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.