Time stands still for a parent when a child dies. However much life moves on, as it inevitably does, there is a part of that parent which stops, and remains stopped, at that time when the child died. The way in which life – time – is measured alters. Without conscious thought, my memories are slotted into two different boxes – when Megan was alive and after she had died.
These thoughts were reawakened recently when I read a most heartfelt and moving letter in a national newspaper from a woman whose young daughter had died more than 20 years ago. The grief, the sense of mourning for a lost life, seemed to be as intense and deeply felt as it would have been all those years ago. This is what happens when a child dies.
We, the public, know and see this when a well known person has lost a child. Mary Berry and Gloria Hunniford are two mothers who have recently spoken publicly about their loss. When interviewed on television and asked about the death of their child, no matter that much time has passed, the tears welled into their eyes. There are thousands of ordinary people in the world experiencing this perpetual grief.
My child died when she was 32. She will always be 32 for me.
In her poetry, Megan often referred to the ‘blue blue-green’. For her, it seemed to represent a capturing of a spiritual eternity. In Pembrokeshire recently, the light was such that I saw in the sea and the sky the blue blue-green which I believe inspired Megan. She uses the phrase in this complex poem.
BLOODY NOT SWEET
I watched the blue-green Holy Grail,
Diminish far beyond the pale.
A love that comes but once in life,
Of which I had my share and lost,
To cry and crack for suicide,
If something stopped me I have lied,
The orange tree gets closer still and twice as near.
Envisaged on the wings of pain,
Levitation, hopeless once again.
The seafoam racing hand in hand
With pink champagne stains on the sand,
The bubble bursts, come down to earth,
One foot in Jabberwocky Land.
Worth nine months of bitter smiling pretension.
If I should fall from what I’ve seen
I will not lose my blue blue-green.
If you can make the sadness pass,
I will still love her first and last.
Expect of me to understand
A half-dead lyric in my hand,
And comatose I’ll watch the sky get lighter.