When the very worst thing happens you realise things like that really do happen. They can happen to people like you. Which alone is enough to make you lose friends. As if your loss, your grief, your trauma is somehow contagious. When really is just a confronting reality that they’d rather not face.
I am lucky, so lucky to have had good friends who have been willing to walk with me. Ones from before, whose step never faltered and ones I’ve met since on this road less travelled. During the twelve months after Daughter Number One died we took a holiday with a few of our nearest and dearest friends; some of mine, some of my daughter’s. we stayed at a resort and relaxed with people we loved, who loved us in return. Priceless.
We were staying on a bit longer than our friends, who had to get home for the start of the school term. We went to the airport to see them off. As we watched their plane fly away Son Number Two, then five, had tears streaming down his face. There was nothing I could say to comfort him. Nothing he would believe, like, ‘we’ll see them again soon’. Because his sister went out to the movies one day and never came back.
I know there are no guarantees. There are probabilities that make things unlikely but when the unbelievable has happened to you already you know it can happen again. Each time someone I love is late home, each time someone doesn’t answer their mobile, intellectually I know that the odds are they are probably fine. Emotionally though the imprints of the longest night are there at my very core and I have to consciously hold on to try to avoid a full blown panic attack. I can’t control the raised heart rate, the rapid breathing, the trembling. I can dull it down a bit but it is still there. It is a reflex.
It’s not all bad news though. I don’t take things for granted. Ever. I never assume I will have tomorrow to put things right. I don’t leave things unsaid. I love with my whole heart and try to make the most of every moment. I do the best I can because life is short.
Safe onward travel x