I used to have this saying, BC, before children. For example I’d say I used to have parties in Huw Chics house in Corwen with my friend (we’ll call her S) and we would play all the tracks by Queen while drinking beer. Some of the boys would come back and one or two would usually have a fight and we would put frozen peas on their swollen eye. We would pass the postman on the way home in the morning.
BC we’d go to the club in Corwen currently known as the DiY shop. We’d fake ID to get in and forget what year we were supposed to be born when they checked and subsequently be thrown out.
BC I travelled for 12 months to Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand. Visiting Bondi, Sydney, Auckland and Bali. Kayaking, visiting glaziers, getting to work by driving over the Sydney bridge and spending weekends on Manly beach.
BC I left school and wasn’t fussed about education. I got a job, I paid my mum keep, I went out late and I ate curry for breakfast when I stayed in Manchester with friends who HAD gone to Uni. no care in the world really.
That was BC. Before children.
Got me thinking, that statement. Before and after. Now I’ve started thinking, before and after Tes. Before she died I mean. Things are different before and after Tes. I hear music and think this was before Tes. A film, this was before Tes. Before and after. As times goes on, after Tes becomes more prominent.
After Tes. I get sad sometimes making breakfast on a Sunday, not every Sunday but like today, it hits you. Making breakfast for one. It was one of my favourite things, taking her breakfast in bed on a lazy Sunday morning.
After Tes. The walk I’ve done for years becomes different, sadder, not as light. I have to walk past where we lay your blue casket, the blue of the Dr Who tardis, exact. It can’t be her I think as I walk past. My brain shouts, it can’t be her. But it is. And I’m silent as I peek slyly over the grey wall, and I keep on walking.
After Tes. Sitting down for a family dinner. She isn’t there. Still. So where is she you think. When is she coming back? Where is she? When is she coming home? The one thing that stops me saying this out loud is Jean from Eastenders. Because I think people will see me as Jean from Eastenders. Next I’ll be making sausage surprise. So I don’t shout.
After Tes. Seeing her friends. Once you spent time with her friends, laughed with them, told them to stop talking so loud because it’s 4am. Gave them lifts to sleep overs, tried to find common ground and desperately tried not to appear an idiot or ‘un cool’. . Now I meet them and more recently have seen friends watch over where she lays, searching for words. An image that shouldn’t be. An image that makes you face reality. An image you wish wasn’t happening for the friend and you so wish wasn’t true for your daughter. There’s also an element of hope, of having the ability to create a stronger relationship through loss with those close to her.
After Tes. Watching TV. A random one. Like X factor. Each week. I’m quietly weeping, I would be anyway at the silly stories. But – that you know, she’d be here, entertaining my poor choice of tv watching. We’d be critiquing. We’d laugh and we’d cry together at the crazy sob stories. Girls appear singing with wavy hair and thick set glasses and I cry because she’s like you.
After Tes. Your room. Once a place of mess, of fun, of you. Now quiet and still. And quiet. That quote on your wall. The one that says you should make the best of life ‘because you’re a long time dead’. Written in your own handwriting. I shiver at it but then remember that’s how you lived. Thankfully. Packing the life you wanted in. With enough determination to do it. Brilliant.
So maybe that’s it now, there was the saying I had, ‘BC – before children’ and now there’s a new saying – ‘after Tes’.
I don’t much like the after Tes.
I wish there wasn’t an after Tes.
I wish there was Tes.
But I prefer an after Tes to no Tes at all.