On their own what and if are insignificant, tiny little words.
But together are heavy reminders of things that might have been.
What if is something that is engraved into a person when they lose someone they love, of course not just a baby, so many missed opportunities, occasional regrets.
When I lost Grandparents, and then a parent there were many what ifs but over time for me they have passed. My Nan had Alzheimer’s Disease, sadly it was inevitable that we’d lose her at some point. She had days where we visited, where we spent time wondering whether it would be her last day. But when it came her final moments she sent alone, I missed her last breath by moments.
But in all honesty, because the disease had taken hold, for me there wasn’t really any what-ifs. I just hoped she knew how much she was loved.
When my Dad passed, it was sudden, for a time there were the usual, What if he hadn’t taken my brother out? What if he’d been at home, or surrounded by people? Would there have been a chance for him? What if my relationship with him was better?
So many what ifs, but in time they have faded, occasionally they creep up, but they never feel like a punch in the gut. Not losing Melody.
It doesn’t mean I loved my Nan or my Dad any less, it just really means that the grief over the three are so different, for me incomparable.
Since 2012, the what-ifs are still as clear and as painful as they were in the first few days after she died.
Her birth, her life and her death pose so many questions, so many different possible outcomes.
I was ill, seriously ill – although I felt terrible, I often question whether there was more. Going through the events leading to her birth, of course, these were answered with just how seriously ill I was, moments from seizing, but still;
What if there could have been more to be done?
Why did my body let us both down?
What if I hadn’t had a peanut butter craving?
What if I hadn’t brought the pram in the house?
She was the only one I ate peanut butter with (or peanuts in general), she was the only one we had the pram in the house. Of course, those are silly ones – to you maybe, but to me they’re huge.
What if I hadn’t had the car accident in the beginning?
I was about 10 weeks pregnant when I wrote off my car, I still see the man who caused the accident and still, wonder if that was the start of it all.
What if we had been phoned sooner, on the morning she died?
There were little things that we noticed that the nurses hadn’t. Not because they weren’t doing their jobs, but as her parents, we saw things that they didn’t always notice, maybe we could have spotted something that night, had we been phoned.
What if there had been more staff? Someone there to have administered the antibiotics sooner?
What if she had been seen sooner?
What if we had been asked about the eye procedure?
What if we’d refused?
These are just a few.
So many questions that are still as clear as the day she left, some answered, some not.
Some still cause our hearts to skip a beat at how different the outcome should have been had things been done differently.
What If I had done more?
Why do I keep on, keep punishing myself?
The simple answer is I’m not.
For me, it is part of my love, my journey I have with the girl who couldn’t stay.