Don’t get me wrong, I never wanted him to die but occasionally I would think about what our life would be like without him. I would imagine that ‘post-Aidan’ we might move to a new house – one that isn’t so close to the hospital, one that might have carpet or even stairs. Perhaps we could take a holiday to somewhere other than Bear Cottage. Maybe I could embark on a new career.
I sometimes hoped that ‘post-Aidan’, Anthony and I could have the life we dreamed of – you know, the one where we go camping and take the kids to sports on the weekends, like something out of a TV show. I imagined that would be our family, version 2.0.
Thoughts like, “I really wish my child would just hurry up and die so I can move on with my life… or I really wish my child would die so I can get off this rollercoaster or even, I really wish my child would die so I can get on with grieving” are terrifying and almost as immediately as you think them, you wish you could take them back.
I can’t even put into words the guilt and shame I have felt of even imagining a life post-Aidan.
Of course, putting my rational hat on, I’m probably not alone in feeling like this. As much as you want every day with your child, there are times when you want it to all be over. You want your child to stop suffering and you want your life to no longer revolve around medications and hospital. You just want a break from the emotional turmoil.
In reality, the new version of our family is never going to be picture perfect. Sure, we can move to a new house, take Ollie camping and avoid making up medications but all of that is tainted by the shadow of grief. Watching Ollie play soccer and do all the things Aidan should have done (had he been healthy) will always come with a tinge of sadness.
I have always known that we could never say goodbye to Aidan, pack up our lives and start again. It just doesn’t work that way but in some ways those dreams of a life ‘post-Aidan’, as much as they left me riddled with guilt, also gave me hope that I could one day smile again.