After

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.

Xx

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What could be worse?

What could be worse than this?

This is what I’ve thought often.

Despite the daily attempts. No, not daily, the minute by minute attempts to find a brighter light, a better minute, something positive. In the back of my mind, I think, what could be worse than this?

It has been a dark few days, clutching photo frames, sobbing in the bath, reliving the horror of that day, the pain of the gap you left hurting. Arms become heavy, legs can’t move, bed is hard to climb out of. Telephones are unanswered. Tears keep falling and falling.

What could be worse?

Today I passed someone in the car, an unknown. I wondered if she had children, none in the car, it’s the Summer hols so I thought probably not. And then it clicked. What could be worse? For me, worse would be not having you at all. That moment made me realise despite the awful pain, I’d rather the pain than not to have had you at all. Who knows how long we are supposed to be here for, I don’t believe anyone ‘picked you to be an angel’, I don’t believe there is a plan or an identified time. Things happen. Good things happen. Bad things happen. End of.

The pain will I guess always be here, how can it not, you were such a beautiful daughter. I found it hard for the first time to look at your photos this week, I found it impossible to face I’ll never stroke your cheek or see you smile. I almost had to walk out of a room as two children happily drew for their mum and I wanted to say. I did that, I drew with my daughter, why isn’t she here, why did she get taken away. I didn’t.

At least I had you here.

I had you here to paint your first bedroom in a light sunny yellow and to put the panda border around your room. I had you here to put you into your mint green Moses wicker basket for six weeks until you became too long and then you were here for me to settle you into your huge cot at night with your farmyard mobile. You were here to have soapy silly baths every night with your sponge letters.

You were here to welcome Morgan into the world and here to dance in the kitchen to Muse when you were 5 and we pretended we were trees growing slowly to their song Newborn until we grew tall and the music kicked in and we just ran around the house jumping about. You were here when your little friends would call and you’d ask me to play ‘that tune’ on the piano, the one that started very slowly and gradually became faster and faster until you were all screaming excitedly! You were here to make me a thousand meals out of your ‘kitchen’ with an array of ingredients, it didn’t take you long to realise I wasn’t actually eating the plastic tomato so you insisted on using real food. You were here to write to Santa and post it at Rhug, I hadn’t seen it as you were clearly testing his powers! He wrote back and in it he noted how thoughtful it was that you had asked him to remember Morgan too, I still have that letter.

You were here to make up ‘a play’ with Morgaan most nights after dinner when you were about 9, you’d both go into the other room to learn your ‘script’ then come out onto the kitchen floor to ‘perform’. Sometimes with props sometimes without. We would cry with laughter at some of them, then you’d start telling Morgan off for getting his lines wrong! You were here when you went on holiday with your dad and you managed to get away with brushing your curly hair all week. After dipping in and out of swimming pools and salty seas, you were here when I had to take you to the hairdresser to get it all chopped off. That wasn’t a good look Tes!

You were here to celebrate my favourite days of the year, birthdays and Christmas. All birthdays mean banners and balloons at breakfast with presents piled high in the living room, all cards unopened until the day!Wrapping would be torn off quickly and the dogs would run around with it excitedly in their mouth. You loved my excitement for Christmas and said you hadn’t realised other people didn’t get so worked up about it until you got to high school! You were here to make the Christmas window decorations, to put the chocolates on the tree (and eat them). You were here the night I gave in to a bit of ‘make believe’ when I played some bells through speakers ever so lightly just as you were falling asleep on Christmas Eve. You completely believed you had heard the sleigh 🙂

And it goes on Tes. You were here and you were here to turn into the most amazing daughter I could have ever ever wanted, of course I wanted you for longer, for ever but I can’t. I’ve forever got your smile in my eyes and I can still feel your skin, I have the memory of your laughter and the sound of your voice. I wish it was real but it isn’t and the acceptance of that continues to be a battle. You were here and for that I can only be happy about.

Miss you sweetheart.

Mum x

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To myself and all mothers who have this illness. Guilt.

Mothers guilt. I pin-point it to the 7th May 1998. The day my beautiful daughter entered this world. I hadn’t heard of it before and I didn’t know it existed but then it smacked me in the face and it festers in the background. The levels vary, if I’m on my iPad while everyone is watching tv It’s about 2/10. If I choose what I want to watch on tv it’s about 4/10. If I stay in bed beyond 9am I’m up to about 8/10. If it’s going skiing (tomorrow) for four nights with my parter while my two stay at their dads it’s a gazillion out of ten.

This is me, the other day when my boss said have a nice hol. Oh thanks I said. My children are not coming i said. But I had booked a summer holiday to Menorca for them in July I said. They get on really well with their dad, I said. My boy hates the cold and snow I said. We’ve paid for my daughter to go skiing with school next year I said. They get to have a lie in as he lives closer to their school I said. Sorry,I can’t help but justify myself, I said. He looked at me puzzled. Have a bloody nice time, he said.

I said goodbye to them both tonight, hope you have fun mum they said as they thanked me for the massive box of cakes and gave me a huge squeeze and a hug before they ran off to their play station and the Simpsons. I reflected on the way home that they have never made me feel guilty for anything and they could have. I do that all by myself. And I felt overwhelmed and proud and do you know what I’m going skiing and I’ll be at a bar tomorrow night and I’ll have a smile on my face. But don’t forget I have booked for Menorca…… 🙂