Tonight we went out for dinner. A table of three. The thing with that is, there’s always an extra chair. No problem to most families of three, no significance. To us it underlines the missing person, it attracts my gaze throughout the meal.
Beside us there was a happy family of four. Mum, dad and two little boys. They laughed and chatted with each other in that easy way that we used to do. I don’t resent them, I remember that feeling and I hope one day we will do that again but that also highlights the gaping chasm in our family.
The thing that’s getting me right now is how quickly it all changed for us. One day I was cuddling into a happy wee boy who was recovering from a cold and watching the Cbeebies Christmas Panto, the next we’re leaving hospital a diminished unit of three. It turned on a dime, without warning. I arrogantly made plans for the future and discussed summer holidays and Christmas arrangements without a thought that things would be so different for us.
I heard about this address that Joe Biden gave to the families of soldiers who’d been killed in action. This is a man who knows how quickly things can change. It’s not about war but about hope after grief. I pray that he’s right.