Or perhaps it’s Yew. Basically, DD can’t pronounce New. And you know, out of the mouths of babes and all that. I’m like a stuck record, or actually I aspire to be a stuck record, because as I’ve mentioned before, the rampant steamroll of time whilst you are in the midst of grief is one of the hardest crosses to bear. It feels like it picks you up and tips you forward, which on the one hand is useful. I have DD to think about. And yet I feel like flotsam desperately trying to cling onto the edge. To get back. Not to be purged further away from the event and the memories. Not to feel like at any moment I’m going to stop, turn round, and see it as a speck on the horizon. Unreachable and forgotten.
The thought of New feels like Old is bad. When for us, right now, Old us was a very real family of four. I look back a year, which is inevitable at this time, and I see us facing uncertainty and yet buoyed by hope. We had RD’s inimitable strength as a beacon, dialysis and transplant were stages which he had fought against previous timelines and prognosis set against him, so we could take on this new development. Ultimately what we should have known from experience was to expect the unexpected. But this time with a more negative bent. But RD was present and with us. Yes, we had had some shit times at the back end of last year, but physical living, screaming, pooping headcount was the same as we’d started with, and we clung to that. I doubt anyone ever thinks this about their offspring, but our kids ARE the best and we were happy with that.
In the same vein, you may also not have noticed how many famous people died in 2016. And you know, I’ve also been sad about some of those people too. But what I’ve come to realise that feeling sad about public figures dying and personal grief create two quite big tranches. Of course, the families of those figures will know this. So whilst we may hope that the passing of 2016 may be the turning of a leaf in a book, and a hopeful slowing down to such public loss en masse, for those who have experienced personal grief the turning of that page only adds to the hurt.
New doesn’t feel Happy. But You, or Us does feel better. Let me explain. By clinging to what we have, what we have endured and the memories tied into that is where I retreat. I look into the eyes of DD, listen to the wonder in her words and can’t believe how much love I feel (when the mouth isn’t screaming, or her perfect eyebrows aren’t arched into a ‘what the f**k’ expression that makes me prematurely grey). On Christmas Day, when being put to bed, she pulled her picture of us all close to the side of her bedside table. She started to cry.
“What’s wrong sweetheart? Are you sad about something?”
“Yes. Mummy, Santa doesn’t know RD is in the rainbow now. He didn’t take him his presents because he didn’t know!”
Tell me you didn’t just curl up a little bit inside? This newly bob-haired four year old, angelic in her fairy pyjamas, with this worry crinkled across her brow. I promised her we would write to him, to make sure he hadn’t forgotten, even though I was fairly sure the all seeing Father Christmas knew. I left her room, softly closed the door behind me and sobbed. Because she drives me crazy with her strong will and yet has such a sweet soul. Because as time passes will we forget to go to the rainbow?
We will inevitably all change, and let Newness in. DD continues to grow and change, I get ever rounder and feel this new life inside kick and turn. But they carry such a bittersweet movement. Because really, where I want to be right now, is back in time. To hear RD splash and giggle with his self operated footspa, to see him cause rampant destruction and sweep up behind him, to let him stick his fingers up my nose and in my mouth and pull fistfuls of my hair so that I’d kiss him again. To revel in him, and all that he taught us. But we have no flux capacitor, and at 88 mph our Skoda merely peaks out a bit.
For this year, let’s remember that auld acquaintance should never be forgot.