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What You Didn’t Know

Posted in Many Paths Many Voices

To Luke

You were too young to understand
The world into which you were thrust
You were used to holding Mummy’s hand
And having her full attention

The arrival of a second child
Was not something you knew
And the process
Was not something for which we could have prepared you

You didn’t understand the constant tears
The medical appointments
The bleeding at 18 weeks and the regular fears
And that was just the pregnancy!

You saw your Mummy doubled over in pain
And you helped rub her back
At 36 weeks as labour began

You didn’t know you were saying goodbye for many days;
That this little brother would take away your Mummy
You didn’t know why hospital became a second home
That Mummy seemed to always reside at

We couldn’t explain medical terms to you
Things like special needs and disabilities
You didn’t know what heart surgery meant
Or that we used to count your brother’s every breath

But what you NEED to know
Is that despite all these things
You were never far from Mummy’s heart
And her thoughts were always for you

Her heart was with you
As you went to bed at night
Tucked in by your loving Gran

Her thoughts were with you
As she drove to hospital
And unpacked yet again

She cried for you
Many nights
Wondering if you were okay
And what she could do to help you

The world into which you were thrust
Was not a fair one
Nor was it just

Mummy had no idea having a second child
Would come with so much unexpected pain

But what you need to know
Is that your Mummy loves both her boys dearly
And will always protect you and love you
Some things Mummy can’t control
Even though she will do her best
To tuck you close and wipe away your pain

But one thing Mummy can control
Is that for each of her boys,
She will always, desperately love you
And hold you in her heart
And never let you go.

Your Mummy loves you
And is sorry your life began with so much struggle
She would change it if she could
And take “special needs” away from our vocabulary

But Mummy just has to trust
That God has a plan
Even though she can’t see it
And believe that we are just the family
For your little brother too,
Just as we are the right family,
Chosen for you.

© Karen Loo 2021

What You Didn’t Know was written in ten minutes right before I left the [Te Wahi Ora Women’s Writing] retreat and had my car packed. It’s what I would say to my four year old Luke if I could.