Friday, November 20, 2009

November 20, 2009

Well, we've had a nice couple of days. As I mentioned in my last post, Mum came to stay for a couple of nights, and we had a really good time.
We really enjoyed having her stay with us - she doesn't feel like a 'visitor' - our normal life just carried on with her in it. (And she did my ironing for me, which was definitely an added bonus!)
Charlie was in seventh heaven, with Nanny here all the time, and Mum and I sorted out some more financial stuff, plus managed to cram in some much-needed retail therapy!
We were able to pick up a few of the bits and bobs that Mum has wanted/needed for the house, but which obviously haven't been top priority over the past few months. It was nice for both of us to feel like we were achieving something, and actually getting somewhere.
Although the hurt of missing Dad doesn't go away, the ache ebbs and flows.
Sometimes something will make us cry, whereas other times the very same thing will make us smile. We're grabbing onto those good moments, and just gritting our teeth through the bad ones.
Dad was one of the most stoical and practical people I've ever met. I remember him saying to me, when I was struggling through a pretty catastrophic loss in my life, that although we may never fully 'get over' something, we can and we will 'get through' it.
I was chatting with one of my oldest and dearest friends the other day. We've known each other since we were ten, and I love her to bits. She remembers Dad so well, and we were talking about our memories of him, and I was telling her how I'm feeling about everything.
She really made me smile when she said 'Ali, you make me sick - you are just so emotionally healthy! You've had so much horrible stuff over the years, but you just get on with it.'
I must say, I really don't know about 'emotionally healthy' - I don't even want to contemplate how much comfort eating I've done over the past few months - but I reckon I've inherited a few of my dad's genes. I think it's more a case of sheer pig-headedness and a stubborn refusal to be beaten by circumstances - however rubbish they might be.
One of Mum's favourite sayings is 'This too, shall pass' - and it's right.
I guess that's one of the silver linings of having been through difficult times and traumatic losses before, that I can know for sure that it WILL pass.
At the beginning, it feels like you're drowning. The pain and hurt is all-encompassing.
But as the days and weeks go by, and you start to forge your way forward into your 'new normal', the grief and loss are still there, just as big and horrible as they always were, but more of life comes in around the edges to dilute them.
I've always thought that life is a bit like a glass of clean water. (Do I sound like Forrest Gump?!)
When something traumatic happens, it's as though someone has thrown a spoonful of mud into the glass and stirred it all up. Everything is black and dirty and you can't see any way out of it.
But as time goes by, the mud settles to the bottom of the glass - leaving the water clear and clean above it.
The mud's still there - there's no way you can get rid of it, unless you tip out the whole glass - but it lies quietly at the bottom of the glass.
Every now and then, something - a song, an unexpected photograph, a smell - causes the mud to be stirred up again, and everything is as murky and awful as it was on day one.
But this time, you know from experience that if you just stand still, rather than running around in a panic, the mud will quickly settle back to the bottom of the glass, and you can carry on. You learn ways to carry the glass carefully without swirling the water, so the murky days happen less and less often.
Things are never the same. YOU are never the same. But the awful blackness and pain does get easier to deal with.
Hmmm. I don't quite know where that came from - it certainly wasn't the post I meant to write when I started. But never mind.
We're off to visit Pete's aunt and uncle this weekend, which will be lovely - Charlie's a big fan of Aunty Margaret and Uncle Eddy!
We had intended to see them last month for Pete's cousin's birthday - we'd booked a hotel and were all set to go right until the last minute.
But they live three-and-a-half hours away from us, and when it came to it, I just couldn't go. Dad was so very poorly by then, and I felt like I couldn't be so far away from him and mum. As it turned out, my gut instinct was right, because Dad died the following Thursday, and if we'd gone away, Charlie would have missed out on what turned out to be his final visit - and cuddle - with Grandpa on the Sunday.
But we were very disappointed not to have seen Margaret and Eddy, so we decided to head over to see them this weekend instead. We're looking forward to catching up on all their news!
Anyway, I'd better fly - the house won't tidy itself, and I need to get our bag packed for the weekend.

1 comment:

The Cryer Family said...

Lovely post Ali.
Your Mum is very welcome to come and iron - oops I mean stay here too! xx