Learning to live with the pain
We lost our child, Nick, a little over two years ago after he came off a hired scooter in Thailand, on holiday with friends.
We got the phone call every parent dreads: Your son is in a coma, and the prognosis is dire. Get here as soon as possible.
I flew out to Phuket where he had been transported by ambulance, and my husband followed 24 hours later. I was convinced he would wake up as soon as he heard me speak. It didn't matter that I had watched all manner of reality hospital shows that had told me his fixed and dilated pupils meant the worst.
He had two best mates with him who did everything they could. I remember waiting for eight hours at Bangkok airport, seeing all the young people on their way home, thinking that should be them. They shouldn't be in some ICU, dealing with this.
The difficulty of communicating with the doctors there meant we didn't really believe them, surely they didn't know. But they did. It was an every day occurrence - the ICU was full of young kids, no helmets, brain injuries.
We were talking to the medical insurance doctors in Australia, who followed his case, CAT scan by CAT scan. They told us what would happen, not that we wanted to know. They were right of course. We discussed what would happen if somebody talked to us about organ donation. We knew what he would want us to do, our neighbour had a lung transplant and it was never a question.
Then the phone call in the night came, our beautiful, healthy, vibrant, kind, gorgeous son was in cardiac arrest. We had to let him go, we knew what he would have wanted. No donation requests, and we just wanted to get home to our other kids, with our boy, something I still feel guilty about.
Nick was two months short of his 21st birthday. As you can imagine, planning his funeral rather than his 21st was not what we ever expected to have to do.
Losing a child joins you up to an exclusive club that nobody wants to belong to. It has opened our minds to a world that we never knew existed.
We are fortunate in our friends and family, none have ever suggested that we should be over it by now, or told us to move on. The truth is, you don't get over the loss of a child, you just learn to live with the pain. People say they can't imagine the pain, and they are right. Every time I read of the loss of a child, young or older, I want to reach out to the parents, if just to say, I understand.
We love you Nick, every minute, every day.