    I am suddenly grateful for my boys horrid sleeping habits and their frequent night wakings, but when they do sleep longer than 3 hours i wake in a panic and get up to go check on them. My boys are 15months old on valentines day. this shakes me to my core that we are still not “safe” from the horrible scary possiblity of my babies “just dying”.

    I think i’m quitting the internet until they are 2 because my heart just can’t take it.

  • Reply Have a laugh on me February 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Every night I kiss my children and say goodnight to a little piece of me inside all of them, trusting in the fact they will wake every morning. I don’t entertain any thoughts of them not because there is nothing more I fear in life. Hugs to your friend and you for your loss x

  • Reply Eve Adams February 12, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I really didn’t see that coming, that was just heartbreaking. I think about death all of the time, afraid that I haven’t been touched enough by it, that something is coming, because everyone has a tragedy and I haven’t had mine yet…

  • Reply Housewife in Heels February 12, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    I am burying my nose in the hair of my boys right now.

  • Reply EssentiallyJess February 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    It is so unfair, and so wrong when these things happen. When the pattern doesn’t work like it’s supposed to.
    It’s the reason I’m glad I believe in God. I have to have faith that there is some purpose or grand plan, and that life is not a pointless, cosmic joke. I couldn’t get through it otherwise.

  • Reply Mrs D February 13, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    I’m so very sorry for your loss & for every loss ever…I’m not a great one to dwell on death & when my father died suddenly I took strength from the knowledge that he loved me & always will no matter that we can’t touch/hug/talk anymore. It’s a very personal thing to grieve & there is no Right way or Wrong way…just time & understanding. Big hugs Mrs H xxxx

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