Time marches on yet again, as it always does, from New Year’s Eve. It is already the third day of January! I have never really been one for NYE celebrations, having been to maybe two parties my entire life. So the fact that I didn’t want to do anything was not unusual behaviour. What was, and will forever remain unusual, is the fact that this is now my second NYE without my son Adam, by my side. He used to spend New Years at home with me some years too. My forever28 son, whose birthday on the 31st January, together with his twin sister, will see them turn 30.
Since he passed away in August 2017 I have dreaded Christmas and New Years and the whole festive period. In fact, any occasions which trigger memories of happier times, or times that it really is just so noticeable that someone is missing from our table or lounge room make me cringe with dread. I have four other magnificent children who need me, who need an outlet for their grief, who need a strong person to lead the family for them so I do my best to make the occasion another nice memory for them. Although these occasions are probably just as hideous for them, after all, Ary my eldest turns 32 this year, Adam’s twin sister turns 30, Natalie is 19, Jude is 12 and my first granddaughter was born in July 2018 (k’ein hora) and they miss their brother, they are in pain. Jude and Adam were very close. They would play sport together, hang on the couch and play games or watch television together, tell jokes, cuddle and play wrestle…Adam just adored Jude. It just might be that Jude misses him the most out of the kids, but that is conjecture. How can I presume to know how they feel?
This dread of occasions stirs in me a deep gutted, knotty sort of fear, right in the pit of my stomach. I know from being on Instagram that I am not alone in my grief as there are so many grieving mothers out there in the world that it just seems cruel. Too many. In an odd way I take comfort from this because grief is an isolating emotion. It can take you away from people, from society, make you curl up like my friend’s daughter in the picture you see below. I don’t mean it in a macabre way either. I take no joy in others’ pain, trust me. I just mean, that it lets me know that I am not alone. It’s scary to think nobody else in the world feels as badly as what you do.
They say that there are stages of grief, five I believe, but I have found that for me, this is not true. I have not experienced anger. I experienced denial only on the first day that we found out, screaming out no, no, this must be wrong, it can’t be, I didn’t want to believe what I was hearing, I was pulling my hair out, I couldn’t breathe, together with a whole lot of other heart wrenching things that nobody should ever have to feel badly enough to say them. The stages most certainly are not linear, not that you would expect emotions to manifest like that. The ambulance came that day and they took me to hospital. Ary and Jude slept over on the couches with me that night. If we slept, I don’t really remember. The days, weeks and months blurred into a horrible existence for a long time after that. People say that I look much better now. They told me that I was in a very ‘bad place’ back then. Just 16 months ago. 16 months ago. None of this experience of death and grieving seems real. I lost my parents at a young age but nothing compares to this. Even though I was young, it came in the natural order of things. You expect to bury your parents. You don’t even let yourself think about losing your child. If you believe in God, you pray to keep your children safe. I used to say, ‘all I ask, is that I go before my children’. I remember saying this time after time. Maybe I said it too much and this is my punishment.
They say that the feelings of grief ‘get better with time’ but that isn’t anywhere on the horizon. All that happens, in my experience, is that the length of time since you have seen their beautiful face, hugged them, high-fived them, drank coffee with them, gets longer and longer and longer as time passes by. After 16 months, I think it is still early days.
In the beginning, writing used to help me to feel less anxious, more in control, as well as being a therapeutic outlet for my grief, in fact it helped me through some really tough days. Lately, I have switched to reading a lot more. I have always loved to learn, so I read about marketing and business and there is a purpose for this which I will explain further on.
There is not a day goes by that I don’t think about Adam – about his childhood, school, baby years, adult years or even just having the image of his face in my mind. I try very much not to think about how he died. I am not ready to contemplate this. Maybe one day, then again, for what purpose? Nothing will bring him back, I can’t possibly feel any worse than I do so the issue of guilt is just an emotion lingering in the background which for many other reasons from the past, I have felt for many years.
There are things that I simply don’t do anymore since Adam died (It is actually difficult to write the word ‘died’). I used to go to bed with a book, I loved to read and it was a habit of mine since I was little, whereas my Adam used to fall asleep on the couch to the noise of the television. He had sleeping problems and always used to say that he couldn’t sleep without the noise of the television. Well, from the day he died, I have slept on the couch, to the sound of the television, watching or just listening to ‘Friends’ – I don’t even watch normal TV. Isn’t that odd? I used to enjoy going to visit a friend who lived with her husband down Phillip Island way and I would enjoy a few days with her, just chatting, going out for coffee, watching telly you know, nothing special, just catching up. Now I can’t sleep away from home, with the thought of it making me nervous, very uneasy, almost as though I would be leaving Adam behind.
So many things have changed but it feels as though the hands of the clock have not moved since Friday at about 1130am on the 25th of August in the year 2017. Some people understand my grief reactions and make room for them whereas others who I thought understood me well and were my friends, do not and probably never understood me at all. I have certainly discovered the fickleness of human beings. There is one person in particular who I had to actually cut out of my life! She tormented me. She actually said to me (via text of course) that she ‘can’t be the person you need me to be’. I don’t think about her but now that I have brought the subject up I have to wonder what on earth happened to her to make her so miserable? Since my Adam passed though, nothing really makes me angry. After all, I have passed through the worst pain imaginable so how could there possibly be a person or thing on Earth that I can’t deal with in a kind and generous way? This is easier said than done sometimes but it’s so true. I think I am a more forgiving person since he died too. People say that nothing worthwhile comes easily. This may be true for some things and not true for others. I don’t see why good has to have a price paid for it. Why should worthwhile things in life be difficult to achieve? Why can’t life be a little bit easier?
My eldest children’s friends always send me a message of support when it comes to special occasions, his birthday, anniversaries…it is lovely to read their messages because it reassures me that Adam has not been forgotten and that he was important to people. Two of his friends had died in the two years prior to Adam’s passing, so Adam was in mourning for a long time as well.
If there is one thing that bothers me it’s that we have not put up a headstone yet. We are trying to gather the money together as a family but aren’t quite there yet. This is something that plays on my mind and on my heart, and something that I would like attended to very soon, hopefully before half year time. For lots of reasons I have not worked since the end of 2015 but I want to start my own business and have it pay for the headstone, that would be the first and most important goal of the business. This is what I was referring to before, earlier in the piece. I have high hopes for this candle and beauty business because I feel that I have Adam as my guardian angel carrying me on his wings to success. He and I had very similar personalities. We were both generous with others, he more than me. Adam would have given his last dollar to help someone out. I am very proud of this quality that he had. He was a good boy.
He is with me, looking after me, I believe this with all my heart. He used to always tell me that he was a mummy’s boy. Writing that made me smile for the first time today. It’s not often that I smile these days. I think I smile only to my other children. If I smile to others, it’s without me noticing as I can’t recall being overly pleasant to others. Perhaps this is something that I should work on this year, outwardly showing kindness to others because it’s not that I am thinking ill of anybody, I am just so sad. I hope people understand. Well, strangers on the street wouldn’t would they? I will try to smile more often, for Adam. He would like that. He loved me and I loved him. How can I not smile about that?
Happy 2019 dear readers, be safe and well, kind to yourselves and others and don’t forget to tell the people you love that you do, indeed love them.