I know that this is not in the spirit of my advent post but I need to get it off my chest.
I, like everyone else am appalled, shocked and totally devastated by the mindless shooting in America yesterday. I can totally imagine how those parents feel and I know what lies ahead. What I also know from bitter experience is that the last thing a bereaved parent needs to hear is that you’ll “hug your kids tighter” after hearing of their loss. Wtf?? In what way would that offer comfort to someone? Unless you were previously mistreating your kids or subjecting them to a life of servitude, it is of no consequence to me whether you will cuddle your kids more for ten minutes then carry on with your day. I’m so shocked that the president of the country was so ill advised as to say this was a fitting way to remember these poor children, I’d have thought a ban on deadly weapons was a much more appropriate gesture.
If you are not a bereaved parent you’ll likely not know that this is one of the most bandied about platitudes going in these situations and it is also the most insensitive and crass comments that shows absolutely no compassion or empathy whatsoever. Please, please avoid it and if possible, could you spread the word?
Sorry for the rant, normal service will be resumed tomorrow.
Every single bereaved parent I’ve met either online or in rl dreads Christmas without their child. It doesn’t matter which time of year they died, Christmas is just not the same with someone so important missing. Yet in time they are expected to start to send cards, go to the staff night out and generally take part in all the festivities as they did before.
Because Jude died at Christmas I expect people will excuse us from those obligations for many years if not forever. I could probably force myself to write cards without his name and drag myself in and out of shops to the tune of “it’ll be lonely this Christmas.” I could just about wear a silly hat and eat overpriced turkey with workmates or sit through carols in the high street. But I’m not going to. I’m not putting any pressure on myself and I’m thankful that I have supportive friends and family who don’t put pressure on me either.
So it’s on its way and there’s really no avoiding it.
There’s already a tree.
There are stockings and presents
There will be turkey, roast parsnips, Christmas pudding and wine
On the outside it will look like a very happy Christmas.
It has to.
No matter how difficult it is to pull it off, it can’t be as bad as last year.
Last January was the worst time of my life. I felt as though I was adrift and I couldn’t anchor myself to anything at all. Even the most familiar things looked out of place, like a Salvador Dali painting.
I’ve already mentioned that we walked 500 miles in the first two weeks of January, well on one of those walks I took a picture of a view I saw every day on my way to work. It’s one of my most familiar sights but in that moment it could’ve been in another country entirely.
I look at it now and it comforts me and scares me in equal measure. I’m comforted because now it’s a view that’s back in context but it terrifies me because I can so clearly recall how out of place I felt when I took the photo.
I love that I live here, it’s such a busy city and there’s always something going on and I’m also glad that we didn’t follow our first instinct, to run away And find somewhere new to live. This city is where all my memories of my boy are.
I follow a lot of blogs these days. Most of them are by parents who have lost a child. There are lots of reasons that I read them but mainly it’s to measure my progress along this journey. The root cause of my pain can’t be resolved but I decided early on that I had to survive this process so I follow the blogs of people who are living their lives and surviving, I really do think there’s an element of choice in that.
One of the blogs I read is written by a lovely lady in America who lost her eldest daughter in a tragic accident. Early on in her journey she started to record the milestones and sparklies in her days. It’s such a powerful thing to recognise your little victories and achievements whilst you’re in the middle of unimaginable emotional pain. This blog has inspired me to recognise some of the things I’ve done this year that in January I never thought possible.
Doing the school run alone
Going on holiday without Jude
Going to Alton Towers
Laughing (and meaning it)
Surviving his birthday
Going back to Aviemore
Sitting in the park listening to tales of primary one children
I don’t expect I’ll ever have that sense of real contentment again but under the circumstances I’d say I’m doing quite well. That’s a huge thing to be thankful for.
Just that. Lunch with my lovely mum.
She misses our lovely boy so much and it’s nice to chat with her about him.
She also loves my girls and she can’t enough of Marley’s cuddles.
I like to think that I always enjoyed the simple things. I remember the sense of contentment I had when Isla was a baby and she was fed, changed and happy. The feeling was multiplied with Jude. My family was complete and I knew I was living in my halcyon years. I knew I’d look back and recognise those years as the best in my life, I could never have known how bittersweet those memories would be.
Today and every day I try to stop and appreciate the little things. They are the things you can count on and they far outweigh the stupid material distractions I can sometimes get caught up with. Today I loved listening to my chattering wee baby and being so happy in that moment.
Today I’m thankful for all those people who “get it”
I know that there are some bereaved parents who experience less than supportive comments and behaviour, I’m grateful that I have some great people in my life.
I am particularly thankful for the Christmas cards we have that have been addressed to us all or have mentioned Jude in some way. All we have left is his memory and its so important to us that he’s not forgotten
This tree ornament was sent to me by a very good friend. A friend that I’ve never met but that knows exactly how I feel. She sent it along with a lovely card in which she wrote about the power of seeing all your children’s names written down together. I love, love, love it.
I’d rather that I wasn’t in this position and that I didn’t know any of these fine people, but I am so I guess if I need to be in hell then I can at least keep good company whilst I’m there.
The most important meal of the day.
Today I’m thankful for my regular Friday morning breakfast with the girls in our favourite local restaurant. I look forward to it all week.