Sydney falling asleep holding my hand, October 2013, Helen Sargeant ©
Sydney falling asleep holding my hand, October 2013, Helen Sargeant ©

I held his hand and stroked his thick soft hair.

I watched the light casting shadows on the ground from the slats in the empty laundry basket.

Gradually his hand became heavier in mine as he fell into sleep.

Light and the laundry basket, October 2013, Helen Sargeant ©
Light and the laundry basket, October 2013, Helen Sargeant ©

In sleep we become parted.

Suspended, frozen, you step outside elsewhere.

 

In London without my children I felt naked.

My gaze become fixed upon mothers and babies traversing the underground.

 

Kings Cross haunted me

memories of love, of meeting the father of my first child,

pavements walked together pushing a pram.

Comfort toy asleep in bed holding my hand, October 2013, Helen Sargeant ©
Comfort toy asleep in bed holding my hand, October 2013, Helen Sargeant ©

I return home.

He is gone.

Its the half term break.

I looked at his bed this morning.

Sheets stay still.

They will remain un-slept.

 

Is this overly sentimental ?

Its not meant to be, I am trying to express what it is to be apart from my child.

When I do not choose/want to be apart from him.

 

Is this embarrassing ?

Can I talk of loss when my child is gone ?

Can I talk of missing him and his presence ?

Can I talk of love without idealisation ?

Is this stuck time ?

 

His face is a place so familiar,

When he is gone from my home,

I am fixed in this state of disorientation,

I lay the dinner table for four not three even when you are not here to eat with me.

 

The total of our time apart from each other = 240 hours

 

 

 

 

 

About Helen Sargeant

I am a visual artist, mother of two children aged 12 and 4, and co-founder of the MeWe arts collective. I intend to use this site to explore how my personal experiences as a mother informs my arts practice. To reflect upon the maternal in relationship to memory, loss, and mental health in particu…Read more

Website: http://helensargeant.co.uk

More posts by Helen Sargeant

2 Responses to “When you fall asleep/ When you are gone”

  1. Frances Earnshaw

    There are moments when I long for my daughter, when I am walking along in the street, and I want her. I mean, even when she is simply at school, and I am going about my business. A child will say, “I want my mummy”, and I want her in that way.

    It is often the case, too, that I have forgotten her for a while. This still seems strange.

    Reply
  2. Helen Sargeant

    The house is very quiet when my eldest son is away from home, this un-nerves me. I am used to constant guitar playing, as well as constant inter-ruption. Its also strange temporarily caring for only one child as opposed to two.

    Reply

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