Monday, 7 December 2015
Grief can feel like a painful chronic disease. You have good days, weeks then terrible crippling days or weeks. There are the special days where you know that grief will consume you and the build up to these days can be worse than the actual day itself. Then there are days you think you will be ok, but suddenly, wham, grief is like a tidal wave and because you hadn't prepared yourself it seems worse.
Today was one of those days.
I went to church and completely forgot about it being a baptism. There was no Sunday school, but lots of children. Lots of children from babies to toddlers. Lots of children that gave me flashbacks of memories of being in church with Harry, when he was the ages of the children I saw. I remember running after him, watching him run. I remember him being months old and wriggling and not being that placid child! Full of spirit.
I was consumed by grief and had to take some time out in the toilet. I was going to get Callum and go, but he was playing in the back room with a friend. He was playing with Lego, not any Lego, but police lego, Harry's favourite! The toy he got 4 years ago at Christmas following his diagnosis of cancer. More flashbacks. Then a lady came in with her 3 year old and we were talking about toys and children and I was saying how Callum had playmobil age 2, which sounds young, but I wanted to scream it was because his older brother loved it too, but who wants to know about my child not on this earth anymore. Maybe they do, but to go into it creates more pain. Then the child Callum was playing with started saying that Santa does not exist and I tried to distract the conversation by saying we went to see the real Santa in Lapland. Then the mother sat their, started asking questions about it and I nearly said we went with the charity 'make a wish upon a star' because Harry was terminally ill, but I didn 't. I said how magical it was, which it really was!
What I am trying to get across is that normal life brings up crippling, gulping moments nearly everyday. Most of the time I think inside and manage to the sustain the mask during these moments. However, today I had to retreat to the toilet and shed a few tears. Grief hurt so much, I couldn't keep the mask on. However, nobody knew, we don 't hold up a big sign saying I have had a moment of heart wrenching grief. We just get on with life.
Today was also the Victorian Fair. I remember so clearly taking Harry and Callum 4 years ago. Out first family outing post Harry being discharged following 2 rounds of chemo. Harry was weak and in a wheelchair. I remember many other Victorian fairs too, I remember going when Callum was only weeks old and Harry was age 2.
Again so many memories.
We started decorating the house with Christmas decorations today and I came across some handmade ones that Harry did when he was in hospital this time 3 years ago. The pictures of that day came up on my facebook memories. Beautiful pictures, which I will share with you. But again flashbacks.
All I want for Christmas is to be a family of 4 again, to have Harry back.
December is so hard. I can just about still say, not that I say it out loud, but I do in my head, that Harry died last year, soon I will be saying he died in 2014 or 2 years ago. Suddenly Harry is the past. His peers are growing so big now.
However, to me and my family and very close friends, he will never be in the past. He will always be my son, Callum's brother and a grand son.
Grief is so hard, yet so unacknowledged. It is the elephant in the room. Nobody quite knows how to address it, so most don't. But I truly thank those that do.
I am also finding the death of a counsellor at candlelighters has hit me harder than I thought it would. He died suddenly age 52. I spilled my heart out to him in April and always knew I could go back and he'd know my story. My parents saw him regularly too, so he knew lots about us. I hadn't realised how much it meant to have a door I could open and spill out a bit more, even if I chose not to. The option was there and this provided a huge crutch. An unexpected crutch. Now it has gone I realise how much that door meant to me. Candlelighters has got another counsellor, but to start the story from scratch again in itself is exhausting!
Last week Callum brought a reading book home titled 'Fly High'. It was the last reading book Harry ever read. Such a poignant title. Again, it brought back memories. I shared these with Callum too.
Life remains a rollercoaster of feelings. I have had some really lovely times recently too. Such as going to Prague with the girls and going to my friend's 40 th party yesterday was also a happy day. I am a positive person and strive on in life. However, it is hard not to let the flashbacks take over and be consuming at times.
What I have learnt though is that life is for living. Grasp opportunities, really laugh at something, smile at the small things and treasure them.