Jumping all over the place here I know, but my mind goes back to the first anniversaries after Luke died. I’d lost my Dad and my Nana before Luke and knew that the first year would always be the hardest but there is a natural order to losing a parent or a grandparent, never for losing a child.
The first of those anniversaries was Luke’s birthday on October 2nd, how to cope with the day your child should have been 22? I may have mentioned ‘the firework’ before, but the internet is a wonderful thing; Ashes and Fireworks! Who would have imagined! We celebrated Luke’s birthday in his absence with a bang! Oh and a fire! How he would’ve laughed!
Christmas came next and again I’ve spoken about the family celebration in Scotland. I have 2 brothers, Keith who lives in North Berwick and. Ian living near Reigate. We all lead crazy, busy lives but we tend to come together as a whole family when we’ve had loss. We’ll spend a few days in Paris as a whole family in December this year as we lost our Mum in January.
The next significant anniversary was the day Luke died, now this is a strange one. How do you mark the day your life changed forever? The day your child died? And I must confess, I’m shedding some tears as I write this. Well, 14 July 2010 a year after Luke died from his injuries we had a get together at the place we held the after funeral bash. It seemed the right thing to do.
But, after that 1st awful anniversary? We don’t mark that day anymore, who would you want to make a big thing of such a catastrophic day? This year is actually the 1st year I’ve worked on the day, and I would share that I struggled to get out of bed the 2nd year. But in subsequent years it’s been a day for private thoughts about a totally awful day.
One thing I hadn’t considered once I was living in my little house was New Years Eve. On that evening in 2011 I found myself alone, I bought a bar of Dime chocolate, a favourite of Luke’s, and I think we know based on maltesers how quickly that got eaten! Then I basically spent the evening crying my eyes out!
That’s never a good thing, I’d say you have to learn as you go along how to cope and for me I’ve made sure I haven’t been sitting contemplating the start of another year without my boy sitting indoors alone.
So, in 2012 I took myself to a dinner/dance with an organisation called Spice, I was Billy no mates, but I met people who went along and had a fun night! In 2013 I went with my cricket friend Tina to watch From Here to Eternity in London. We had a great evening round off by watching the fireworks and getting home very late!
One day a year we make sure we celebrate Luke having been here, and that’s his birthday, whether he’s here or not; 2nd October is still his birthday and always will be. I truly believe life is for the living; and while I will never stop experiencing a deep sadness, I will always be grateful for the people and things I have in my life. And also for the 21 years I had Luke here.
Just a few words this evening; with all the thoughts as November 11th approaches I’ve had a few moments of feeling really sad. I’ve been to see the poppies a couple of times at the Tower and apart from the fact I know my Mum would have loved them, looking at the number of poppies and what they represent is really breathtaking. Young men, a lot of them younger than Luke, so incredibly sad – we literally must never forget – as I will never forget my boy even as I live my New Normal