Posts tagged ‘death of a child’

I’VE LOOKED AT CLOUDS FROM BOTH SIDES NOW. 

In the last few weeks there has been the twentieth anniversary of the death of Princess Diana and the sixteenth anniversary of September 11. There were many television programs commemorating the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. I watched some of them. I heard her sons speak of the last conversation they had with their mother; a brief phone chat. Their regret that they had not spoken to their mother for longer. Those poor little boys. 

There were also lots of articles commemorating the anniversary of 9/11. Tales of ordinary extraordinary people. Stories of brave survival and honourable death. Poignant conversations. Answering machine messages. We don’t generally have the luxury of knowing in advance when ‘last’ times come. The luxury of savouring each millisecond and commiting each moment to memory. We usually only recognise them when they are past. The last time we hear someone’s voice or see them smile or hold them in our arms. 

In between the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death and September 11th this year Connie Johnson died. Boy, that chick knew how to live! And how to love! Connie was amazing. Her public memorial service was held in Melbourne today. If you are not familiar with Connie’s life and her work you can read up on her at loveyoursister.org  Please do! Or, you know, google. Look up Connie and what she was about. She left quite a legacy for everyone who loved her, especially her sons. But I bet they’d rather still have their Mum. 

Anniversaries, anniversaries, anniversaries. Whether it’s an hour or a day or twenty years they pack a punch. That’s loss I guess. That’s life. 

Even without working it out exactly I know that I have now lived longer without my Daughter Number One than I lived with her. I don’t need anniversaries to still feel the enormity of that loss. It is the way it is. This cartoon references mental illness but could just as easily relate to grief and loss for me. 

It’s not that I am unaffected now. Far from it. Just that it is what it is. I have lived longer without my Daughter than she lived her entire life. And however wrong that is, , however unbelievable, however fucking unfair, that’s the way it is. Knowing that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a night last week, as I turned the tv off and locked up the house, when I glanced at a photo of my Daughter and a sob burst from me with such force that it bent me double and I found myself on my knees, with tears streaming down my face saying over and over “Please come back! Please come back!”. But however much I plead and beg and cry she is never coming back. And the world keeps turning and the sun keeps rising. 

This year has been another one filled with loss, for me and people I hold dear. But not ours exclusively. Loss is the flip side of love. I try to focus, as best I can, on the love. It’s what there is left to hang on to. When all else is gone love is what remains. 

So I guess this is what I want to say today; love hard. Take the photo, make the phone call, send the message. Connect with the people you care about in any way available to to you! We have the technology! Get the most out of it! Send a video message or record a voice message. Do a video chat! Or go old school! Send a letter, write a card, post a care package. Let those you love know about it. You, your time and energy, are the most important gift you have to give. So invest in the people who matter to you, while you can. As much as you can for as long as you can. Savour it all. 

Safe onward travel x 

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BRIGHT EYES.

I love this blog. For over six years now I have come here to write out my heart and soul and pour myself into the Universe. I’m not always regular with my posts and there are varying reasons for that. Although I primarily write here for myself the fact that others read my words and are kind enough to say they find something of value here is a bonus really. I’d write anyway. It is how I process things and words are pleasurable to me. It’s not been an especially long gap since I last wrote but it’s worth mentioning  because there was half a thought in the back of my head that I’d not write again until I had something fun and happy and upbeat to write about because things have been a bit bleak. I don’t want all my posts to be sad.

The truth is though that I am sad. I’m very sad a lot of the time and I also feel stuck and powerless. Not a great combination, really. I’m not enjoying it much and I’m in the frame of mind where I feel like a liability to those around me, like I am inflicting myself on others, so am loath to do it. But I realised something yesterday, that I was discounting two things I know to be true. The first thing is one I know about myself and that is that I make the best I can of what I have. Secondly, that once you put forth your energy into the Universe it has a life of it’s own. People will make of it what they will and although you can try to guide it’s path the truth is that you cannot control how it will be received by the big wide world. A bit like giving birth to a child really.

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Two very significant things have happened in the time since we last connected and they are what bring me to you today. They were very different events but they resonated with the same message for me. My connections with others, the love of varying flavours, that is what it is all about for me. My facebook friends list is an interesting blend of my before and after lives; Daughter Number One’s friends, all grown up now, friends from my own school days, parents of my children’s friends. Friends from my life on the other side of the country. My former psychologist, colleagues from my previous life, other mothers of murdered children, the police officer who worked my daughter’s case. Old friends, new friends, dear friends, true friends. All these people who were strangers once.

During the worst time of my life I met the detective who was investigating my Daughter’s death. The day after she died and several times after that he was the one who interviewed me, at my home and at his station. He attended my Daughter’s funeral. He took me to the crash site and the police car lot to see what there was left to see and answered my questions.He was at the inquest, not just in his official capacity but he was really there for me during that whole process, walking me through. His wife was pregnant with their first child when my Daughter died and their daughter was born the same year. I so appreciated the work, the really above and beyond efforts, of this man that I nominated him for ‘Police Officer of the year’ and do you know? He actually won! And he generously shared with me the pleasure he had in telling his family of his award and how he looked forward to telling his own daughter about it in the future. He protested that he only did his job, only did what many, many others would do, did do, every day. In the dense blackness following my Daughter’s death this guy was a beacon. We emailed. He and his wife had a son. I had a second Daughter. Life moved on.

Nearly two years ago I found him on Facebook. He isn’t in the police force any more and I felt so glad to find that out. As good as he was at his job I can only imagine the toll that work takes on you, day after day, when you do it properly. So, I was glad for him, and for his family. I’ve seen the family photo’s his wife tags him in – beautiful, accomplished children, extended family celebrations, holidays – and all of them, without fail, bring me joy. Because even if the only work he ever did was with me and on behalf of my Daughter, all the respect and compassion and humanity he showed, then he deserves all the happiness in the world, every single day for the rest of eternity. Of course that wasn’t all he ever did and life doesn’t work like that.

So it happened that almost two weeks ago now I read a post this former police officer wrote in tribute after the death of his ten year old nephew, to his nephew and his family and about the decision to donate his organs, made during DonateLife Week. Despite the fact I avoid mainstream news I happened upon more information in the days that followed; this posting was on a website I follow and it summed up my own feelings and intense grief. I now know so much more about this family and yet, really, know nothing. But I will never forget this boy’s smile or his name. Sweet dreams Banjo, live on in happiness.

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At the opposite end of the spectrum came the other event that rocked my world and went partway to re-establishing my equilibrium (Oh, let’s not get too excited! There’s still a way to go!). Last Friday made five years since a chance encounter and a simple question combined to change the course of my life and brought me into contact with someone whose significance and value to me only increases with the passage of time. So much has passed between us and so far we have travelled together, not all of it easy, not all of it fun but he is someone who can always reach me no matter how detached I become from everything else. In that way he keeps me tethered to the present. He was the safe place I ran to when Daughter Number One’s father killed himself and even during hard times between us I have never lost sight of the fact he is a gift to me.

And this is it you see, a word we write, a question we ask, everything we do in our lives has the potential to impact on others. Lives changed. Events of various significance but all attesting to the fact it is a short life and a small world and no man is an island. We are all connected to each other. It is not just the one police officer I remember. It is also the guy at my local station who kept answer my calls on the very long night my Daughter didn’t come home. The same officer I spoke to much later who told me how it felt to speak to me the during the final call, when he knew that she was almost definitely dead, but when I didn’t know. Not then. Not yet. I also remember the newly minted officer who wrote about the intense smell of the crash site but who kept doing his job anyway. Whether it is quite literally by donating organs or by the love, kindness, respect and compassion we share we leave pieces of ourselves with the people whose lives we touch. Those are the things that burn brightly, long after we are gone. I try to go gently, with myself, with others. It is my very real experience that, truly, everyone is fighting a battle you can know nothing about.

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NO MAN IS AN ISLAND.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

Make the best you can of what you have. Travel safe my friends x 

GONE, GONE, GONE.

Each morning, out of habit I turn on my computer. It means I can see the time and as the day gets going and the morning routine begins I play music on youtube. I open all my regular sites – I usually have at least five open at once – and it stays on most of the day, even if I am not sitting in front of it. Some things I absorb without being really aware of it; things on my home page, stuff I scroll past on my newsfeed. This morning however I was stopped in my tracks. A page I have ‘liked’ on facebook, which is for a website that I enjoy called ‘Mamamia’ had shared a story about a mother whose child had transitioned from female to male. 

Regular readers will be aware that I am extremely open and accepting of diversity. I celebrate all colours of the rainbow! In a little while I will be going to the wedding of one of my dearest, oldest friends and my friend and her wife to be have asked me to do a reading as they formalise their commitment in celebration of their happy home, gorgeous family and ten year partnership. So, any article about a mother’s acceptance of her transgender son would only be a good thing in my book, ordinarily. Except, and it’s quite a big ‘but’ really (I like big butts and I can not lie!) the story made statements about her female child having died and been reborn again as a male. Ok, metaphorically I get it. I do not think that situation would not be without it’s own grief and losses. But she lost me when she said things like “My daughter Grace passed away in September 2010. There wasn’t an obituary. There wasn’t a funeral. There wasn’t a casket or even a body to put in it. No one sent me sympathy cards. No one brought me casseroles.”

She then, two sentences later, stated the obvious “It was because my child was still alive.” Well, yes. I had lots of food delivered to me. Mostly lasagne. I had a body that was the charred physical remains of my beautiful, intelligent, loving, talented child. I got to plan her funeral not long past her fourteenth birthday. Lucky fucking me, hey?

As the writer went on and outlined her road to acceptance she waxed lyrical about special events that had caused her to shed ‘happy tears’. Um, yes, that would be because her child was still ALIVE. Able to grow and change and develop. To live and love and learn and as his mother she had the privilege of being able to watch that and support him and nurture her child. To some extent, at some stage in our children’s lives we all have to let go of the child we dreamt of and imagined and accept them for the people the actually ARE. This woman’s experience was probably more than most of us would expect but how dare she, HOW DARE SHE compare her child’s transition to losing a child to death. There were NO happy tears shed after my daughter died. Because my Daughter actually DIED. Wasn’t alive any more. I can no longer watch her grow, hear her laugh, hold her in my arms. Never again. Ever. Not in this lifetime. That kind of dead.

The article was originally published here on the Huffington Post site. and then republished here on Mamamia. If you have any thoughts please feel free to go there and share them. Comments here welcome also!

I cannot even explain the white hot anger I felt at the words so thoughtlessly used. I know that unless you have outlived your child you cannot imagine it. I am GLAD for you that you can’t. But in this situation there was no comparison and you’ll be lucky if you get to take my word for that.

Safe onward travel x

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YOU WERE ALWAYS ON MY MIND

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I had the usual ‘countdown’ from Son Number One’s birthday nine days beforehand to the anniversary of Daughter Number One’s death yesterday. Really it starts around her birthday in February but kicks in in earnest from Son Number One’s birthday. There’s been the nightmares, with various themes revolving around loss and fear (read terror). I wake from these dreams exhausted and literally sore from holding tension in my body and thrashing in my sleep. Sometimes this translates into actual injuries but aside from a painful wrist and knee I’m not doing too badly. I haven’t clawed at my face, so that’s nice. I’ve been more easily startled than usual, and with the whole hyper vigilance thingy I startle easily anyway so having that rev up a notch has been interesting. We were driving home on dusk the other night and two cars turned near us and that was enough to make me jump out of my skin. Twice. 

Today I woke up with chest pain which went away during the day but is back in force as I write this evening. The eczema on my hand has flared up. Headaches are how I usually manifest stress so it’s business as usual there. There’s some dizziness and disorientation. I am more clumsy and absent minded. My body feels heavy and apart from the soreness on waking there is a pervasive ache throughout, as if I am physically bruised all over. Everything feels too hard. I was more than usual antsy yesterday and couldn’t put my finger on it until I realised that this anniversary fell on the same weekday as the day Daughter Number One died, which added another dimension and made it harder to get lost in the present day. In the preceding days my head plays on a loop her final ones. I distract myself as best I can. On the actual anniversary it jumps to hours and minutes. ‘At this time you were sleeping in because you didn’t know it was your Daughter’s last day on Earth’,’At this time she was walking out the door and that was the last time you ever saw her’ (and I can see her still, see what she was wearing, see her leave but I can’t go back and I know, oh god, that she is gone now, that I have lost her, even though she hasn’t taken her last breath yet),’At this time you were going out of your mind because you didn’t know where Daughter Number One was and you didn’t yet understand she was never coming back’. Thankfully, last night, by the time ‘At this time the police car pulled up out the front and the police chaplain got out’ came around I was in bed with The Love of My Life’s arms wrapped around me, asleep.

I don’t pretend for a second that I am easy to be around sometimes, for any number of reasons, so I am extremely grateful to those that love me enough to stick by me. Special mention as always goes to my knights, those loyal friends who walk with me. Ones I’ve had since before my Daughter’s death, and those I’ve made since. Those of you who drop in to read my words. The person closest to me though gets to witness my grief on a much more intense level. The Love of My Life can’t scroll past my words on facebook or not read my latest blog post or pretend not to notice when he’s not in the mood, because I’m living this life right here next to him. When I exclaim aloud in the car and clutch the dashboard because something (nothing) has made me jump, it is him I distract from driving. He sees my tears and feels them wet against his chest. He asks me questions and listens to me speak Her name.

Throughout the last week The Love of My Life has been able to hold me, gently cupped in his hands, while my wings beat frantically against his palms in my fear, pain and confusion. He has neither crushed me nor let me fall. And when I’ve steadied myself it will be his hand supporting me that lifts me up to fly again.

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BABY COME BACK, ANY KIND OF FOOL COULD SEE THERE WAS SOMETHING IN EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU.

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Whatever gets you through the night – Part One.

I think I’ve used this song title as a post title before but it’s appropriate and I cannot be fucked to check, so that’s that then. It will be in two parts, so hold on to your seat – we’re in for a wild ride. There will be strong emotion and strong language – you’ve been warned.

Lori, over at RRSAHM, wrote a post recently about grieving publicly. She ended with the words “There’s just that deep, black grief… and getting through it. Any damn way you can.” As regular readers know three days ago it was the ninth anniversary of my Daughter Number One’s repeated rape and murder. Just because that day CLEARLY wasn’t hard enough I received the following email (all spelling and grammatical errors as per original):

Dear Kate,

My heart goes out to you today, it has gone out to you every day since I was told what you’ve been through… a day you will no doubt be reliving minute by minute, hour by hour in it’s ugly entirety to mark a time no-one will ever be able to comprehend what it has been like to walk the marathon in your shoes.

By default we know each other… albeit from a distance, which may in fact never change after this message, … if it doesn’t, I will understand.

I don’t claim to be psychic, nor advertise openly what some people may interpret as a ‘gift’.  That it is not!  XXXX only as of only a few minutes ago is aware of it, and I am prepared for what potentially may happen to our friendship as a result.  I am hoping she’s known me long enough to realise I’m not a freak (it’s ok because I sometimes think I am)…perhaps a little wierd, but not totally psycho (but hey there’s always potential ;)).  It is however, a casualty that will be out of my hands, one I am prepared for as I have done with my marriage and other special relationships with people in the past I have lost, so I can remain true to myself.  I have only said this so you can hopefully understand that I don’t take lightly intruding into your grieving space, without what I believe to be good reason.  Well honey, Sam sure as shit isn’t giving me much of an option, and I’m sorry but I’m not having her piggy backing my ass until I eventually admit defeat and do it anyway.

My so-called ‘gift’ is being an occasional ‘portal’ … a messenger girl if you like.  It is very rare that I am seconded…usually only in extreme cases, which I’m not even aware of until the time.  And for Sam it is now.  I had no idea until this-morning…and she has been up my ass (figuratively speaking) the past four hours and is not giving in until you hear her out… Man she is one persistent woman!

She will only come through the once, that is their promise to me and my rules, so I am not an ongoing portal…that is something you have to refine and tap into over time… so go and make yourself a cuppa, grab some tissues coz we’re going to have a chat.

Ok, before she starts she wants you to raise your right hand, ..

Now give yourself a bitchslap mum! And another one for good measure…and then a hug….

I love you mum, I don’t think I ever really showed you how much…to me you were and still are and always will be so beautiful…no-one or nothing can ever take that away mum, not ever.   I have hovered around watching you rot for so many years, I hear your thoughts, I watch you cry and feel your pain and relive what happened day in day out with you…

But enough is enough because I’m not completely the fuck (sorry) dead (she’s pissed off) yoo-hoo I am still here..  I may not be there in person buy hey, look at it as a daughter with benefits… you don’t have to wash or cook or clean up after me.  I know it’s not the same and yeah I’d rather be there to, but that sure ain’t going to happen, so just work with me a bit.

What’s done is done and I’m ok really, it’s kinda groovy over here anyway so will you quit reliving this shit, it’s getting boring and so yesterday.  You don’t even know it but what happened to me happened for a reason, and as my legacy we are both now working as a team so other people can get help.. It is through my story…our story mum, that they are doing that.  I know you can’t see me, and your pain and guilt numbs you from being able to feel or hear me, but I am here.  Talk to me sometimes, come for a walk or write me a letter… hell take me for a burger, and you will feel me come through (yeah journal idea was mine so don’t blame XXXX or XXX).  I’ll play a song on the radio sometimes and you’ll know it’s me, just listen…listen with your mind’s eye… and smile, please smile, I loved your smile.  Ok that’s all…oh one other thing I love you lots and lots and to the stars and back and around the moon… Big hugs mumma… I’ll be here and dry your tears, I’m not going anywhere.

xoxoxoxox

I don’t know what to say now Kate… it is what it is and up to you if you choose to take it on board or not.

I hope you’re ok and we do get to meet one day, which if it is meant to happen, will, in it’s own time and space.

Whatever will be will be.

Take special care.

Ok then. Just to get you guys up to speed you should know that I HAVE NEVER MET this person. They are a friend of a very recent friend. To say that receiving such an email, particularly on that day, was distressing in the extreme would be an understatement of mammoth proportions. The sheer audacity that this stranger had in offering her unsolicited fantasy is breath-taking. I am not discounting that there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio. I am open-minded about most things. But today I am not. Today I AM ANGRY.

Let’s break it down blow-by-blow, shall we? Because that’s what it felt like, the first time I read it; physical blows to my body that left me violently shaking and nauseous and crying, not to mention the instant upgrade to pounding headache that came with it. I already had the usual bonus physical symptoms anyway. The all over soreness and stiffness from holding tension in my body, even as I slept; the shaking and the headache were constant too, but now increased exponentially. The roaring of a deluge of flashbacks filled my head; “They are both gone.” “You won’t need to identify the body, but we are sure it’s her. Can you tell us where her dental records are held?” “Were you thinking cremation or burial?” and on and on and on and on. And I forwarded the email to The Man I Am In Love With (hereafter referred to as The Incredible Hunk) and ran from the room. The Incredible Hunk’s Daughter had a pupil free day so was at home with us and I didn’t want to collapse in front of her.

When I had calmed myself enough to read it again incredulity slammed me.  What this COMPLETE STRANGER had felt compelled to share with me, on the ninth anniversary of my Daughter’s death was that the first thing my Daughter wanted to give me, after nine long years, was a “bitchslap mum! And another one for good measure”. Righto. That’s worth repeating really, just so we can all get our head’s around it. The first thing my beautiful, kind, thoughtful, caring, loving, gentle Daughter, who left my life nine years ago and now has the opportunity to finally make contact with me, wants, is to get me to give myself a “bitchslap mum! And another one for good measure”. Well, guys, I’ve got to tell you, that WAS worth waiting for!

This COMPLETE STRANGER feels the need to share with me that my Daughter doesn’t think she ever really showed me how much she loved me. My Daughter showed me she loved me EVERY day, in so many different ways. My Daughter, who literally gave her life to protect those she loved. Hell of a way to prove a point but I’m certain that where ever she is, my Daughter is not worrying that I didn’t know how much she loved me.

“I have hovered around watching you rot for so many years” – Ok, well, thanks for that. Actually, I have not been rotting, just grieving an incredible loss. And my Daughter was one of the least judgemental people you could ever hope to meet.  After all these years of living with my loss I don’t use or abuse drugs – except those prescribed which I take as prescribed, I don’t abuse alcohol, I might have one drink a year, if that (Shut up Richard!), I don’t even smoke. I see my mental health professionals. I am the best mother I can be, whether close by or from a distance. I am truly doing the very best I can, and for the first time in my life I am prioritizing my own needs as being as important as others. I have kept trying, kept fighting the good fight. It would have been so easy to just give up. I wouldn’t have chosen to rot, I would have just opted out. Where ever my Daughter is, she is not judging me, she knows I am doing and have done the best that I can. I have never thought that my Daughter would not forgive me, it has always been that I cannot forgive myself. Any judgements the author of the email has made about me which caused her to use the phrase ‘watching you rot’, and then attribute that statement to my Daughter, are nothing compared to the judgements I make about myself. The email writer is entitled to her opinion, although what she is basing it on remains a mystery. She is NOT entitled to pass off her opinion as a message from my Daughter.

“look at it as a daughter with benefits… you don’t have to wash or cook or clean up after me.  I know it’s not the same and yeah I’d rather be there to, but that sure ain’t going to happen, so just work with me a bit” – Gosh, silly me! All these years I’ve been thinking about my Daughter’s death in such negative terms. I really should thank the author for showing me the silver lining, glaringly obvious to me now really. “A Daughter with benefits” – the benefit, of course, being that she’s DEAD. That she died a brutal, violent death after hours of sexual assault and psychological torture. And the glass half full thing is that I don’t have to wash or cook or clean up after her, or any of the other things that MOTHERS do for their CHILDREN. Imagine the financial benefits! The money I’ve saved on university fees and wedding day expenses. Not having to buy birthday presents for the pesky grandchildren she may have one day given me. I did have to shell out for a coffin and a funeral, and plan the whole thing, but instead of my despair that these were among the last things I would ever be able to do for her I should have been jumping for joy that I’d been let off so lightly. Instead of the wake I couldn’t bear to have I should have planned a party. It’s amazing this has never occured to me before.

“It is through my story…our story mum” – My Daughter’s story? My story? Really? If that’s the case then WHY would this person, clearly with their own agenda, force their way into a particularly difficult day with seemingly no regard for anyone except themself? The entire email was so incredibly full of their sense of self-importance. “I don’t take lightly intruding into your grieving space, without what I believe to be good reason” –  Who are YOU to decide what is a good reason for intruding into MY grief? You don’t know me. You didn’t know my daughter. I COULDN’T GIVE A FUCK WHAT YOU BELIEVE. What I do care about is the fact you wanted the anniversary of my Daughter’s death to be all about you. That just like the ballet school she hadn’t attended for seven years that released a photo of her to the newspapers and got free publicity, or the ‘journalists’ (I use the term lightly) that doorstopped me for interviews and fed me bollocks such as “We just want to tell the world what a wonderful girl your Daughter was” you took my Daughter’s memory and my tragedy and prostituted them for your own twisted reasons. As if my Daughter and I, my other children, my family and all the others who know and love us haven’t been violated enough, you felt entitled enough to violate us all over again.  

“XXXX only as of only a few minutes ago is aware of it, and I am prepared for what potentially may happen to our friendship as a result.  I am hoping she’s known me long enough to realise I’m not a freak (it’s ok because I sometimes think I am)…perhaps a little wierd, but not totally psycho (but hey there’s always potential ;)).  It is however, a casualty that will be out of my hands, one I am prepared for as I have done with my marriage and other special relationships with people in the past I have lost, so I can remain true to myself.” – I can’t tell you how pleased I am for the email writer that they prepared themselves for any consequences TO THEMSELVES. Because they clearly had scant regard for any consequences their actions may cause me.

The Incredible Hunk responded to the writer by email. I won’t bore you with the transcripts but while repeatedly and creepily calling me a ‘beautiful person’ (HOW WOULD THEY KNOW?) they also suggested that The Incredible Hunk was not concerned with my best interests and reminded him that it was between my Daughter and I, not the writer, or The Incredible Hunk or anyone else – IRONY MUCH? Actually, that is not correct. While completely true that it has nothing to do with the email writer at all, it actually does have something to do with The Incredible Hunk because he is my partner. He is there for me. He stands by my side and travels with me along a not so easy road. He absolutely has a vested interest.

So, over to you, dear readers. I’d love to hear what you think. And tune in for Part Two tomorrow, which will be on a much more positive note. I’ll catch you then!

Any Way the Wind Blows….

I love it when a plan comes together. My respite care for Son Number One and Son Number Two in a few weeks is locked in, and Baby Daddy has manned up and said he’ll take care of Daughter Number Two for the same period. This is good. My end of May trip coincides with the 8th anniversary of Daughter Number One’s death. This year I’ve decided it’s time to scatter the rest of her ashes.

After she died, as with everything else I was left with, I realised there was no rule book to follow.  I’ve always been pro cremation, and knew that to be the case for Daughter Number One as well. It wasn’t like there was actually a decision to make in that regard. Being entombed in a vehicle that hurtled into a stone cliff face and burst into flames meant that the crematorium was only really finishing the job anyway. There was no donating of organs at her request, no lovingly choosing a burial outfit, no open casket to view. But what to do with what was left? Everyone has their own way of grieving and for Daughter Number One’s friends in particular I thought it would be good for them to have somewhere to go to remember her, if that’s what they needed.  The memorial park where a dear friend’s remains rest is beautiful. It is peaceful there. I knew Daughter Number One had felt the same, we’d been there regularly to pay our respects to my friend. I never believed that any real aspect of my friend actually rested there, aside from what remained of his physical self, which in no way was the essence of him. It just gave me a focal point for my grieving I suppose. So, that’s where I left half of Daughter Number One’s ashes.

Half I took with me, knowing that I would be leaving the area. For six years since that move the ashes have sat in my wardrobe. Unscattered but unforgotten. I think that is telling in itself, that in all the years I’ve lived here I’ve  not scattered them yet. So in May I’m taking them with me, to a place that holds no history for me. A place that is the closest I’ve come to finding peace yet.  And I’ll let them go, and step into my future.

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