I have thought about writing this post many times.
I don't think it's my fault that Monkey died. Not really. Hindsight's a wonderful thing and maybe I could have prevented it but you don't live your life like that do you? It doesn't stop me feeling guilty though, about so many things.
Guilty that we didn't persist in asking for a sleep system which might have meant you'd have been better positioned the night you died; you might not have rolled over. Guilty that you didn't have a breathable pillow - that it didn't even occur to us that you might need one. Guilty that I put you to bed that night and left you when I knew you were uncomfortable. Guilty that your monitor wasn't near to me. That I left you in the house that night for 5 minutes - your dad was there in the garage - and went to look at a house in the village. That I didn't check on you sooner. Guilty that I once read a post from a Mum whose severely disabled child had died and wondered if that might not be easier in the long run. Guilty that I didn't pay you more attention when you were here.
When I first saw the bereavement counseller, she asked me how I felt. "Guilty" I said. "Perfectly normal" she replied "as a Mum it's your job to look after your children; to keep them alive". I'm not sure it made me feel better but I was very grateful to Judith for her straight talking and for letting me know it was okay to feel guilty.
Rationally, I don't blame myself. We don't even know for certain if that's why you died. I know that had I had a monitor with me, I probably wouldn't have heard anything which would have made me come in to you (you made lots of noises). Perhaps that would have been worse. You were often uncomfortable. Waiting until you were comfortable could have meant not leaving you at all. Popping out the house made no difference to when I came to see you and your dad was close by. The other things? I think they are human nature - it was hard to play with you all of the time and I definitely didn't want you to die. It was just sometimes hard being your Mum.
I loved you Monkey, more than anything. And I'm sorry. I tried my very best.