This is how Wikipedia defines a shield:
“A shield is a type of personal armor, meant to intercept attacks, either by stopping projectiles such as arrows or redirecting a hit from a sword, mace, battle axe or similar weapon to the side of the shield-bearer.
Shields vary greatly in size, ranging from large panels that protect the user's entire body to small models (such as the buckler) that were intended for hand-to-hand-combat use. Shields also vary a great deal in thickness; whereas some shields were made of relatively deep, absorbent, wooden planking to protect soldiers from the impact of spears and crossbow bolts, others were thinner and lighter and designed mainly for deflecting blade strikes.”
For me, and for many like me, shields are what we show the world.
The smile that everyone thinks I’m alright.
The easygoing manner that covers up the incredible pain and suffering.
The hand that covers the yawn because I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since Julie told me she was pregnant with Melody, the fear of losing another stopping me from ever truly sleeping fully.
Today two years ago we lost our little girl, Melody Caitlyn Scott. She was born early, but she was born healthy; she was a fighter like her dad, like her mum. She was a Scott through and through.
And yet, through a whole list of things, she didn’t survive beyond 35 days.
To walk in to the Neonatal unit and be told “I’m afraid she’s not expected to survive.” To watch the nurses and staff helping her breathe, just so we could say goodbye.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to feel. I didn’t cry, but my worst nightmare had come true for a second time, and once again I had to watch a daughter die in my arms. The only time I really cried that day was when I phoned my mum and dad and told them what had happened, and I started welling up, because my brain was starting to catch up with losing Melody.
The next day was a blur, I was in shock, could barely speak, could barely do anything except vomit all over our bathroom at 5 in the morning. The registrar didn’t help matters, neither did the chaplain at the hospital, when we had to go back for the death certificate.
That was two years ago.
Now, I don’t cry, not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t.
I don’t know why, maybe it’s a man thing. Maybe it’s something worse, something darker like Batman.
Now, I’m off work for ten weeks, and people assume I’m fine, that I’m just doing it because I can. I don’t really have any friends anymore besides my amazing wife Julz, because I’m tired of losing friends to the reaper, and have a hard time making new ones without that thought in the back of my mind, especially in the last two years. Nobody asks me if I’m alright except Julz and the health visitor; no organisation is bothered with helping me through my pain except for a locum GP at my surgery.
Kelsi is not a replacement, she was planned only a couple of weeks after Melody was born.
All I’m saying is we miss her.
I’m not alright.
But the shield will always be there.