It’s been awhile since my last confession – I mean, post. Freudian slip there! Well, not really. I suppose these posts are like confessions. They’re certainly the truth, at least as I see/feel it at the time of writing. I haven’t posted on here in a while for a few reasons. Work has gotten in the way and Benjamin has finished school now, so my time is squeezed…but when I think about it, it’s not really a lack of time. My brain has been doing a lot of thinking. Ever since Luna’s due date anniversary and my dad’s death anniversary at the end of June, I’ve been sluggish. And this is what grief does to you. I feel like I’ve been slowly trying to boot up: ‘Essential updates are downloading. Please do not switch off or unplug your computer’.
Dad’s anniversary was on the 23rd June. It’s been 20 years since he died. I can’t really believe it’s been that long. That I have now lived an equal amount with him in my life alive and dead and now I’ll be notching up more time with him on the dead side. That’s sad…but it was already sad. We went and did something as a family, a picnic in the posh garden of a posh house, that isn’t normally open to the public. There were nice drinks and cake, garden games and music. Something I think my dad would have enjoyed. I never really used to mark either of my parent’s deaths and birthdays, post death. It’s not until Luna died that I’ve grasped the significance of doing this. I’m not sure if I was just in self preservation mode, trying to protect myself from feeling sad, maybe…probably. You must admit, initially, this isn’t a bad coping strategy…you know, the ‘Ostrich Method’. However, as the years pass the emptiness can build. Instead of avoiding feeling sad, there is more grief and loss felt. At least by marking the day, doing something enjoyable, taking pictures, making memories – there’s a purpose and a focus. I have found it cathartic to plan and do something in both my mum’s and my dad’s memories.
Luna’s due date anniversary was on the 25th June, she would have been two years old. We always go to Greenwich, well, when I say ‘always’, we’ve done it for the past three years in a row. We take the train to Waterloo and a river bus service to Greenwich pier. We see a planetarium show and have a picnic. I usually bake something, take bubbles, maybe a kite. Benjamin loves the planetarium, inevitably there is disappointment when the show is over, and ‘lets do it again!’ can be heard coming from the back row. Do we have another 17 plus years of visiting the planetarium and Greenwich Park? Will Benjamin still come with us? Admittedly, he was less than enthusiastic the entire day. He was tired and cranky, he just wanted to see ‘the show’, as he kept calling it, the rest of the stuff was just waiting around. This was frustrating, believe me! We’d taken him out of school in order to do this, the day had been built up for weeks, we were all looking forward to it…and then the winging started. Maybe this is just what happens on sibling’s birthdays, when the other isn’t the centre of attention? So, just a normal family outing then! Well, I can live with that.
I’ve realised having both anniversaries so close together has knocked me for six (I glossed over Father’s Day in this mix too…the Ostrich Method came in handy here!). The lead ups to these things are always stressful, the day is usually OK, but I must admit, I’m really feeling the aftermath. Just tired and muddled in the brain – the fog of grief has descended. Although it’s trickier when you’re years out from the initial grief, people don’t recognise it so much, cut you the slack you need…it’s hard enough for me to recognise I need to cut myself some slack, so I don’t really expect others to see it.
There’s much change in the air as well. I’m slowly beginning to look at whether we should open ourselves up to the possibility of another child. This is an enormous question, and so it’s no wonder I’m feeling veeerrrrryyyy sleepy! (Yawn, stretch…just have a little…zzzzzzz) I’m not going to go into too much detail about this here, only that I’ve surprised myself that I am even considering it. I’ll be talking about this more in the Autumn. I’ve been kindly asked to write a piece as a guest on another blog. Some of my writing energy has definitely been going into this and causing me to feel drowsy.
We’re also looking at moving, living by the sea. I really want to be closer to nature, away from crowds (living so close to London can fray the nerves a bit!). I want real wild nature. Windswept cliffs, rolling seas, billowing clouds, that sort of thing. It’s about being alive and feeling the pulse of life…Charlie and I are having a hard time agreeing what the right place looks like, but in the meantime, we’re enjoying exploring (sort of) – it’s the journey, as everyone annoyingly says.
As well as this, I’m beginning a new course in September. I’ve decided to start training as a therapist/counselor. This is a pretty big deal for me. When I ‘came out’ as wanting to pursue this, I found it really difficult to tell Charlie and my therapist. I mean hyperventilating difficult, and I burst into tears! It’s something that I think has been 20 years in the making (yes, do the math’s from above). I guess I now feel I may be able to actually have the capacity to listen to someone else’s pain and not try to fix it for them, essentially…see how tentative that sentence sounds?! Anyway, I’m excited about learning something new…and also petrified I’ll be complete rubbish at it.
There. That’s a fair amount rolling around in my head at the moment. All of it pretty big life decision/changing stuff and it’s tempered with grief fog. I suppose good that there’s stuff happening and I should have things to write about, bad because I can’t seem to grab one thread and stick with it! Sorry folks!
I’ll leave you with some pics from our day in the posh gardens and our day in Greenwich Park. You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, where I’m a little less scatty…when I find something pretty or poignant to photograph. Right, I’m off for a nap.
Posh Garden (and look at that house! Someone actually lives there!):