Once upon a time, I sat on the floor, exhausted and sleep-deprived, waiting for my girls to settle down to sleep and wrote a post about the loneliness of 3AM. I was tired and snappy as I held their hands, longing for them to go back to sleep so I could sleep too. By the time they were settled, my brain had woken up and mummy guilt tormented me. Reminding me of how lucky I was. “Be grateful, mummy guilt scolded me. Remember how different this journey could have been. Think how terrible it could still become…”
And here I am, awake at 3AM once again. Looking across at those two little beds, one of which is now empty. Longing to be able to step back in time, to that night when I wrote that blog post and be that tired, overwhelmed mummy again with two little girls in those two little beds. Even back then, I knew how lucky I was. I knew that there would perhaps come a time when I would long for that moment. And here I am now, longing for it. Feeling my heart shatter once again as I see the photo of Jessica asleep in her little bed, with her Kerry snuggled next to her. Tonight, that little girl sleeps in her forever bed in a woodland, ten miles from home. I will never hold her hand again, never listen to her soft breathing as she sleeps, never gaze upon that beautiful little face that I love more than life itself.
I thought 3AM was a lonely time back then. It is unbearably lonely now. My world feels so very empty without Jessica in it. I always knew how lucky I was to have her. I didn’t always appreciate the moments, or cherish them but it didn’t mean I loved her any less in the moments when parenting felt hard than in those when it felt wonderful. I would give anything to have those moments once again. In the darkness, the memories fill my mind and pain overwhelms me. Sleep is elusive – there is just that unbearable longing for what I can never have.
As with that night, exhaustion will eventually take over and let me sleep again. Back then I prayed for strength to face the road ahead and I find myself doing so again. Somehow I know I will find the strength to get through another day, although I know that there will be moments when the pain is intense and I feel that I cannot go on. I will go on though. I will keep moving forward, holding the happy memories close to my heart and reminding myself that I will always carry Jessica with me wherever I go.
I reminded myself back then that I was never really alone, no matter how alone I might have felt. It’s as true then as it is now. I know that God’s love continues to surround me, that He will carry me through and give me the strength I need to face another day. I am surrounded by the love, support and prayers of my family and friends. I have my wonderful hubby by my side, my beautiful Sophie doing her best to be a little ray of sunshine and a little Peanut wriggling away inside me reminding me that there will be other reasons to be awake at 3AM in the future. I may feel lonely, but I am never alone.