I was watching a movie last night and there was a scene in which a mother was told of the death of her son. Scenes like this, and you’d not believe how many of them you run across, transport me immediately back to that night. My heart in my mouth, the agony of not knowing what was happening, not understanding. The early hours of the morning. A police car pulls up outside my house. No lights, no sirens. No urgency. Too late already. But still I run down the concrete steps outside my house. I run and I reach the car before they have opened their doors. An older officer and police chaplain get out. And I say ‘Are they o.k.? Are they o.k.? ‘ And the chaplain looks at me, her door still ajar, and says ‘They are both gone. They are both gone.’ And I’m not sure if we really are both repeating each statement or if the words are just echoing around my head. Aftershocks as my mind explodes with ‘NO!’ And I say ‘Not my Sam. Not my Sam. Not my Sam.’ And they approach me and somehow I walk back up the stairs, into the house where my other children sleep, where nothing is the same, and will never be again.
And each time I see these fictional scenes I feel the real pain of a mother losing a child. I feel my pain at the death of my child. Like I am back there. Like it has just happened. Like it is happening. Over and over, those few minutes replay in my head and I feel the emotions throughout my body, in no way dulled, still as sharp. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, what a bitch.
The homes of my childhood were not filled with examples of physical affection. Yet as an adult I am a tactile being. Because of that lack or in spite of it? Who knows. Sometimes my touch has been interpreted as purely sexual, when that is not necessarily the case. In my current situation a physical connection with the one I love centres me. It anchors me in the here and now. It has a soothing, calming effect. Part of it is exploration. Of finding my way and discovering things by touch. Another impression left, another sense engaged. Partly it is opportunity. Of making the most of the time I have. Of letting people know how I feel while they are here. I am a sensual person. The sound of a voice, a memory evoking scent, a mouthful to be savoured; all have the capacity to move me. Touch is another form of communication really, and I’m all about the communication.