Wow it’s been a while. The last time I wrote a blog post and publicised it was 7 months ago. Andy has been gone for 10 months now.
I’ve been updating the blog over the last couple of weeks. Getting a few posts out of draft mode. Going right back to the beginning of autumn, I’ve published posts on celebrating Andy’s birthday, feeling really awful as the autumn went on, getting through Christmas and the break we had over New Year if you fancy reading them. I’ve found it hugely cathartic to write it all down.
Though New Year was over 3 months ago. Where are we now?
When anyone asks how we are I always say we are OK. Up and down. That is the big picture. In the detail of the picture though things can vary. Some days are pretty good OK to be honest. Some days I feel overcome with sadness and just have to sit with it until it passes. A lot of the time I feel overwhelmed with single parenting and trying to make sure the kids are alright.
I still cant’t quite believe the life I have now. When the kids are in bed and the tidying up etc is done, I look around, look at his photo and can’t believe he isn’t just in the next room.
I mean, of course, I know he isn’t there. I’m not kidding myself. It just still feels pretty unreal when I stop to think.
Apparently it does take a while for all parts of your brain to catch up. If there’s a subtle sound in the house, like a door softly closing by itself or if I catch a glimpse of shadow, my first, split nano-second, instinct is that it’s him. The wiring in my brain still defaults to the way I lived my life for 10 years.
I’ve talked about this in bereavement therapy. It’s startling at first to be told that I don’t really believe he’s gone. Because I do. I was there when it happened. But having it explained to me like I’ve laid it out in the paragraph above makes complete sense. And it’s reassuring that it’s normal and I am not going completely crazy. Because at times I do wonder if I am. I feel like I have some sort of extreme baby brain – I am hugely forgetful, I can’t retain information well and can’t concentrate for long on conversations.
I do feel more present though and that I’m actively taking part in my life, unlike the early days. Back in January I went to a kids party in a church hall that I was last in the day before Andy’s funeral. I realised how different I felt. Back in the summer I was sort of seeing the world from beneath a layer of mist like I wasn’t really there. By January I felt like life was more real.
The NHS bereavement therapy is working well I think, I come away from the sessions feeling completely drained but lighter too if that makes sense. I did also have some private sessions but they didn’t work as well. The kids have had some NHS therapy sessions too which have involved some talking, some drawing and some crafting. It’s difficult to tell but I think they have found them helpful. The older one struggled to talk about daddy and how she felt in the early days, she seemed too afraid to upset me but she can do now. Last week, we attended a Mother’s Day workshop with the wonderful charity Grief Encounter. It helped the girls and I to spend time with others that are walking a similar journey.
I am trying to be kind to myself – making sure I spend time with others, keep active, keep my brain occupied and try to relax too. I find I am super tense a lot of the time and seem to be shifting aches and inflammation around my body. I’ve still got a load of life admin to do – both for Andy & I. I find it all pretty overwhelming but trying to tackle a bit at a time. I’m still officially on a career break. In my autumn update I talked about how I had a place on course but I decided now wasn’t the right time. I’m still not exactly sure which career path to follow and right now, I’m pleased I don’t have to rush to sort that out.
I have booked a few holidays and made tentative steps towards some house renovations (after going back and forth with thinking about whether to stay in the house, I think we should).
By the time the kids go back to school after the Easter holiday it will be the end of April. May will be taken up with the bank holidays, the littlest’s fifth birthday then the anniversary of Andy’s death. I’ll also try to remember to appreciate the light mornings and evenings, the warmer days, the birds singing and the summer flowers appearing.
I’m not sure how it will feel to be at the anniversary. I’ve been so focused on getting through the first year. All the firsts without him. I can’t quite believe how fast time is marching on. If time is a healer (and I think it’s only part of it) then I guess that is a good thing,