Monday, 9 January 2012

Al's midwife

Both Al and his little sister were born at home. My community midwife was a lovely down- to-earth woman who, admittedly, got a little nervous when I went so massively overdue (25 days with Al and 20 days with my youngest – my eldest was 30 days overdue so I ‘improved’ each time I guess). However, apart from getting very twitchy with my habit of going overdue, she was kind and patient with me and always left me feeling that my views and wishes were respected.

She missed Al’s birth by 10 minutes as she had only just started her shift but came immediately and helped the other midwife with all the post birth tasks and she was keen to tell me that it was also her son’s birthday.

I bumped into her around town occasionally as the children grew. Six years ago, I saw her in my local supermarket – the one where I ran into the man who killed Al. She told me that one of her sons had died. He’d been run over by a taxi. I can’t remember how I responded – probably inappropriately. I remember feeling immensely sad for her but feeling powerless to do anything to make it better.
The day after Al died, I was telling my sister of my midwife and how Al had shared one of her son’s birthdays, and how her other son had died in such startlingly similar circumstances to Al when our Family Liaison Officer arrived to let us know, amongst other things, that if I didn’t provide a Press Release, the local Press would hound me until I did. He passed me a copy of the short newspaper announcement regarding this young man’s death and, as I read it, I realised that I knew who this was. The officer confirmed it. It was my midwife’s son.

Since then, I've often thought of her and wondered why I hadn’t seen her since – I bumped into her at least twice a year for years and then, after Al died, I never clapped eyes on her at all.
Last week, I saw her. I was queuing (in my local supermarket of course – where else!) I almost jumped over the guardrail to get to her.

She didn’t recognise me. It took me several minutes of explaining who I was when she suddenly said, “Didn’t you used to home school your children?” Bingo!
I then told her about Al and how we lost him, and how I thought about her so much. Well I would wouldn’t I – she and Al had so many coincidental connections. What got to me was the way she almost whispered, “You never get over it you know.” Her eyes filled with tears as she said it.

I already knew I'd never ‘get over’ losing my boy. But it helped me so much to see her that day.


  1. Such a lovely post, and so well written. Thank you for sharing...

  2. Do you want me to tweet it to others or would you prefer it to remain a small group of readers?

  3. If you'd asked me that a year ago, I'd have said 'Thanks but no thanks' but I'm in a very different place and am more than happy for it to be shared wherever now.

  4. Yes, do you think we need these connections to make us feel less alone? And yes, you do write very well Bev x

  5. Yes - for me, these rare conneections are precious and make me feel less alone. I find them incredibly helpful