“My son died”
“RD passed away”
And many more similes alongside it. I’m not sure when it happened but at some point my brain cut the link between the words I say and the feeling you would expect them to invoke. An ever so silent Snip Snip.
Now they tumble from me, well trained. I see where they land, piercing the conversation. Sometimes I turn my eyes away from the shock and pain they inflict on others. The minute flickers across the eyes, forehead and mouth as they wonder how to respond. Possibly the eyes turning glassy with tears yet to be spent.
Self preservation took a large pair of scissors and cut the golden threads attaching these words to my heart. Occasionally I feel them prickle as the try to reconnect, only to be stopped short. Not now, not now.
Now is when I’m least expecting it. I can be sat in silence, or in the middle of a conversation. Seated or moving. There isn’t a rhyme or reason and suddenly it’s there. The big, bold fact that actually, my son died. It’s heavy and cumbersome, it can’t be blinked away.
Fact carries some forever truths: he will always be dead. That sounds ridiculous, because of course I know that. Somewhere though, my brain wants to cling to the hope that I will hold him again, see him again. That I won’t just have old photos, memories of a different time and place.
As the two year anniversary looms, I see my current self managing much better on the outside. I feel myself managing a little better on the inside. I seem to question the joy that my current life holds less, control the edges of guilt about that. For if this is a lifetime of living with loss, I don’t want to have wasted any vestiges of joy when they’re there. My two living children in no way replace the space where RD should exist, but they do fill the physical hours of the day with the standard happiness and frustration.
I feel the bouts of sadness and grief as they wash in like the tide in these preceding months, as the long, warm days start to close in, incrementally darker and cooler. With it I sense my anxiety rise up to meet them, a double sense of crazy if you will.
In the middle I acknowledge their weight, and sometimes succumb to them. Try to get to understand them a little more, to embolden me to shout them down. Actually no, I imagine me holding and placating the grief. Feeling my way through my memories of RD in the process, enjoying the pleasure and pain of remembering him and missing him. Find calm by giving it space. With the anxiety- and it will attack whatever it feels like; work, my sense of self, my abilities as a mother, travel- I look at it straight on, and I’m starting to be able to minimise its power.
I often wonder, whilst passing through crowds at train stations and airports, now I’m back at work and have become part of that crowd again, who else in it is battling invisible inner battles of will. Words spent with absolutely no feeling.
They’re not lies, but I can’t say they’re truths.