Blessings and Pain
Thankyou so much to all of you who are still praying, thinking of us lots, and sending messages to remind us of this. We are currently away from home, having our socks blessed off by many wonderful people - family, friends and complete strangers - who have provided many places for us to stay and opportunities for us to experience while we take time out of everything and regroup together as family. We have been in Bradford, Central Scotland, North Wales, Hereford and now Somerset, all of which has included: visiting a castle, farms, a Bronze Age roundhouse, the beach and more; sleeping in a tipi; two of the boys learning how to swim; a treasure hunt; and winning an award at a conference which means we have new furniture and a home makeover!
Most of the time we haven't had internet or phone signal, so our communication with the outside world has been hazy (this is my apology for all the messages I haven't yet replied to...), but also helpful as we concentrate on being together. Obviously with all the above, there have been many wonder-filled and exciting moments, something we could never have imagined a few short weeks ago.
We have also had many days where grief has been completely overwhelming and we haven't been able to communicate without tears because we miss him so much. It still seems unbelievable that the thing we fought so long and hard to prevent has actually happened, and that he is no longer part of our physical family unit experiencing life on this earth - that we use the words 'memories', 'death' and 'grave' when we talk about our eight-year-old son. The waves of grief come hard and strong and without prediction, reducing us to wrecks just a few minutes after everything seemed okay. But they are waves, and they do pass. Sometimes it takes a few moments, other times about three days. At this stage, we are in no hurry to rush them, because we know that they are part of what we have to go through, and they are reminders of the depth of our love for him. I do understand why some people who go through loss just stop living the rest of their lives and camp around the past, Miss-Haversham-style, setting up shrines to their loved ones and talking to them constantly as though they were still there. There are moments I want to do that. But I also understand why some people put their grief and their memories in a box, get rid of every reminder, and move away from anything that resembles their old life in order to try and shut out and control the grief. There are times I want to do that too, because I tell myself that if I don't think about it, it won't hurt.
I have no idea how we continue to balance between those two extremes for the rest of our lives, but I know it's something we will have to do. We have so much to live for and so much to be grateful for, both in the past and the present. We would give anything for this to be different - to be spending this summer turning our lives upside down, moving to a wheelchair-accessible house and spending every waking hour caring for the extensive needs of our rehabilitating child, without holidays and sunshine and going out together as a family - if it meant we could still have him. But it isn't different. So while we will continue to have moments, days or weeks where we cry out with everything in us because we cannot believe he is gone and the pain is too much to cope with, we will also have moments, days and weeks where we will soak up our new-found time together and these incredible experiences people are blessing us with, and let gratitude for the past and the present overwhelm us too.