Monday, November 02, 2009

November 2, 2009

Hi again.
Well, Charlie went back to school today, after what can only be described as a fairly fun-free half-term. He has been so good, this past few weeks.
For the ten days before Dad died, I would drop Charlie off at school, and then head straight over to Mum and Dad's house, arriving back home just in time to put Charlie to bed.
Then since Dad died, I've been with Mum a lot - sometimes with Charlie, sometimes without. Charlie has just fitted in with everything, and has behaved absolutely brilliantly the whole time, despite hardly seeing his mum at all (and when he did see her, she was pretty snappy and liable to shout/cry at unpredictable intervals). He's been right there with his special 'Charlie hugs' whenever Nanny or I have needed them.
Pete has pulled out all the stops to be right where I've needed him to be. He has picked up the slack - kept the house tidy, picked up Charlie from school, played with him, cooked numerous teas, read school books, done homework AND kept up to date with his own work. He's done everything. (With the exception of the washing - I did a mammoth load yesterday because Pete was down to his last pair of pants... but don't tell him I wrote about his underwear on the blog.)

I am so grateful to Pete and Charlie for letting me be where I needed to be, this past few weeks.

I'm also grateful to my wonderful husband for helping to carry my dad on his final journey. It made me proud to watch my husband, with my brothers and brother-in-law, arms around each other's shoulders, as they walked carefully through the cemetery, carrying dad to his resting place.

It was a job that I couldn't do, but, as always, Pete was there when I needed him, to do the things that I couldn't.

With my dad, my husband and my son - I couldn't have asked for a better collection of men in my life.

So. Charlie went back to school today. He enjoyed being back with his friends, and had a good day. He took his homework book with him - his homework for the week was to write a diary of some of the things he did over half term. It was pretty heart-rending reading. Here's an abridged version:

'Thursday: My Grandpa went to Heaven. I was sad.
Monday: We took Nanny to the shops.
Wednesday: I went to the park.
Friday: I went to Grandpa's funeral. I wore a smart suit. I miss my Grandpa.'

This is a whole new experience for me... watching my little boy grieve for someone he loves. And it's very hard.
Many years ago, I lost someone very close to me, whom I loved very much. At the time, I couldn't really focus on anything apart from the awfulness of the situation I was going through, but now I can see how hard it must have been for Mum and Dad, who carried me through the whole traumatic time.
As a parent, you're used to being able to make things right - to kiss it better, or stick a plaster on it, or buy a replacement if something gets lost or broken.
It's so hard to come to terms with the fact that this time there's nothing you can do but hold your crying child, hug them tight and agree that cancer stinks, and that it's horrible that Grandpa isn't here with us any more.

I miss my dad so much.

I miss him ringing up and leaving messages on the answerphone saying: 'Don't bother ringing back Ali, I was just ringing for a chat,' - and then ringing him back anyway, because I wanted a chat too.
I miss him ringing me when he had problems with his computer.
I miss him calling emails and text messages 'telexes'.
I miss him saying he needed to find 'un morceau de papier' when he needed to write down a telephone message.
I miss him laughing so hard at funny home video shows that the sofa shook.
I miss watching him play so lovingly with Charlie. 'How's my Charlie Barley?' he'd ask when he rang.
I miss his hugs.
I miss having him there to ask things I don't know. He knew such a lot - from DIY, to geography, to Bible stories. It's so hard to accept that I can't access all that knowledge and wisdom any more.
I miss his jokes - yes, even the corny ones.
I miss the smell of his 'Old Spice' aftershave.
I miss the funny emails he'd forward on to me.
I miss him coming to visit and not being able to resist mowing our massively overgrown lawn.
I miss him always having his Swiss Army Knife in his pocket, and always being able to rely on him to open plastic blister packs.
I miss that he won't pass on any more computer magazines for Pete.
I miss seeing his shaky, squiggly handwriting.
I miss picking up the traditional bits and pieces that I've always bought him for Christmas.
I will really miss him at Charlie's birthday party next week - he'd always be armed with a bin bag, picking up all the rubbish after pass the parcel. (And he'd sing the harmonies at the end of 'Happy Birthday'.)
I miss knowing that he'll always be there for me when I need him, no matter what, where or when. I just miss him.

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