One of the hardest things I find about meeting new people is waiting for them to ask me the inevitable question of. How many children do you have? Even now. 5 years and 1 day later, I dread it. Not for the reasons you may think. I’m entirely happy and comfortable to talk about my daughter Tes. Alive and also not. My dread is for them. The question they think only can have happy connotations is met with.. well.. death. And that’s tough for them.
I have started a new job 3 weeks ago and of course my new colleagues unfortunately have had to hear this sad story and I feel so sorry for them as they try to find the words. They’ve managed beautifully I have to say.
As I left on Friday I carried the gorgeous orchids that my new colleagues had bought me as a gift in recognition of the anniversary date we lost Tes. The 21st of April. Someone passed me on the stairs on my way out and cheerfully asked me … What have you done to deserve them? I always think about lying at times like this. To protect them. But I don’t lie. So I have to tell him the truth.
I dont know how you deal with that. He said.
I found myself replying and saying something that I hadn’t before. Not in the last 5 years and 1 day.
I dont know how to answer that, I said.
And what I meant was. Neither do I. I also don’t know how I deal with losing Tes. I have no idea how. I do know that many many people deal with loss and also get up and also put their mascara on and also get pleasure from wearing their newly bought shirt. That others turn the music up loud and sing along and that others go out for dinner and drink a glass of their favourite wine. I know others too still love the beach and their mountain walks. Still giggle with friends. Still find a lot to live in this life.
But I don’t know how.
I do know it’s wrapped up in immense guilt. I do know I do all those things and I also have a weight that feels like it’s as heavy as a house right there in my heart of pure and utter grief and pain… that sits just by the side of where my immense love for Tes still is. Always will be. I know now that massive heavy stone of loss will never go.
But I know too that despite it, I will get up tomorrow. I will get up on the day that’ll make it 5 years and 2 days. I will walk my dogs. I will choose a lipstick. I will drive to work. I will text friends and arrange to meet. I will look forward. I will. I’ll go the cinema and to that gig and to see that comedienne. I’ll meet those friends for afternoon tea and go on that holiday near the sea. I’ll celebrate birthdays and I’ll meet friends for the weekend.
I will look forward. I don’t know how. But I will.
And she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
We miss you Tes. Every bit of every second of the last 5 years and 1 day. My 14 year old and 350 days old beautiful gorgeous fun busy clever crazy knowledgeable sensible organised human being that I was and am still immensely proud to call my daughter. I miss you more than I could ever write, even if I had a million words.