My life is not always a happy tale to tell. At the young age of 19 I gave birth to my son Andrew who was born 12 weeks prematurely. He was very sick and battled each day to survive. I spent the first three and a half months at his side awaiting the day I could take him home.
That day eventually came. The pleasure was short lived as he returned to hospital shortly after. The next few months were spent in and out of hospitals. Diagnosing new problems and illnesses. On Friday the 12 August 1988 I visited my Mum and was not at all happy with the way Andrew looked. I rushed him to the paediatrician who admitted him to hospital again. I left the hospital at 4pm to return to my Mum's as she had just moved to another house and didn't have a phone and I was sure that she would be worried about us. I broke down in tears and said that I could not go on any longer. I didn't have to. At 6pm that evening Andrew died of heart failure.
I was devastated. Nothing had ever prepared me for the pain that I felt. The shear helplessness and devastation. My husband and I tried to comfort each other but we grieved so differently. I fell pregnant shortly afterwards. In hind sight I see it was a bad idea. Physically and mentally I was not ready. I miscarried the baby the day after our first wedding anniversary.
My second son Bradley was born on the 3 January 1990. A bouncing 3.7kg and a pure joy to my life. When Bradley was about 18 months old I moved out and filed for divorce and went to live with my parents. We all lived pretty happily together. My mum and dad played an active role in helping raise Bradley. He spent time with his Dad and we continued to have a reasonable relationship.
On Friday 17 June 1992 Bradley became ill with a bad cough. By the evening my mum and I were up with him and he could hardly breathe. We rushed him to the local hospital where he was admitted. He was diagnosed as having croup, something he had never had before. That night I will never forget, Bradley sat up in his cot and coughed, he stopped breathing in front of my eyes. A plug of phlegm had lodged in his throat cutting off his airway. The doctors and nurses fought to resuscitate Bradley and after what seemed like a lifetime they let me see him before they moved him to the neonatal unit. The next five days were horrific, as each day passed his condition worsened and the prognosis of survival grew dimmer each day. On the Thursday evening he was pronounced brain dead and the machines were switched off. I took my baby boy in my arms and rocked him gently, whispering to him and keeping him safe as he left this world.
I could not believe that this was happening to me for a second time. This time I knew what the pain would be like and I was terrified. I felt so alone. I wanted to die. I married again and my third son Matthew was born on the 15 February 1994. When Matthew was 18 months old we decided we wanted another baby. It would be a great step for me to have two children at the same time. The first month off the pill I fell pregnant.
On the 8 January 1996 at approximately 8:30 am my gardener and handyman at the time and two of his friends arrived at my gate to get some of his painting equipment from our workroom. I opened the gate and let them in. As they entered they knocked me down and the next few hours were a living hell. Matthew was locked away from me. I was beaten, stabbed, threatened, strangled and raped. Throughout this ordeal my greatest fear was that I was going to lose another child. Be it Matthew or the child that I carried within. Luckily this fear never came true and I never miscarried our son Sebastian. He was born a healthy, happy baby on the 24 June 1996, the day before Bradley's anniversary.
My family has suffered a lot of pain and trauma. The majority of my adult life has been coping with trauma of one kind or another. However I have survived, I am a survivor. I am a better person. I like the new ME!
My pain is still great. Greater sometimes than others. The longing never ceases. To touch, to hold. Each year as Andrew and Bradley’s birthdays come I wonder what they would have been like now, all grown up. I sometimes wish for the early days of grief where the pain was all consuming, I want to feel that raw pain again.
My life has meaning. I thank my two precious Angels for their gifts and the strength that they taught me. I thank God for everyday that I have with Matthew and Sebastian. I hope that I have many with them, but I will be satisfied with whatever I get, they are a gift. I love life whatever it may still have in store for me.
Andrew and Bradley, forever in my heart and soul. Love, Mummy
You can email Louise Lockwood: [email protected]
anniversary date Andrew 12-08-88
anniversary date Bradley 03-01-92
date of post 08-04-99