For Hugo For Life

A family's longing for a child lost to Meningitis

Letter to an old friend

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Dan.

It’s a tragedy beyond anything that I might have ever imagined that could happen to my family.
It just doesn’t happen Dan, just does not happen.

But then it did and that is the one conflicting thing that escapes my reasoning. Hence I cannot come to terms with it but people and books and articles tell me that I will eventually accept that he is gone because this is natural effect of the passage of time. This strikes me as a contradiction on a personal level because I will never accept the loss of a child, how can I?

However they say that we all deal with the grief in our own way, uniquely and I agree. Since one can explain grief but one cannot ever truly feel the same as I do because it’s my soul that has been hit by a truck. It’s my soul and it hurts like nothing else can. It creeps, it explodes and it has no tempo.

Your sharing of my pain is selfishly of comfort to me. I feel wrong to feel like this, to almost want you and anyone else to have sensed something of pain for Hugo’s passing. But to me it seems right and why not? You are a father and you empathise and above all it shows me that you care, for if you didn’t then you would not feel at all. My limited perception of tranches of Chinese family culture in older generations, that prevail even through to my generation, is that grief is to be eschewed, put out of mind and to be traversed hastily. Constant words of don’t be so sad about it, don’t ponder on his passing. Death becomes a fact to be ignored, reminders of a loved one to be tip-toed around in case emotion is betrayed again and again and again. Death becomes the conduit for Chinese superstition and respects are not paid, people avoid you when you might appreciate seeing them and you are advised that your presence is best not required to sully life celebrations and formal events. All nonsense.

Your words meant so much to me. Thank you for telling me how you really felt, that is true kindness in my book.

Hugo was more baby than Jasper was. Jasper has always been more mature than his years and very gentle physically and in demeanour. Hugo was not that. He had a very good nature but he wanted his way when it suited him because he didn’t see what possible reason why it shouldn’t. He was a boisterous little boy who loved us with all his heart. Hugo had an enormous sense of humour and he connected with Jasper and Eva and I on so many tricks that he played on us and us on him. He understood how to create fun and play and was beginning to say words with meaning behind them. He loved music. He was really really sweet. His physicality made him all the more cute and cuddlier.

It is a rare thing I think that you consciously experience the total joy of life as you live it or know true perfection when it is in front of you. I think that you usually realise this when it has passed or you lose it. But it was special when Hugo arrived and I felt like our living breathing family was the perfect unit for us. No more children came to be because Jasper and Hugo were it and firmly engraved in our book for life. The jigsaw was complete.

Now the unbalance is overwhelming at times.

Simon

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