This grief business has no rulebook and I for one have no idea how any of us are going to feel from one day to the next.
That’s not to say my children and I live some kind of unstable, vitriolic bubble which could explode at any time. Far from it, I think as family lives go ours is actually pretty normal, it’s definitely stable and we do all get on and manage to live together in as much harmony as any young family can!
Above all, there’s more than enough love between us and quite a lot extra which often has nowhere to go. That’s the love for my late husband, Sam and Flo’s daddy, and it’s here in the house even though he isn’t.
It was Mother’s Day last week and even that brought a bittersweet message in the beautiful card my son made for me.
He’s so creative and had obviously spent so long on his card. “That’s beautiful, Sam,” I said and then opened it up.
Inside, the message read: “Dear Mum, I love you so much and I hope we get through Father’s Day. Lots of love, Sam xxxxxx”
At first it made me sad to think that while other people were thinking about their mums, he was thinking about the fact he had lost his dad. I gave him the biggest of hugs and then thought wow, how sweet that he is actually just thinking of being there to support me, to know that in a few months’ time when Father’s Day comes around it won’t be easy for any of us, but he is there for me.
For an eight-year-old who has gone through so much he really is astonishingly together and emotionally intelligent. How hard times make us grow up fast!
It will be three years this July since Roger died and it’s striking me how we are coping with it in different time scales. The emotions that I’ve been through in the past few years are sometimes seen coming out now with Sam and Flo.
Aged just two and six days when her dad died, Florence could not have imagined what losing him so young would mean to her. Now she’s at school and sees most of her friends with their daddies, she does question why she is without and how sad that makes her. I think every day she’s said she wishes he had just gone upstairs, gone to work or gone to the shops – and don’t I wish that too.
It might sound ridiculous but when this first happened I thought I would come to terms with it somehow, it would at some point feel ok and the pain would be less.
I realise now that the pain will never be less, I’ll never feel ok about losing him and neither will our kids. It’s about learning to live with those thoughts, that pain, and knowing what to do when it hits you.
This is not just about me though – as my children get older I’ll have to teach them how to cope and what to do when they feel it gets too much.
Or maybe, if Sam’s message is anything to go by, they will teach me.