One Hundred and Fifty days ago everything changed, my only child, my Son, died and of course part of me died too as he was a part of me. Those first days, oh my goodness, pain like you can’t imagine, not just emotional, the pain was physical too. I didn’t stop crying for days though if you had looked at me you wouldn’t always know, sometimes I would be crying on the inside, sometimes those silent tears with no noise, sometimes noisy snot filled bawling where you could hear the pain I was in. I thought I would cry forever. I had a lump in my throat that just wouldn’t subside, it was there for months disappearing so slowly I actually don’t know when it actually went I only noticed that one day it had.
My brain just wouldn’t switch of, it was exhausting, think, think, think, think, think, Could it be true? Is this a dream? Why Charlie? What do I do now? Maybe someones made a mistake? This isn’t supposed to happen, I want to talk to him, I miss him, What do I do now? Maybe it would be better if I went too, will I feel like this forever? I want him back, someone make it right so I can have him back…….. on and on, strangely though I didn’t dream, maybe my brain wouldn’t let me, it had to protect my sanity somehow, I didn’t sleep much but when I did it was like ‘black sleep’ I fell asleep and then I woke up there was nothing in between.
Slowly, slowly I started to emerge – I have gone from everyday being awful to most days being awful with the odd OK one thrown in to having more good days than bad, I was still crying everyday, still couldn’t believe he was really gone, trying to make sense of the ‘new’ me, not that it was really new just different, my spark had gone, but I had a determination, a determination not to fall into a deep dark hole of despair and I was determined to not get angry, sadness I could deal with – anger – no, everyone said I would get angry, throw things around,”it’s just a part of grief” and I don’t doubt that for a lot of people it forms part of their journey but not for me. I still tried my best to see a little good in each day, a friend or family member checking in with me, a nice lunch with Rod, a beautiful day with a walk on the beach, an early morning cuddle with Bosun anything to confirm that the World was still beautiful, a place worth being, a reason to carry on.
I work with religious people, I have friends who have different beliefs, Christians, people who believe in reincarnation, people who believe in ghosts and spirits and people like me. I respect all of their different beliefs but I have always, well since I have been an adult, believed that when you die that’s it, you have had your life and lived it as long as fate allowed it or your body allowed it. Of course I have questioned my ‘non belief’ since I lost Charlie, I want so hard to believe I will see him again, or that he will give me a sign that he is watching over me. I am happy to hold hands while a friend prays, I don’t share his beliefs, in what he is saying, but I get comfort from the fact that he cares. Nothing has changed for me though, I am sometimes envious of the comfort some people get from their beliefs, their religion, but I still don’t believe that there is anything after we take our last breath. I hope that some day a long time from now I will be proved wrong.
Now where am I at? 150 days, sometimes it feels like 150 seconds, sometimes 150 hours, I miss Charlie, but I accept that he’s gone, that he’s not coming back and because of my beliefs (or lack of them) I don’t think I will ever see him again. Sad is still my default emotion but I can smile, I can enjoy seeing my friends, laugh at things Rod says, enjoy my pets. I still cry a lot, but that’s OK – nothing new there, my friends will tell you I am a bit of a cry baby, I think having a good cry is a release of emotion that has built up and it’s better to have a good bawl than to let it build up. I’m probably drinking a bit more than I should, I know that medicating ones self with several beers every day is not a good idea but for now it’s what I do. I don’t sleep much anything from 1 to 5 hours is my average.
My grief is a gentle hum these days, I actually get comfort from it, it’s like a movie playing in the background, Charlie when he was little, when he laughed, when he drove me nuts, his voice, his smile, his random FB posts, I like it, I never want to forget any of it, I wish I could remember every single second of the 24 years he was here. Now and then I get overwhelmed by those thoughts and normal everyday thoughts as they jostle for space in my mind and I cry , for people around me it must be odd as I suddenly burst into tears for no apparent reason, but I think most people understand.
I have lost my running mojo and hope that it comes back soon, my early morning run used to set me up for the day, I used to love the feeling when you get to the end, I have always run more for my head than my body, I’m not going to beat myself up about it though, just trying to go with the flow, ride the roller-coaster and hope that with time will return. Every evening I tell myself “tomorrow I’ll go” and every morning I don’t, I annoy myself, I know it will make me feel better but I always have a conversation with myself at 5.30am and justify why I can’t go, it’s too hot, my foot hurts, it’s raining, there is ironing to do, theres something I missed on TV last night that I want to catch up on, the excuses keep coming, I always have one.
My wonderful Husband has been A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! I have totally no idea how I would be doing if he wasn’t here, not as well as I am doing that’s for sure. He has made me the centre of his World it makes me feel cocooned and safe, in his mind there has never been any chance of me falling apart, we were just going to do this and come out the other side, his belief in my strength has made me believe in my strength. My brother Sam and my wonderful friend Frankie came over from England and helped me through the time around Charlie’s funeral, I remember standing at the Airport late at night about a week after Charlie died, when I spotted them I knew everything was going to be OK, what wonderful people they are I love them very, very much. I went back to work quite soon as I found being distracted helped me get though every day, my Boss was awesome, he used to call my office in the morning and by my voice he could tell how I was doing, if I needed him he would just drop everything and listen to me cry, rant, talk and his gentle manner and unwavering faith that Charlie was in a better place was comforting, my workmate and friend Terri, after Rod, has been the person who has spent the most time with me, her no-nonsence straight down the line manner has been brilliant, if I am crying she doesn’t make a fuss she just lets me cry then we get on with the day, she listens to me go on, what an amazing person – she has helped Rod hold me up for five months now, when we leave Cairns I will miss her so much, more than she will ever know. In fact all of our friends have been wonderfully supportive, I am lucky to know so many awesome people.
I am learning that I AM going to come out of the other side, that the World is still beautiful, that I still want to be here, I want to live a good life, I can honour Charlie by not giving up. I am also trying to learn how to seperate the ‘normal’ stresses of life from my grief, my house is still for sale, frustrating! a couple of my family members don’t give a shit, anger!! We want to leave on our adventure, impatience! So even though it is easy to let it all get on top of me I am trying to learn to seperate my emotions out, anger, frustration, impatience all require a few moments of quiet, or a cry, a bit of a rant or maybe a good nights sleep, sadness – that’s just going to need time. Anxiety is a problem for me, a little thing very quickly can become a big thing in my mind, I get anxious about annoying people, or I think people don’t like me and even though I tell myself “It doesn’t matter, it’s not a big deal” at that moment it is, Some days I get that horrible feeling like something terrible is going to happen, a feeling of dread, I am having grief counselling I’m not sure if its really helping me much, but it certainly isn’t doing me any harm.
I miss Charlie so much, He didn’t always have lots to say, but I knew that he was there and he knew that I was here, I miss being a Mum.
One last little thing – I love to talk about Charlie and I won’t always fall apart at the mere mention of his name, I totally understand that people don’t know what to say, don’t know how to react if I cry but give it a try, lets talk about my lovely boy, don’t worry if I cry it will be mixed with a smile or laughter, I promise not to fall apart.