The day our son was born, was the same day we announced his death.
In what was a beautiful labouring birth, his heart stopped moments before his first breath. Everything in the room moved in slow motion as they tried to revive him. I held my breath and then couldn’t catch it and then it all came rushing in as they placed his body on mine…skin to skin. I remember begging him to come back, to breathe. Sobbing and begging for him to be alive – at first loudly, over and over and then just whispering it as the hour in recovery flew by. He was gone before he was ever here.
I don’t have a lifetime of memories with my son, I have his movements inside me, the pictures of his still body and his scent that visits me from time to time. But to be given a death certificate for someone who never received a birth certificate, is entirely wild to me, since he was here physically – I felt him grow inside me for 9 months, we held him. We named him Wylder, Wylder Moss Ferguson, which couldn’t have been more perfect, since we’ve spent the year and a half following his death, trying to find the wild in ourselves.
When grief hits, it’s like a lightening bolt strikes you and shocks the ground around you and strips you to your core. Like that shell of all of your life experiences, that you built up around you all those years, just got hit by a wrecking ball and you are back to the very birth of your being. To me, that’s what losing Wylder felt like. Since then, I’ve been on a journey of feeling every emotion in its purest form – as if for the first time – and not always with a cool head. But that rawness, the heartache, the sorrow, the tears, the longing in my heart – that is my son. He is also the purest love and laughter in my daughters, the profound connection I have with my husband and the wild in my heart. I can’t physically carry him in my arms, so I carry him with this newly formed spiritual body. Though I can’t mother him on this earth, I mother him in mothering myself, in healing through this journey.
When I’m crying, he emanates from me, when I’m laughing and joyful, he emanates from me. When I’m working through it all, he is with me, reminding me that all this hard work is worth it. That although his heart didn’t beat on, mine does and in honour of him every day.
One of my favourite quotes is this – “you don’t think you’ll live past it and you don’t really…the person you were is gone, but the half of you that’s still alive, wakes up one day and takes over” – Barbara Kingsolver. This speaks volumes to my heart, but more so to my physical being, that slowly you come back, layer by layer. You don’t just come back 6 months to 1 year later, you come back slowly throughout the years, over large spans of time and through deep work. With huge pitfalls and wild upswings. You come back in greater strength and an entirely different view on the world.
Grief work takes time, it’s just that – work. We can hate our jobs or love our work, we can get swept under or climb upwards. That even when it gets tough and the “boss” is coming down hard, we can learn valuable lessons. I like to think that what feels like a huge step back is actually 10 steps forward – and sometimes I have to go through this stage several times until I really truly get it.
So my grief is actually what I call being “Wyld” and I will continue to grieve if grieving is what shows the world that life and death walk hand in hand. That life doesn’t begin and end with “life”. That life is wild and death is wild and being fully present to this is what truly connects us to this world.