The days and weeks that followed the death were a mixture of the practical and a search for something to numb the awful truth of coming home to an empty house.
I immersed myself in keeping the flat tidy and us both fed. There were a lot of simmering pots of soup during that time. Like Annie in Being Human’s tea much of it was made out of habit rather than being consumed by anyone. There was tea though. There’s always tea.
We sought comfort from some very unlikely places. I sometimes got the impression that we were doing grief wrong. We should have been looking at heart warming stories of puppies or triumph over adversity or just gazing at some soothing flowers.
Nope. We watched all of Derren Brown’s TV shows and stage shows on All 4 instead. Huddled together in bed with the the laptop partially blocking the view of the cot and all the clothing and baby bumph that would later be quietly dismantled or returned to storage or given to charity.
I like games (not a gamer though) and I play them to relax or get immersed in the story in the same way people may watch a movie or TV show. At first I took a long break from games. It didn’t feel right or appropriate to play a game. There were phone calls to make, practical arrangements, visitors, comforting and weeping to be done.
After some time had passed this self imposed ban seemed counterproductive. If games acted as escapism than why shouldn’t I play them to give myself a break. If grief was to be a full time job then I should at least get a break once in a while.
My wife is very choosy when it comes to games and doesn’t often play them with me. When she does she really goes for it. Collects everything and plays the same level over and over (partly a mindset from Megadrive days).
We could have gone for something mindless and soothing like Bejeweled or any generic match 3 puzzler. We could have vented our frustrations in simulated combat and sport.
We found our solace in a brutally unfair rogue-like filled with religious overtones, body horror and well, cartoon representations of dead babies. In a game where you fight off your enemies using your tears there was a perverse comfort in having little ghost children orbiting you to offer their defence and attack as they accompany you through increasingly grim dungeons.
The nature of rogue like games is that the levels are randomly generated. You may lose on the first screen or have a charmed run where you appear to glide through it all effortlessly. The random nature of the game, its brutality and cruelty punctuated by moments of triumph were a reflection of what had happened.
There was no rhyme or reason or grand plan. What happened, happened. There was a small percentage chance that our boys may succumb to acute TTTS past the 30 week mark and sadly they fell into that tiny percentage.
It’s playing games and distractions like that that help avoid thinking of those things.