Wednesday, 18 June 2014
I thought I'd write an update. I'm not sure what to do with this blogg, but will definitely keep it open and update now and again. It's obviously not about Harry's progress anymore, but about the journey of a grieving family.
It's 14 weeks since Harry died. Some days it seems a long time ago and other's only yesterday. Grief comes in waves and can catch us off guard at times. Music on the radio, seeing pictures of Harry, particularly the screen savers we still have. Callum talk's about Harry and sometimes this can be unexpected, such as his questions about heaven and wondering if their are toilets in heaven. I explained that when you die you don't need the toilet. Callum thought that this was fab, as it meant more time for playing. He also asked if their were schools In Heaven and he decided that there were.
Callum loves wearing Harry's clothes. Though I am acutely aware that Callum is taller than Harry was at the same age and so Callum won't have many more months of wearing Harry's clothes. That will feel sad, when all Callum's clothes are new and not hand me downs from his much loved brother.
Callum loves playing with Harry's beloved Lego and is pleased about his new playroom In Harry's room. Since Harry had a bed, which was from the NHS and much of his furniture was moved out to create space to move and handle Harry into bed safely, once he became paralyzed from the waist down, that now all the equipment is gone, it leaves a large bare space.
I never wanted Harry's room to be a shrine to him though, so I am glad that it is bare and Callum can use it as a playroom. I am also pleased that Harry's clothes are not left In Draws and Callum can make use of them. Though I have boxed some particular favourites that just don't feel right to see Callum wear.
I feel we are doing really well for the point that we are at. We are thinking of the future and beginning to make plans for our new life. We are being kind to ourselves and very much enjoyed some couple time in Whitby recently. Granny and Grandad had Callum to stay for 2 nights, which he very much enjoyed. It was our 11 th wedding anniversary. Having spent our 10 th at diggerland last year, trying to create great memories with Harry, particularly as he had just commenced morphine to combat leg pain and our 9 th was spent in lgi, with Harry very poorly due to the side effects of high dose chemo and our 8 th was spent unpacking boxes as we had just moved house, though I do remember we managed a meal out! As you can see, we were overdue a relaxing anniversary break! We chose Whitby as we both love it, no big journey, wasting time in the car, so more time to play. I had forgotten how many memories we had of Harry in Whitby and In Between the fun and smiles, there were tears of sadness.
I think that is our life now, smiles, happiness, but frequent sad moments where tears sting our eyes.
You see the thing with grief, there is no ryhme or reason or rehabilitation program or protocol for treatment, it has no timescales for the healing process and must not be forgotten how emotionally and physically exhausting this thing called grief is. You can not see it, there are no physical wounds or scars, no bandages to make it better, no cream or lotion will heal it. It will always be there in Some shape or form. I gather that it is about learning how to live with grief and getting used to it, that helps. Time can only make that happen. Again there are no timescales for how long it takes to adjust. Then I am sure once adjusted, again, there will be no ryhme or reason sometimes for a temporary 'relapse'.
People say 'how are you?' and most people don't really want to know, that's life. Sometimes, someone will say 'No, HOW are YOU' and those people are the ones who know you are not really fine and want to know the truth. Some days are actually ok and other's are not. To be honest I would say most days are a roller coaster of emotions, as said, smiles, happiness and tears of sadness all in one day.
Whilst Paul was working nights one weekend, I drove Callum and I down to my sister's, which is just north of London. We had a lovely weekend. Callum got on well with his cousin Olivia aged 2 now. She is just old enough for them to play together and interact together. Callum, despite declaring that he doesn't like girls, was really sweet with Olivia and looked after her In the soft play area we went to.
This adventure down to my sisters, was a milestone for me, since I had not driven such a distance all on my own since Callum wAs born. I used to frequently travel distances, even with Harry, but when Callum was born car journey's turned into a nightmare! Also with my parents moving to Otley 4 years ago, there hasn't been the same need to make long journey's solo! I also guess that when Harry was either on treatment or when he'd relapsed, the unpredictability of his health, meant travelling solo for long distances felt like too great a feat for me to undertake. Since Paul works a lot of weekends, I always used to make a lot of plans for weekends and would travel to meet up with people. I have now taken the first step in knowing I can do the things I used to do, Callum was fab in the car, he was happy as long as 'One Direction' was playing, I hope they get off tour soon and make another album, the tunes were on replay in my sleep! I feel the trip was a milestone in my ability to move on and learn how to live again.
Since Paul has limited ability to get time off over the summer due to a restructure, new teams and management and my commencement of work in July, he has 2 weeks off work at the mo, whoop, whoop! We have just come back from Southwold, Suffolk, aka Sunnysands from Grandpa in My Pocket. We had a fabulous week, Really relaxing. We had the use of a beach hut on the seafront, which was brilliant, we could leave the buckets and spades there, have a cuppa using the calorgas stove or partake in a cheeky alcoholic beverage! It could get a little breezy on the seafront, so the hut provided the perfect shelter with a sea view! Callum loved the beach and we spent many an hour on the sea front! None of us were quite brave enough for swimming, but a paddle we did manage!
We took our bikes and made Walberswick our regular destination, where Mr Whoops' shop front is from Grandpa in my Pocket. Callum is getting good on his bike and even managed to ride on the road a little, sandwiched between daddy and I. I haven't ridden a bike much in years, so Callum's stopping and starting helped me too! We found a seafood restaurant on the harbour, which we have seen develop over the years, from just a shop to a restaurant, though we haven't visited Southwold since Harry was 18 months old, but this year has seen the addition of outside seating, perfect for a glorious sunny day and perfect for Callum, to fidget to his hearts content! The restaurant does seafood platters and we could take our own wine and bread, perfect - yum! The weather was so lovely the day we went and the rustic setting made us feel like we were in France.
We did take a day out of roaming the countryside to visit Pleasurewood Hills theme park, near Lowestoft. I used to frequent the theme park at least yearly throughout my teens. It was a massive throw back to 20 years ago, some of the rides have changed, but much was the same and I could tell Callum that he went on a ride that even granny and grandad went on! It was the sedate boat ride, which Callum thought was boring! There was a rollercoaster called 'the rattlesnake', which was very tame, but I could remember queuing 45 mins to get a go all those years ago. I also had a certain recollection that it was called 'the ladybird' when I used to frequent it. I asked one of the workers about the name, but they confessed they were only 21 and so they were only months old, when I had last visited! Good old Wikipedia could confirm that my memory was exactly right and it's original name was 'the ladybird!'
As mentioned above, we last visited Southwold when Harry was 18 months old. I could quite clearly picture him motoring along the promenade on his plastic trike. That was a happy holiday too. When we were out on our bikes, I did feel sad that Harry wasn't able to ever join us on family bike rides, though, I could picture him smiling at how confident Callum is on his old bmx bike now. I remember the day last October, when Callum insisted on having his stabilisers removed and Harry was helping Callum balance on his bike in the cul de sac next to our house. Harry was so proud when Callum managed to ride 20 foot without falling off! Callum was still just 3 then!
Our hearts ache without Harry, but our lives cannot stand still, we will endeavour to have new adventures, smiles will shine through the tears.