Time to start writing again after a great weekend spent watching sport and spending time with good friends. A month after starting my new job I had to get through Luke’s birthday; the first birthday he wouldn’t be here for. It’s always a funny one really, and we’ve decided without really saying so, as a family to celebrate the 2nd October.
It is Luke’s birthday, the day he came into the world; in a mere 5.5 hours, born the day after he was due. Boy he gave us a false sense of security! I’d never seen, let alone had to cope with such a small baby; the most important job of our lives and yet we have virtually no training for it. This blond, blue eyed bundle slept through the night at 6 weeks; in fact he slept a lot!
Imagine the shock when his sister Alexandra decided not to sleep during the night until she was 6 months old, nor sleep during the day much at all! Oh, and she’d been breach, her head and feet right up under my ribcage! One caesarean later this non-sleeping dark haired beauty emerged into the world. But, Jake thought he’d top that record, my sandy haired boy (not ginger as his uncle tried to point out! Bit silly when your wife has auburn hair and half her family ginger!) felt that sleep at night wasn’t needed until he was 2!!! Luke was to make up for being an easy baby as he pretty much decided that authority figures just weren’t for him!
Back to a birthday for a 22 year old who would never be here to celebrate his day again; I seem to recall that I felt incredibly numb that 1st year; at times it’s almost felt obscene that time just moves on when my boy wasn’t here. And yet, that’s only right, a very hard thing that year was the fact that my husbands’ birthday was only 2 days later. I can remember waking around Debenhams in a virtual daze not knowing what to buy, not really wanting to buy anything.
Siya who had been such a wonder at Luke’s funeral had a habit of appearing in front of me just when I needed him; and there he was, in that store to pass on a smile to me. It’s amazing to realise that no matter how low someone’s feeling it’s so very hard not to smile back at someone beaming at you! Have a go at it tomorrow, say good morning to a stranger with a smile, very few will fail to pass it back. Smiling is contagious.
That 1st year is one of anniversaries you dread yet have to get through. Christmas would be the next one. As an extended family we seem to be working on a bit of a tradition. When my Dad died suddenly in 1991 we suffered our 1st untimely loss; we booked a weekend at a swish hotel in Gloucester and went en masse. We had a lovely time all-round, and in fact my younger brother Ian proposed to that auburn haired wife of his Zoe while we were there!
Having lost Luke the whole family (although without Peter & Kerry) headed Oop North to Scotland. My older brother Keith lives with his family in the very beautiful North Berwick; the 2 travelling families took over a beautiful property on one of their friends’ farms. And as a whole family we spent time together, taking a walk on the beach, having lunch in Edinburgh. It was a time to help the healing process; Keith who at heart is a big softie proposed a toast to Luke over dinner; gone but never forgotten.
This December we all head to Paris as we face a 1st Christmas without my lovely Mum, Diana who literally went to sleep in January never to wake again. She must have been heartbroken to lose her 1st Grandson, yet she carried on being a total whirlwind as she approached her 81st birthday. I found her that day in January and in a way I believe that was meant to be; she’d finished a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle then sat in her chair to watch TV. I knew what had happened before I got anywhere near her house, when I went to Thailand I saw Luke but didn’t look at him. I had to look at my Mum to know that what I thought I was looking at was what I thought. I can honestly say that she looked peaceful, a little pale, but asleep.
Losing a parent is so incredibly different to losing a child, one is the natural course of life the other so incredibly the wrong way round! I miss my Mum like mad yet in a way I’m very grateful for the way she went.
I seem to have gone off track as is my way; but while I’m doing so I think I’ll finish with a few funny tales involving my Mum. I was able to spend a lot of time with her in the 3 years before she died and we spent a lot of that time chatting about life.
It struck me that in all the years she’d been a widow; nearly 23 there’d never been a sign of another man, I asked her if she hadn’t wanted to spend time with a man; the response from my 80 year old Mum? “I never wanted to have to look after an old man!” ha ha, outrageous!
She was generally gallivanting all over the place almost up until the day she died; I went one weekend on a Friday as I was finishing work early that day and was going to Twickenham the next day for an England game. (I promise not to write sport here…… yet!). I arrived mid afternoon looking forward to a catch up with her; but oh no, she as off out leaving me at home to watch the TV. I went to the game the next day arriving at her house at maybe 7pm; an evening chatting? Nope, she was out again!
Rather than sit in like the billy no mates I can be at times at weekends I took myself to a very nice pub/hotel The Crown in Amersham and passed a few hours there (still BNM) eating a most delightful dinner, and yes tweeting photos of my food; it really was that good! Little did I know then that my next visit would be on the day of my Mums’ funeral where the extended family were made very welcome and served wonderful home cooked food.
Time to sign off for tonight; I had no idea things would head towards this year, but the words just flow at times and I tend to go with it; another sad tale but hopefully a few smiles too. I’m leaving you with the thought in the photo above, I am one for inspiring quotes and this one I so believe, we get but one go at this!