As expected, pushing myself yesterday has resulted in an immediate low. I had hideous nightmares. Normally my nightmares are memory-related, but this wasn’t the case. I was sitting on my sofa, in pitch darkness. A motorbike kept driving past slowly and shining a torch through the window, trying to see if there was any sign of life. I held my breath. He broke into my house. Suddenly I had a kitten (?!) and he shot her. Then he saw me. Shot me. I felt the pain. Again and again. I cried out “no! stop! I can help you…” shot me again. I tried a different tactic “I’ll do anything that you want.”
He sniggered, walked over, slapped me, then shot me again with his d**k in my mouth. Everything went black and I woke up gasping for air, soaking wet with perspiration, shaking like a leaf and looking for my kitten. What didn’t help was that a car drove down the street at just that point and the headlights shone through the window. I screamed.
Obviously I wasn’t shot dead in the night. But it was a horrible nightmare. Not terribly vivid, but vivid enough to be believable. Eurgh.
And this morning when I woke up….grief. Of an extreme magnitude. Not just for my babies, but for the children lost in that hellish place. I wondered if it was because the therapist gave me some validation yesterday, and I was able to open up to her a little bit about survivor’s guilt; something I’m ashamed and frightened to talk about normally.
I woke up with the sensation of the children pressed against me, huddling together like we used to do. Eyes closed still, I reached out to comb my fingers through the hair of the little one I could feel against my side; he was whimpering in a nightmare. Only my fingers met only air. I opened my eyes, and the memory vanished, and I was alone. There would never be those children huddled against me again. We would never fight for each other and protect each other, love each other and make each other laugh. I would always wake up alone.
Wow. Grief ripped through me, taking my body as well as my mind. I’m not used to this whole body-consuming grief. I sat in my bed and sobbed so hard I actually had to run to the toilet to be sick. I could feel their pain. I could feel this huge intense amount of pain and fear; the pain and fear they felt just before they lost the fight. It was pressing right onto my chest, like when I felt like my babies were trapped inside me, only more intense because the children’s pain and fear was even greater. I clutched my chest and curled up on the floor, trying somehow to breathe through this pain. But I couldn’t. I could only hyperventilate, as they had done. I felt a burning sensation on my wrists; being tied up and unable to do anything as I heard their anguished screams. I remembered that powerlessness, that hopelessness, and that bitter despair. I had forgotten how terribly intense those emotions were. They had been hidden well. Suddenly, they were back.
Just as I had done at the time, I screamed, howled, wailed. Now I was lying on my back and fighting against these invisible chains on my wrists which were cutting into me, and screaming for those children who were trapped inside my chest. I could almost hear them: we’re here Jade, we’re here. We’re scared. We’re in so much pain. Please help us. How?! I wanted to scream. How can I help you?! I don’t know how to. I lost you, I held your tiny hands as your bodies gave in. I see you in the stars at night. How can I help you? I’m stuck in the wrong world. But you’re screaming inside me and I don’t know how to help you. I want to help, I want to…I want to put right how much I let you down; how I didn’t protect you. I don’t know how. Tell me.
My screams faded to whimpers as I felt the grief pounding inside my chest; my poor heart beating furiously to cope with this new level of extreme grief. I was still resisting this grief; instead holding on to the terror and despair. Suddenly a voice in my head said you can help them by letting yourself grieve. They deserve to be remembered properly. I knew the voice was right. By pushing, stamping and screaming at the grief in order to keep it at bay, I was pushing away their lives. The memories of them have grown blurrier; I can’t see their faces so clearly anymore, I have to focus hard. They were heroes; soldiers in a war that was stacked against them, and yet they did not stop fighting or laughing. I can’t push them away. But by pushing my grief away, I am. I deserve to grieve. And they deserve to be grieved. They were inspirational children and shouldn’t be forgotten.
But how much is this going to hurt? I wept. I was already crippled with grief over my own babies, how could I handle the grief for the children in that place too? How?
But I felt the pain in my chest and knew. The children still need my help. They need my help so that they can completely be out of the horrific world they were born into. By me not letting go, I’m keeping them in pain. I’m prolonging their torture, because I’m torturing myself. I need to help them…and to do that, I need to let myself feel.
“Okay” I whispered. It was all I needed. The pain stopped, in my chest, but I felt a wave of emotion wash over me. It was intense, but not crippling. I heard the children’s laughter again, felt their tiny hands on my face. I heard their screams. I felt their tears, then realised the tears were my own. I saw it was raining. They’re crying with me… I thought. And I started to let go; to let them leave the world that hurt them, by letting myself grieve and accept they were gone. My sobs were not hysterical now; no longer ridden with terror and physical pain. I just wept, heavily and almost silently, and hugged myself because I can’t hug the children anymore. I felt them cuddling up to me, soothing me, letting me cry.
And I cried…and cried and cried.
Then I put the lid back on the bottle, knowing that this was going to have to happen in stages; there is simply no way I can go through all of the grief at once. I felt the pain in my chest return, but not as intense or crippling…it was just there – a reminder. We still need your help…please let go of us.
I will. I will. I just need to do it slowly, otherwise it’ll overwhelm me. The lid is back on now, and tonight I will let myself grieve some more. One day I’d like to hold some kind of memorial thing for them all, them and my babies, and any other children lost due to abuse around the world. Then maybe I can let myself let go, and let them finally be free… 😦 J x