We're both grateful to everyone for their kind words and offers of help. The first post I had meant to disable comments, Shaz even asked me if I had, simply because what could people say? I forgot to but am glad I did because speaking personally, I found the expressions of sorrow and support a great comfort when I woke up and couldn't switch my brain off. Many of you would have played at least a small role in our child's life, some I hoped would have a major influence, regardless it was good to have left you with a voice on this subject.
I tend not to be good at asking for help or support. A lot of people put that down to me being proud, which is funny because it's actually the opposite - I don't want to be a nuisance, don't wish to cause a fuss or bother - I don't feel worthy of the effort.
The stroke has taught me to be better at asking for or accepting assistance, but I'm still crap at it. And I automatically tend to hide how poorly I'm doing, even from myself, so I've got a long way to go yet. But after years of happily offering help, I've started to learn that sometimes accepting it is actually a great gift to those that offer - it's an opportunity for friends and other loved ones to do something for someone they care about - and given how much I get out of being there for people and helping out, who am I to deny others the same chance to show they care? Ok, there may be times where for various good reasons I don't want the help, but during the times when I do, it's selfish and self-defeating not to accept it.
There's so many recent posts I haven't gotten around to writing - a bunch about Bump and its impact on my life and thoughts; all the really positive things that have come out of the stroke; the great things I got out of my recent trip; a huge list of Love & Hate posts; and the way I have recently been re-evaluating and changing the way I deal with some of the people who I consider important.
Letting people know that I like them, care for them, love them, or trust them, that has only become vastly more important to me over the last two months.
And on a night when my dear, sweet wife is in hospital and our child is either dead or dying, when with tears leaving cold lines down my face it hits that I will never see that child laugh or cry, the most painful thought for me is that I will never get to hold it. Touch is how I connect with others, it's why I am a huggy person - the more important someone is to me, the more not touching them feels alien and unnatural - sharing space, sitting close, holding hands, hugging, cuddling... this is the way in which I feel I get to know people. Words are huge and clumsy and it's hard to find the words that do justice to the range of emotion and sharing that's present in one big hug.
I won't get to hold my baby.
She (we both thought of it as a her) changed my life in just four too-short months, and I'll never get to give her the wealth of love, comfort and experience that can come just from being touched by someone who cares. Oh there will likely be another baby, it's not like Shaz and I will give up, but the chance to connect physically with this child is gone.
And that's where my current grief stems from. Not her death, everyone dies, but the knowledge that I'll never know her touch or scent, nor she mine. The most important of the ways in which I share and communicate, and fate, random chance, destiny, God, infection, defective chromosomes, any one of a thousand things has prevented it.
I lie here and I want to hold and be held. I wish my wife was here, so we could hold each other close. I know all the reasons we're sleeping apart tonight, and they are all good ones, but that doesn't make it any easier.
I wish Kali was here. We have our share of ups and downs, but I've never met another person with the same ability to physically show love and compassion. I'm not talking sex, though that can play a part sometimes, but the knack of letting you feel loved with touch.
There are a handful of people of both genders I wish I was sharing my bed with tonight. Some are only friends, and would be surprised at their inclusion in a list of people I would like to hold and be held by, especially at a time like this. But they are important to me, and in some ways I feel the need to let them know that - in a time of grief, you're someone I trust to hold me - that some of them may not wish to do so for a variety of reasons doesn't lessen what they mean to me.
Some are more than friends. People dear to my heart in a variety of ways. Close, trusted and intimate friends, people I've cuddled up with before, a few folks I've been in deeply in love with for years, and an actual lover or two. A few of them will recognise themselves as being in this list, for those that don't... well, I'm getting better at saying what needs to be said to the important folks, so hopefully they'll see that they belong in this group soon.
Again, many would probably rather not snuggle up with me, but this is about my care for them as well as my comfort with them. No other agenda other than I need to connect and to be held, and these are the people I'd trust to do that with. It doesn't matter if it never happens, for me the importance lies letting them know.
In the last day I lost someone important to me, and I'll never get the chance to show her what she meant.
And I've had too many instances of that in my life to tolerate it any more.