Risby Street – 1996

It’s quiet now, the babies are sleeping. I sit in front of the fire, mesmerised by the flames. I sit in front of the fire; rocking, crying and trying desperately to hold myself together.

This demon inside mocks me. Stupid woman, useless, weak, gutless. You don’t deserve to be a mother, you don’t deserve to be alive, they would be better off without you.

Crying, breaking, shattered; I listen to this voice and believe it to be true.

I wander through the days like a zombie; tired, frustrated, lonely. Pacing the corridors, feeding and consoling, singing, cleaning, washing. Oh God, so much washing, it never ends. The house is a mess, the bills go unpaid, toys everywhere and a week’s worth of dishes in the sink.

Crying; I’m crying, they’re crying, the whole house is crying.

The flames flicker, the heat consumes my pain for a moment. Silently I rock, remnants of tears rolling down my face. I consider my options, I make my plans, I think of the consequences.

They are loved, beautiful souls. Surely they will be alright without me? Where would they go? Dad; mine, theirs, mum, my sister, my brother?

They would be separated.


I can’t let that happen.

If nothing else I have to keep them together. I know what it’s like to be separated from your siblings, to be away from your parents, to be alone in a strange home, surrounded by strange people, strange things, don’t touch, don’t laugh, don’t make a noise, don’t be seen, don’t exist because we didn’t ask for this. We didn’t want to look after someone else’s baby.

No, if nothing else we have to stay together.

Plans laid to rest, quietly placed on the shelf, maybe when they are grown, maybe by then the pain will be gone?

Someone wakes, padding footsteps, arms around my neck, sleepy, hungry and needy. I pull this precious soul onto my lap, enveloped in my love.

I love you
I have always loved you
I will always love you
Is that enough?

It has to be because right now that is all I have to give you.

I am weak, I am broken, I am tired, I am lonely and alone, I have no energy to do anything anymore except love you. I ignore the dishes, the mess and the chaos that surrounds me.
We walk outside to a bright morning, birds whispering and a soft wind blowing. I hold you in my arms and I sing. I sing away the pain, the hurt, the loss. I sing away the fear, the anxiety and the hopelessness.

I sing away all the things that hurt us and I make a promise.

I may not be able to give you the world, but I will always give you my love, I will stay here and learn to carry this pain and I will keep you together.

Because in the end, all that really matters is that I loved you.
© Annie Whitehead 2014



Blogging101 Day 4: Identify your audience


2 thoughts on “Risby Street – 1996

  1. Been there, felt that. Three babies born in less than four years. Two kids autistic and the third with severe sensory issues. Their dad blamed me. Divorce, poverty, dreams about dead people. I like the dead people, they get me. Yeah, I’ve been there, had babies hold onto me and known holding them back was the only thing I had.

    Liked by 1 person

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