The children never knew about the sea. Now I live near the sea, I beat myself up for never telling them about it. I spend hours trying to remember if I ever did tell them about the sea, but I know I didn’t. It never seemed important at the time, and besides…I lived far away from the sea. It held no meaning for me.
In December last year a pair of my friends took me to a little seaside village I’d never been to before. I had attempted suicide that morning, and on the beach my friend held me whilst I cried. The suicide attempt had been so close to successful that I’d actually experienced some form of a near-death experience. I stared at the sea and murmured “it was just so white…”
My friend stared out to the sea with me. It was a beautiful day. Cold, yet not painful, and a blue clear sky with bright sunshine dancing on the gentle waves. She nodded towards the sun reflecting on the horizon and gently told me that there’s light here too… her words stuck with me.
For some reason that coastal village has since always held some kind of symbolic meaning to me. It’s one of the few areas around here where I have no memories of abuse taking place, and had my suicide been successful I would never have discovered it, or seen the light in this world, or been able to cry into my friend’s shoulder. It also, for some reason, made me feel significantly closer to the children…those lost in the past and also my own babies. I knew that they’d have loved it, this beautiful peaceful place, and wished so desperately that they could have seen the sea and the beauty of this world.
Today I went back, with some other friends. We went in the sea, and after a bit, I came out. I sat on the beach, smiling and laughing at my friends squealing and laughing. Their laughter looked so real, so full of life and so warm, and it was very touching to watch. I could see the sun shining on the sea – my special light shining for me and reminding me of life, and my friends full laughter and joy echoed it somehow.
After a bit, they swam further out. This gave me some time to gently think. I closed my eyes, imagining that the breeze was the children blowing playfully on my face. I played with the pebbles on the beach, trying to re-create the memory of their tiny smooth hands in mine. I could hear children laughing further down the beach, and could hear the ghostly laughter in my head from the children. I felt a warm pressure in my lap, pressing against my chest, as though a small child was sitting on my and nuzzling into me. I could never show them the sea but I hoped that maybe they’d be with me now, and I could share it with them then…
The tears rolled slowly and peacefully, in this beautiful place, with my ghost-child huddling on my lap and the ghost-laughter ringing in my ears. I lay down on my back, to let the whole scene wash over me. To let the memories gently wash over me so that I could be with them again, but by the sea. The sea licked my toes gently, keeping me grounded enough in this world that I wouldn’t get lost… and softly I cried, and let my body re-live the memories of the children pressed against me and stroking my hair out of my face, and kissing my cheeks and giggling in my ear.
I wish I could have taken them there, and showed them this gentle peaceful beauty. Let them explore a place where being gentle and calm is normal, and yet running into the sea shrieking and laughing is also normal. I wish they could have really been there with me.
I heard my friend call. I opened my eyes and sat up, the memories cascading away quickly, falling back into the black hole. I blinked quickly to get rid of the tears, and put on my best smiley face. They all came back, my friends, from the sea…dripping wet and shivering, and laughing loudly. I joined in the laughter and the rest of the evening remained touching, beautiful and full of genuine joy and care. In the distance I could see the children. Hallucinations, of course, but they were there. My head had allowed me this small sense of closure, and this gentle collision of worlds. The children were in the distance, enjoying themselves, and my friends were in my present. I had everything I could ever want.
The children will never leave my memory, and I hope that I can have more experiences of almost-sharing my life with them, so that I don’t feel like the lone survivor who was cruelly granted the right to make it, when they weren’t.
A very cathartic and beautiful day, all in all…