The older I get the more I wonder if I will ever have kids of my own. I wrote a poem a couple of years ago called “To the son I never knew”. I never wrote it to share; I wrote it for my own mental health. Since sharing it I've had those who were able to read it thanking me for writing it, and those who were honest enough to admit they couldn't read past the title saying though they could appreciate the courage it must have taken me to write it, they couldn't read it, and I tell them it's OK. Everyone journeys life at a different pace. It took me 12 years to write that piece.
Having travelled extensively for work and even getting married years later and gaining an instant family in that time I didn't really think about it much until I moved back to where it all began. The familiar faces seeing those I saw growing up now with families of their own. It felt somewhat surreal being in such familiar surroundings after so long seeing how everyone’s lives had developed in that time and wondering where mine was headed. I was at home one day when it struck me, that I was living just down the road from the cemetery. I didn't go there right away but when I did it was a week before his birthday. I hadn't even remembered how close to Christmas that fateful day was, he wasn't due until well into the New Year. It's amazing how much and how well we can block things out from our memories to keep going. I really hadn't had any contact with his mum since then, it was a really messy situation, and thankfully she has since married and has healthy kids. I wasn't prepared to marry her despite her father’s insistence but I have no doubt in my mind we would have at some point, but to me her being pregnant wasn't enough reason to tie the knot. Regardless of our relationship status though I would have raised that kid as my own. I didn't just lose him though, I lost her too, and I think that was the hardest part. In fact we all nearly lost her, thankfully though she found her way through.
So after multiple major life changes in a short space of time I found myself reflecting on the last 12 years of my life and how different it would have been if he'd grown up calling me dad. I've got nieces and nephews, a god daughter and sponsor kids but none of them require a daily commitment. Though I feel so privileged being able to have the input I'm allowed into their lives.
I've since written a second piece called “to my unborn son” inspired the song “Always Here For You” by KJ52. I'm young enough to still have my own offspring though I also don't feel the need to. I'm happy being able to assist in ways that I might not otherwise be able to if I had kids of my own. Yet the thought still remains, if he'd made it ….. “so many memories that were only ever dreams. So many dreams that never got to be memories”.
'to my unborn son'
your not mine, or your mothers, you are your own self
you will make mistakes and that's okay
though the choices you make live with you till your dying day
you will grow up in a world different to what it is today
but with each day you breathe life, don't waste your time away
you will know heartache and pain, yet you will also taste triumph and gain
when you fall in love you will know the truth in these words
when you see her for the first time you will know
it doesn't matter what your grades are
some of the richest men alive today dropped out of school
yet in all things do your best and follow your heart, it's your strongest tool
when it rains be thankful for the nourishment of the earth
and when it's sunny a tan is not cool, look up your great grandfather he was a young fool
you will have more opportunities than ever before
but never lose connection with those closest to you
I've said it already but I will say it again
you will know sorrow and pain, but these are but the moderator to happiness and joy
everyone leaves this life at some point, so every chance you get explore the joint
but most of all your name is not your identity
it is simply a word to identify you but you will be known by how you choose to live this life.
Copyright 2013 Neville Hiatt
'to the son I never knew'
How do you mourn a son you never knew
how do you count the candles you never blew
how do you know you love a white Christmas when you've never seen the snow
so many memories that were only ever dreams
so many thoughts that will never be shared
I sit surrounded by all these flowers
and say your name aloud but it falls on deaf ears
I never got to hold your hand, or create artworks with you in the sand
I never got to teach you how to kick the ball, or watch you get up after your first fall
I sit in this field of flowers and trace your name etched into the rock
and wonder how different my life would have been
would I have lived with your mum, would I have been a great dad
so many questions that will never be answered
you'd be 12 today, yet here you lay
12 years I could have spent calming your fears
12 years I've spent drying my tears
so many memories that were only ever dreams
so many dreams that never got to be memories
Copyright Neville Hiatt 2013
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Neville Hiatt is a storyteller, a country boy at heart he grew up knowing what the word community meant. His radio career was cut short when he was medically retired before his 30th birthday due to someone not doing an adequate head check. In the last few years he has developed his love of photography, and poetry and has just released his first collection of short stories. Left battling depression, anxiety and chronic nerve pain as a result of the accident he has become even more passionate about sharing his life experiences in the hope of aiding others in their journey. “It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or what’s been done to you. It only matters what you do with your rainbow today.”